Experimental Study on Headsprout and Reading Fluency in Students With Autism

Research Applies to: Headsprout

About This Research

This study examined the effects of Headsprout as an early intervention program on a small sample of students with autism. Students’ reading skills were monitored using two different reading assessments throughout implementation and at a follow-up point after implementation ended.

Main Findings

Before using Headsprout, all students scored as “at risk” on at least two subtests of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). After finishing the program, only one student scored as “at risk” in one of the DIBELS subtests (letter naming fluency, which is not taught in Headsprout). Students also showed large gains in the Word Recognition and Phonic Skills (WRaPS) assessment.


Participants were four students with autism between the ages of four and six. All participants received behavioral intervention for autism in an autism unit attached to a mainstream public school in Wales.

Study Design and Procedures

This study used a single-subject pre- and posttest design in which students’ reading skills were measured at least three times throughout the duration of the study, and in some cases during a follow-up evaluation. During program implementation, students completed an average of three Headsprout episodes per week. The measures administered throughout the study were five DIBELS subtests – Initial Sound Fluency, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, Word Use Fluency, Letter Naming Fluency, and Nonsense Word Fluency – and the WRaPS assessment.


Grindle, C. F., Hughes, J. C., Saville, M., Huxley, K., & Hastings R. P. (2013). Teaching early reading skills to children with autism using MimioSprout Early Reading*. Behavioral Interventions, 28(3), 203-224.

*MimioSprout Early Reading was the commercial name for Headsprout Early Reading between 2011 and 2014.

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