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The effectiveness of using colors in L1 and L2 vocabulary development of autistic children

Abdel Rahman Mitib Altakhaineh (Al Ain University of Science and Technology, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
Hodan Mahmoud (Al Nasha’a Al Saleh Private School, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
Alaa Y. Abukhater (Al Dhafra Private School, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 16 July 2020

Issue publication date: 16 July 2020




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of using colors and learner’s intelligence quotient (IQ) in teaching new vocabulary in Arabic (L1) and English (L2) to children with autism spectrum disorder (henceforth, ASD).


To this end, 12 autistic children whose ages ranged between 7 and 12 were observed while they were being taught ten new words. The children were divided into two groups based on their IQ: Low (70–74) and High (76–79). The children were also divided into two groups: Group 1 studied the words written in a black font, whereas Group 2 studied the same words, but written in colors (each letter in the word in a different color), and an illustrative picture was provided with each word for both groups. The pictures were also different in color in the former group, while the picture was in black and white in the latter. The children involved in the study have a relatively slight ability to read letters based on an annual language assessment conducted by the center, and they learn a new word by learning its shape and by repetition. The experiment took place over a two-week period that involved teaching, revising and testing.


The results of the study showed that the children’s IQ played a crucial role in learning L1 and L2 vocabulary. The results also demonstrated that using colors had no significant impact on the children’s performance in the test. Finally, the results showed that teaching new words to children with ASD through repetition and drilling could be regarded as a useful technique. The study concludes with some recommendations for further studies.


The study shows that using pictures is a very useful tool in teaching L1 and L2 vocabulary to children with ASD.



Altakhaineh, A.R.M., Mahmoud, H. and Abukhater, A.Y. (2020), "The effectiveness of using colors in L1 and L2 vocabulary development of autistic children", Advances in Autism, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 215-226.



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