Many people with autism and other conditions have difficulty in "social thinking". As Michelle Garcia Winer writes
Social thinking is required before the development of social skills. Successful social thinkers consider the points of view, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, prior knowledge and intentions of others (this is often called perspective-taking - considering the perspectives of others). This is for most of us an intuitive process. We can determine the meanings behind the messages communicated by others and how to respond to them within milliseconds to three seconds! Social thinking occurs everywhere, when we talk, share space, walk down the street, even when we read a novel and relate to our pets. It is an intelligence that integrates information across home, work and community settings - something we usually take for granted!
In neurotypical (so-called normal-thinking) people, social thinking is hard-wired at birth and learned intuitively from infancy onward. While most of us develop our communication skills as we grow up, steadily observing and acquiring social information and learning how to respond to the people around us, many have great difficulties with this process. These difficulties with learning and applying social information is often considered a social learning disability.
Katherine Beals (author of Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right Brain World) writes a post that illustrates how difficulties with social thinking can affect a child's reading comprehension:
Another experienced teacher, Palisadesk, reflects on teaching reading comprehension to students with autism:
Because of this phenomenon [social thinking issues], readings centering on other times, places, and issues tend to be much more accessible to those with autism than readings centering on everyday life. Unfortunately, however, in their zeal to make everything "relevant" to students' purported "personal lives," today's educators are biasing their reading selections more and more towards realistic texts about everyday life.
Any parent who spends any time reading with their autistic child knows about the problems this creates. But too few of those who teach autistic children in school settings--be they regular ed or special ed teachers--have either the training or the experience with one-on-one reading support to have much of an inkling about how autism affects reading comprehension.
Teachers must therefore be willing to hear suggestions from autism parents about appropriate reading assignments. But are they? I'm still waiting to find out...
The issue of teaching reading comprehension to kids with autism is bound up with how to develop their language skills generally, and a lot of generalists like me don’t have a deep knowledge of the relevant research and resources.