The effect of coloured overlays on reading ability in children with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 May;36(4):507-16. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0090-5.


Abnormalities of colour perception in children with autistic spectrum disorders have been widely reported anecdotally. However, there is little empirical data linking difficulties in colour perception with academic achievement. The Wilkins Rate of Reading Test was administered with and without Intuitive Coloured Overlays to 19 children with autistic spectrum disorders and to the same number of controls individually matched for age and intelligence. Findings showed that 15 out of 19 (79%) children with autism showed an improvement of at least 5% in reading speed when using a coloured overlay. In contrast only 3 of 19 (16%) control group children showed such an improvement. The findings suggest that coloured overlays may provide a useful support for reading for children with autism.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Color Perception*
  • Dyslexia / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Visual Perception
  • Vocabulary