Major Department

Speech Pathology and Audiology


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Amanda Van Horne

Thesis Mentor

Meredith Saletta


Much of the education provided to individuals with intellectual or disabilities (IDD) focuses on living skills rather than teaching how to read and write at an age-appropriate level. Little is known about appropriate reading materials and instruction to assist adults with IDD. This population needs more systematic and structured methods of teaching literacy, as for example, by integrating illustrations into literacy education to facilitate comprehension. Our study focuses on whether illustrations influence reading comprehension, and if so, which types of illustrations are best. Fifty adults with IDD were presented with a reading passage and comprehension questions, along with one of three types of illustrations portraying the content of the story: color photographs, black and white line drawings, or control images consisting of random swirling patterns. The results indicated that individual reading skills predicted reading comprehension; however, they revealed no effect of condition. We therefore performed a second sequence of data collection in which we fine-tuned our original paradigm. In this second iteration, there were also no effects for the condition. These findings indicate that further research is required in order to fully understand which kinds of materials would be best for facilitating reading comprehension in adults with IDD.

Total Pages

21 pages


Copyright © 2017 Kiara Rivera