Hyperlexia

Do you know what this is? 2 days ago I had no idea and then while reading my current issue of Newsweek I managed to come across an article entitled “The Child You Didn’t Dream Of” written by Priscilla Gilman.

After reading the first 2 paragraphs, my heart rate sped up and I started tearing. All this time and the answer is right here in an issue of Newsweek??? Are you kidding me right now? I read the whole article and completely broke down. The article was about Priscilla’s son Benjamin who has Hyperlexia and now I know that my daughter has it too.

This is not me over-reacting or coming to weird conclusions, or at least I hope not. I am writing this post after 2 days of phone calls, researching and much thinking.

For the last 5 months, my daughter has been seeing a Speech, Occupational and Sensory Therapist. When she turned 2 she was not up to speed in Speech to where she should be. They told us at 18 months she wasn’t then but we waited until she was 2 to get some help from Early Childhood Intervention (ECI).

When my daughter started Speech Therapy she knew maybe 10 words but within a month she was saying her ABC’s. We thought it was such an improvement. Then she moved on to counting. Abc’s and 123’s are what she loves, or so I thought. Right now, she can recite her ABC’s and also if given letters put them in order forwards and backwards. She can count to 20 forwards and backwards as well. If given numbers she can put them in order just like the letters. We thought she was just bright. We thought that she was smart and that was why her social skills were just not up to par. She was tested for Autism and nothing came of it. But her therapists were just not sure.

After reading the article, I called her Speech Therapist and told her what I read. She told me that I was right on, Abby had Hyperlexia and we would talk about it at our next session. Now, I don’t want this post to go on forever because right now I could just keep going and going.

Here is what I found out online:
Children with hyperlexia may recite the alphabet as early as 18 months, and have the ability to read words by age two and sentences by age three. Many are overly fascinated with books, letters, and numbers. Often their ability is looked at in a positive light, so many parents delay their children receiving help because they believe that their child may be a struggling genius. – http://www.k12academics.com/disorders-disabilities/hyperlexia
Some experts believe that most or perhaps all children with hyperlexia lie on the autism spectrum.[3] However, some other experts believe the involvement of autism in hyperlexia is completely dependent on the type of hyperlexia.[4] Between 5-10% of children with autism have been estimated to be hyperlexic. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlexia

I don’t want to sound melodramatic or like my daughter having Hyperlexia is life or death. I don’t know, now that there is a name for what she has…it just seems worse. Now she is a statistic…a number. We thought she was unique that she knew so much for such a young child but now it comes out that it is just faulty wiring? Maybe I am in shock or something I don’t know. I just feel very strange. If I come out of this funk and regret this post I will just delete it later.

But I would like to find someone that knows about it or knows someone that has it. Even if you know of books, websites, or whatever. Please share it here in the comments. I feel like I have to understand this condition even though it really makes no sense to me right now.

 

2 comments to Hyperlexia

  • Susan

    Hi. I have no idea if you will ever see this, as it’s so much later than your original post. But I read the article too. My daughter was diagnosed as hyperlexic about 10 years ago, just out of 8th grade. It was done by an educational group (Lindamood Bell), and was based purely on the difference between her reading level (decoding) and her comprehension level. But she did exhibit many signs much younger, like early spelling, writing, and reading. She also started talking at nine months, but didn’t always understand things well, like she couldn’t follow directions well. Her social skills were age appropriate during the early years, but as she got into upper elementary school it was apparent that she was not as sophisticated as her peers socially.

    She has since had a neuropsychological workup, and is not on the autism spectrum. However, she does exhibit some of the characteristics. She has a hard time initiating conversations, or keeping up her end of them. She also has problems with executive functioning skills (time management, organization, planning) and higher-level thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, drawing conclusions).

    We have discovered that she has two brain anomalies, holoprosencephaly (a very mild type) and agenesis of the corpus callosum, both diagnosed by MRI. It’s estimated that 20-30% of people with ACC are on the autism spectrum somewhere, and most of the others do have one or more characteristics like my daughter.

    Just thought I’d add a little food for thought.

    • The Steady Hand

      Susan – thank you for your comment. We did a year of therapy for my daughter in our home with speech and sensory specialists. After not seeing much of a difference we canceled it and I became a stay-at-home-mom to spend more time with her. Right now she is 3 going on 4 in November. Her comprehension I can tell is still a little behind with what and where. Her social skills are different from other children her age as she would still rather play with herself than engage with others.

      She started reading a couple of months ago and can also do simple addition and subtraction. She is great with logic puzzles as well.

      We have decided to let her develop naturally as nothing is causing problems as of yet. I know that once she starts school we may have some issues but we will deal with that as it comes. Next school year she will be going to preschool twice a week so we will see how that goes as well.

      We don’t believe our daughter is on the autism spectrum. Not sure if we are in denial or what but as of right now she is a happy and healthy 3 year old and we will do our best to keep it that way.

      Thanks again for stopping by and telling me about your daughter. Have a great day!

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