Hyperlexia

As you know, Autism Spectrum Disorder has many different manifestations in how it affects the behaviour of those on the Spectrum. One possible effect is hyperlexia. But apparently hyperlexia can show itself in both children with ASD as well as non-ASD children. Perhaps you have encountered this while teaching reading.

Healthline.com describes hyperlexia like this:

Hyperlexia is when a child can read at levels far beyond those expected for their age. “Hyper” means better than, while “lexia” means reading or language. A child with hyperlexia might figure out how to decode or sound out words very quickly, but not understand or comprehend most of what they’re reading.

A July 8, 2013 Scientific American article by Darold Treffert about hyperlexia (as a manifestation of autism) described it this way:

The good news is that occasionally one reads about children who have ‘recovered’ from, or who have ‘out-grown’ their ‘autism’ (hyperlexia). And that’s great. Not to detract anything from that good news, though, if truth be told, the ‘recovery’ in many cases is from autism they fortunately never had. Instead what those children ‘outgrew’ were conditions such as hyperlexia (children who read early) or Einstein Syndrome (children who speak late) in which ‘autistic-like’ symptoms can be, for a period of time, in my view, prematurely and mistakenly misdiagnosed as Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The good news that these non-autistic children turn out to be bright, successful, neurotypical children remains undiminished.

You can read the whole article here:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/oops-when-autism-isnt-autistic-disorder-hyperlexia-and-einstein-syndrome/

History states that Einstein was a brilliant student in certain areas, but mediocre in others. He excelled at math and physics, teaching himself integral and differential calculus, from text books by age 14. Does that qualify him as hyperlexic? He certainly was “hyper” in other areas as well!

Hyperlexia is thought to affect between 5 and 20 percent of ASD children. As well Darold Treffert has proposed that hyperlexia has subtypes, only some of which overlap with autism. He states that between 5 and 20 percent of autistic children have been estimated to be hyperlexic.

Published by Resources 4 Teachers & Parents

Resources 4 Teachers is an education website that provides material, activities, lesson plans, books and videos created by teachers for teachers, students and parents.

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