We first met Anna when she was three years old, almost four. She had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and had only a small number of spoken words. She also used the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and had a few pictures that she would give to a partner to request a preferred item or activity. She used a few signs to communicate as well. Often she would take a partner to an item or activity that she wanted. She communicated telegraphically, primarily to request preferred objects or activities. She was very frustrated and demonstrated challenging behaviors.
Anna lived at home with her parents, a younger brother, and her dog. She attended a preschool program with reverse integration. Children without disabilities attended along with children with special needs, like Anna. Like many kids her age, Anna loved Mickey Mouse and Sesame Street and really enjoyed all types of music. She showed an interest in books and had a set of magnetic letters that she liked.
Learning literacy skills was a priority for Anna to provide her with access to educational opportunities, to enhance her communication effectiveness, to build her language skills, and to potentially support her speech development. We also wanted to provide her with all the enjoyment and interactive opportunities that literacy offers.