You must be wondering what is hyperlexia or how do you treat hyperlexia. Your child is has this condition when they can read extraordinarily well, which is not age-appropriate. Hyperlexia is characterised by sharp reading and memorizing skills but halted cognition. Let us understand what hyperlexia really is.
What is Hyperlexia?
Hyperlexia is a word that depicts a child’s advanced proficiency to read which is far above than what would be expected at their age or developmental phase within the context of another developmental ailment. A child with hyperlexia will have communication or speaking skills which are below their age level.
Some kids even have hyperlexia in more than one language but have below-average communication abilities meaning they can read or decipher the sounds and language instantly but cannot understand or assimilate what they are reading.
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperlexia?
If you are wondering what are the signs and symptoms of hyperlexia, you need to observe and scrutinise the actions of your child. Given below are some signs and indications that your child has hyperlexia. If you find your child’s actions and habits corresponding to these signs your child might have hyperlexia.
Incapable of communicating
If you find your child having difficulty communicating or they cannot answer the questions very quickly, they might have hyperlexia. They are unable or have difficulty in answering questions like what, why and how. This solely doesn’t confirm the possibility of hyperlexia but it is one of the common signs to hyperlexia.
Kids with hyperlexia learn to read quicker than other children. They can even learn without teaching, they can read and teach the words to themselves without any additional assistance or help. They have a radical infatuation with maps, letters, numbers, or other optical and pictorial patterns.
Trouble in understanding
Although, kids with hyperlexia can learn and read faster than other children. They are not able to comprehend rapidly. They might find other tasks like putting together puzzles and riddles, figuring out problem-solving games a bit complicated and tricky. They can memorize and understand the structure of a sentence but they cannot understand the meaning of those sentences.
They love reading books
Children with hyperlexia adore reading sentences and patterns. They enjoy reading books more than playing with their toys. They like reading sentences out loud. The utter fascination of reading books than other activities can be a sign your child might have hyperlexia.
Children with hyperlexia are usually introverts or socially awkward. They rarely start or continue a conversation. They find it difficult to interact with people even with their parents or their close ones. Kids with hyperlexia have limited listening skills and may reach a point that they seem deaf to most people.
Is Hyperlexia rare?
The preponderance of hyperlexia in the general population is unspecified. It is safe to say that hyperlexia isn’t that common as there are very few people who are aware of this condition.
There is no valuable information available about this particular issue at the moment. However, some stats show that anywhere from 5-10% of autistic children are believed to be hyperlexic. Therefore, we can say that the likelihood of developing hyperlexia is not so common.
What is the difference between autism and hyperlexia?
Hyperlexia is undoubtedly associated with autism. Children having hyperlexia type III may have ‘autistic-like’ behaviours for a while. They may show unique sensory sensitivity to different sounds, touch or taste. They usually strive and do not avoid affection and admiration, and in that sense are more social, outgoing, interactive and less withdrawn than children with an autistic spectrum disorder.
In a clinical review, it was determined that about 84% of children with hyperlexia are on the autism spectrum. Most children with hyperlexia will indicate sharp reading abilities even before they turn 5.
How do you test for hyperlexia?
There’s no particular examination done to diagnose hyperlexia. Hyperlexia is commonly interpreted based on the underlying symptoms and behaviour or actions of a child over time.
The sooner a child attains a diagnosis, the quicker they will have their needs and desires fulfilled to be able to learn and understand effectively like other children. If kids with hyperlexia need extra care and supervision, they can on the track quickly.
The child might be given special tests that are used to analyse their level of understanding different symbols, patterns, sounds, sentences, graphs, diagrams etc. They might even get to solve different puzzles and problem-solving games to examine their level of understanding and insight.
If your child is reading extraordinarily at a very young age, it does not always mean that they suffer from hyperlexia. All children are wired differently and have different degrees of speeds and styles of their reading.
These are some behavioural tests which are done to diagnose the children with hyperlexia. If you observe previously explained symptoms in the article in your child, you might want to consult a doctor. They can diagnose your child accordingly.
How is hyperlexia treated?
The treatment given to the children having Hyperlexia will differ and it is fully dependent on the child’s specific necessities and abilities. The sooner the better, early intervention is greatly helpful for children with Hyperlexia and will concentrate on benefiting the child in their development, growth and advancement in later life (if required). No plan is the same for every child. Treatments are modified according to the child’s needs.
If you are a parent, you might need to communicate and observe how they feel in different circumstances. You should never make them feel like a responsibility or an obligation but a child who’s still learning and growing. You are the best person for your child who can treat this condition.
The primary procedure for the treatment of Hyperlexia will be provided by a speech and language therapist who will concentrate on improving and supporting communication and social interaction skills. When they start going to school, they might require additional assistance in reading, comprehension and other classes for an improved understanding and other social skills.