Multisensory approaches to teaching reading work to the favors of students with autism. Multisensory approach is based on the premise that the more senses are involved, the more efficient the instruction. There are many specific reading programs that incorporate multisensory approaches. These programs are often referred to as VAKT instructional methods. This acronym is formed from the first letter of each of the following words Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Tactile. To stimulate all of these senses, children hear the teacher say the word, feel the muscle movement as they trace the word, fell the tactile surface under their finger tips, see their hands move as they trace the word, and hear themselves say the word as they trace it (Lerner, 2000).
The Orton-Gilligham method is perhaps the best known VAKT method. The focus of this program is to teach sounds and letter names. This phonetic approach is teacher directed and carefully sequenced. The durability of the VAKT which was created in 1930 is testimony to its usefulness with students with disabilities including those with autism.
The Wilson reading program is closely related to Orton-Gilligham. Students learn encoding and decoding skills through a 12-step, sequenced program. Specifically, the Wilson method focuses on phonological awareness, phonology, and total word structure. The Wilson reading approach is designed for learners after grade three. A distinctive feature of the Wilson method is a sound tapping system to help students differentiate phonemes. The linking of decoding skills with multisensory learning activities provides a strong basis for remediation of reading difficulties. VAKT-type reading program present a systematic approach to correcting reading difficulties that are neurological-based auditory processing problems that appear as problems related to phonemic awareness, decoding and encoding.