This study investigated the relationship between conversational skills, speech production and academic achievement among children with autism spectrum disorder in special needs schools. The study adopted a correlational survey design. Four research questions and four corresponding hypotheses were raised and formulated to guide the study. The population for this study consists of all 80 male and female pupils diagnosed with ASD in seven special needs schools in Rivers State. The research instrument that was used in this study is a modified four-point Likert type scale questionnaire titled “Conversational Skills, Speech Production and Academic Achievement Questionnaire” (CSSPAAQ). Cronbach Alpha statistics was used to estimate the reliability of the instrument and the reliability coefficients of 0.81 for conversational skills, 0.70 for speech production and 0.92 for academic achievement were obtained. Data was collected and analysed using simple regression while t-test and beta value associated with simple regression was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level of significance. From the data analyzed, it was found that conversational skills and speech production are significantly related to academic achievement among children with ASD in special needs schools. Based on these findings the following recommendations were made: Counsellors, teachers, school administrators and caregivers of children with ASD should encourage conversational skills by supplementing intervention strategies that draw from a variety of theories and involve varying degrees of adult-directed activities with child-centered activities in order to increase interaction and generalization of learnt skills to new settings and communication partners; and teachers, caregivers, and parents of children with ASD should encourage speech production by engaging the use of video modelling technique in teaching and during play activities and everyday routines to encourage the use of new words in different contexts.
Keywords: Academic Achievement, autism spectrum disorder, conversational skills, speech production
This work by European American Journals is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License