“Hyper” means “better than” or “over” and “Lexia” means “read.” Hyperlexia is therefore described as being capable of reading exceptionally at an early age without age-appropriate speech and language skills. Language deficiencies are also associated with cognitive incapacity. Early reading can be a positive thing, but hyperlexia may be a sign of an autism-like condition or autism, particularly when the child has impaired speech. Continue reading for the signs and causes of hyperlexia in children.
What is Hyperlexia?
The presence of advanced reading skills in very young children is defined by hyperlexia. Hyperlexia in children at a very early age is rare and precocious reading skills and abilities. Kids with hyperlexia, like many children, are also substantially hard to understand and use regular verbal language. Children with hyperlexia syndrome can also encounter significant social interaction difficulties.
Causes of Hyperlexia In Children
While many studies and research have been conducted, the reasons for hyperlexia in children are still unknown. Some researchers believe that at a very young age the reason for hyperlexia is a consequence of conscious or obsessive reading methods. For starters, there are some children’s anecdotes:
- Get very attached to and continually read certain books and alphabets every day.
- To become very compulsive readers to the detriment of other forms of communication.
- The curiosity in count and letter blocks is intense.
- Read numbers and letters from the number of parking lot plates.
- Reading every bit of print (e.g. books, manuals, signs, and notices) they see around them.
Signs of Hyperlexia
There are a few other signs of hyperlexia that you may find in your child, and some of these are close to autism, such as:
- Difficulty reacting to “Wh-“questions such as” What,” “Who,” “Where,” “Why, “and” When.
- An intense obsession with maps, letters, numbers, etc.
- Memorizing sentence or sentence structure, without understanding the meaning of those sentences.
- Echolalia, pointless repeat of words spoken by a person, often performed by a child who only learns to speak.
- Social skills that are Unsocial or Awkward.
- Rarely start a conversation or continue it.
- Difficulty in interacting with people around, like parents and other adults nearby.
- Difficulty dealing with changes due to the extreme monotony requirements.
- The intense desire for continuity and to preserve rituals or ritualistic behaviors.
- Very unusual fears or specific ones.
- Just speaking in simple and very literal ways, and having difficulty with abstract concepts.
- Sensitive tactile skills.
- Selective listening skills, and may reach a point which most people feel deaf.
- Good memory abilities for visual and audio.
- Self-stimulating behavior, such as dancing, jumping up and down, clapping hands, or fluttering.
- A normal growth or development until around 18-24 months, and then a regression.
Types of Hyperlexia
1. Hyperlexia I
Even if this is very unusual, the definition of Hyperlexia I is that ordinary kids can read rather early. This means they should have the ability to read at a seventh-grade level when they reach kindergarten.
2. Hyperlexia II
If children are hyperlexic on the autism spectrum it is categorized as Hyperlexia 2. These kids are getting obsessed with numbers and letters, arranging them endlessly together. Instead of stuffed animals and toys, they’re likely to take magnetic tablets of letters and numbers to bed. They may also be fascinated with memorizing birthdays, license plate numbers, trip directions similar to GPS, or the solar system. Such children may also display some other symptoms of autism, such as avoiding eye contact, loneliness, being adverse in obtaining or paying attention, and may also be prone to certain types of sensory overload. They will probably read very early too.
3. Hyperlexia III
Hyperlexia 3 children also read very quickly and for a short time. They are likely to show autism signs that appear to fade away. Other symptoms of type-3 hyperlexia include impressive memory for movies or music and the verbal language may be delayed for a period of time while comprehension may be very remarkable during reading. In addition, they have no trouble maintaining eye contact, giving attention, and gaining attention, and will be socially confident, particularly around adults.
Difference Between Hyperlexia In Children and Autism In Children
Hyperlexia and autism are not the same, though many overlapping traits and characteristics are found in these conditions and many children are jointly diagnosed. The principal difference between both cases is the capacity to learn precociously.
Autism is a condition marked by cognitive and behavioral challenges in development. Often in some aspects of learning, autistic children can show over-average skills.
For infants, hyperlexia may be autistic, and hyperlexia in children may be one of the first signs of autism found by parents.
Characteristics shown by children with autism are:
- The behavior of ritualism.
- The behavior of self-stimulation.
- Concrete and literal thoughts.
- Hardship in abstract concepts comprehension.
- Normal development, followed by regression up to 18-24 months.
- Obsessed with routines.
- Feel, touch, and sound awareness.
- Change of difficulty from one activity to the next.
- Uncommon fears
- Listening selectively.
It should be noted, however, that not all autistic children are highly hyperlexic and not all highly autistic children.
How to Support Hyperlexic Children
Language and speech therapy is the first and most important treatment which hyperlexic children should take. This therapy should be taken as the foundation and all the other therapies that revolve around it. Education for social skills learning will also be integrated into language and speech therapy as part of the hyperlexic children’s educational program.
It can be difficult for hyperlexic children to comprehend information that is extra sensory, so helping with the sensory processing deficit in children will be helpful with sensory integration therapy. The early reading skills of the children can become an instrument for communicating with them and teaching them other skills.
The identification of hyperlexia in children in opposition to autism allows carers and parents to understand children’s learning styles and develop suitable strategies for children with hyperlexia. Even though a very little child must have an extraordinary fascination with words and letters, together with other social and linguistic issues, a complete assessment with a differential diagnosis of different types of hyperlexia is required, although many suggest that because of an automated disease of the spectral spectrum. In addition, the same is required if the child speaks late and not early.
Around 5-10 per cent of children with autism are also considered to be hyperlexic somewhere. It is thus relatively uncommon.
The child will benefit from accurate and early detection of hyperlexia. Children with hyperlexia are also very smart and highly balanced. They are extremely interested and curious about learning, and older children with hyperlexia often have high academic talents and verbal qualities. Often these gifts can be so evident you may need to pay very little attention to the language challenges of hyperlexia or the very essence of hyperlexia’s learning style.