Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Simple Mindfulness Activities to Teach Kids

Looking for simple mindfulness activities for kids? These activity ideas are great for teaching mindfulness to kids and for parents.

It seems like everyone is talking about mindfulness these days, doesn't it?

It is more than a buzzword though, I promise. And mindfulness just happens to be a topic that I have been reading quite a bit about lately.

As you probably already know, there are plenty of benefits to teaching yourself and your children mindfulness. Some of those benefits include reducing stress and anxiety levels, teaching self-regulation skills, strengthening self-control, recognizing and understanding the way emotions feel in our bodies, and so much more.

So, if you're been thinking about teaching your kids (or yourself!) some mindfulness strategies, then you'll love these simple mindfulness activities. They are activities that you and your kids can start today.

Looking for simple mindfulness activities for kids? These activity ideas are great for teaching mindfulness to kids and for parents.

A version of this post originally appeared on the CBC Parents website.

But, What is Mindfulness Exactly?

Well, mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment by tuning into our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and what's around us. It's all about being aware of what's happening here and now, slowing down, and calming your mind.

A quote about mindfulness

Getting Started with Mindfulness

One of the great thing about teaching mindfulness is that these types of activities can be practiced anywhere and anytime. You can even do these activities individually or as a group (of any size!). So it's easy to get started.

Lots of teachers have even begun implementing mindfulness into their classrooms, which, I think, is great.

Remember, teaching mindfulness doesn't need to be complicated. It also doesn't involve any fancy tools or apps to get started.

Also, keep in mind that, I'm not expecting you to dive head first into meditation here. Although the benefits of meditation are plentiful and it is worth exploring, but only if you're interested...

Instead, I'm going to show you how to explore emotions, practice deep breathing, and get really good at noticing things so that you and your child can learn to feel more grounded, mindful, calmern and more relaxed. Sounds good, right? Well, let's dig in!

Remember, teaching mindfulness to kids doesn't need to be complicated

Simple Mindfulness Activities to Try

1. Do Some Mindful Breathing

Breathing is a great place to start since it's something we already do automatically, but why not try some mindful breathing? It's as simple as taking a couple of deep breaths a few times each day. You can even schedule deep breathing breaks for you and your child.

A good place to start is by blowing bubbles with your kids. Most (if not all) love playing with bubbles so it's a good way to practice breathing slowly and purposefully. Blow too fast and the bubbles will pop.

I recently came across an idea to pick a trigger word and each time you hear that word throughout the day, you pause and take a couple of deep breaths. The suggested word was "mom" and goodness, could you imagine how many times you would sneak in some mindful breathing every day if you used it as your trigger word?!

Another idea is to use a visual cue to remind you to pause and do some mindful breathing. For example, every time you stop at a red light while driving, encourage your kids to join you as you take a couple of deep breaths.

Here are two other easy deep breathing techniques you could try:

  • Lay down on your back, place a small toy or stuffed animal on your belly, take slow deep breaths, and watch the toy move up as you inhale and down as you exhale.
  • Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest and take a deep breath so you can feel the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.

You can also use visuals to help practice deep breathing. You can try one of our free deep breathing posters found here. There are lots of different themes to choose from.

Easy deep breathing techniques to try with kids

2. Play Noticing Games

You likely remember playing games like "I spy with my little eye..." on road trips as a child. These types of games are a great way to get started with mindfulness as they encourage you to be aware of what's around you.

You can even switch it up to do "I hear." Instead of describing what you see, describe what you hear. This variation encourages you to focus on tuning into the sounds around you or even inside you.

Another grounding technique is called "Notice 5 Things." You simply look around and name five things that you see. Then encourage your child to do the same. Keep taking turns until you both feel calm and grounded.

Another popular noticing game you could try is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique that makes use of the five senses. Learn more about how to do that technique here.

Another game you could try is the ABC grounding technique. Basically, you look around and try to name an object you see or hear that starts with as many letters of the alphabet as possible, starting with A and then B, and so on. Grab a free printable here to help you get started.

Other types of noticing games can include going on a sound scavenger hunt (see: counting sounds mindfulness walk) or watching clouds as they move through the sky. There are lots of options.

3. Explore Your Emotions

Mindfulness includes being aware of your emotions and how they feel inside your body. And this is certainly an area that a lot of kids need help with. Okay, maybe some adults too...

One activity you could try is simply naming your emotions. Just stop what you're doing. Pause. Tune into how your body is feeling right now. Then simply announce the feeling out loud. For example, you would just say the word "angry" if that is how you are feeling. Acknowledge the feeling and just allow it to be there. Don't judge or dwell. Just simply allow it to exist.

With kids, it can be helpful to have them look in a mirror when naming emotions. That way they can see their facial expressions and body signals.

4. Start a Gratitude Journal

Starting a gratitude journal is such a great and easy way to get started with mindfulness. It's actually how I got started.

How it works: Every night, you write down three things or people you are grateful for and why.

You can even find free apps that will provide you with prompts if you find this exercise particularly difficult.

I have been keeping a gratitude journal for a number of years and have found it makes a huge difference. It really helps me focus on what was good, positive, and important to me during the day, instead of dwelling on some negative thing that might have ruined my day (or week or month).

Another option is to do a gratitude jar. Grab this free gratitude jar printable to get started.

4 simple mindfulness activities to teach kids

A Quick Recap on Teaching Mindfulness to Kids

As you can see, teaching mindfulness to kids doesn't have to be complicated. You can try:

  • Doing some deep breathing exercises and using visuals to help
  • Playing some noticing games to ground yourself
  • Exploring your emotions by naming them or using a mirror
  • Starting a gratitude journal

So there you have it. A bunch of super simple mindfulness activities that you can start sneaking into your daily routine today.

Looking for simple mindfulness activities for kids? These activity ideas are great for teaching mindfulness to kids and for parents.

Continue reading "Simple Mindfulness Activities to Teach Kids"

Friday, January 12, 2024

Precocious Reader or Hyperlexic? The Differences Between Hyperlexia & Other Early Readers

Precocious reader or hyperlexic? A look at the key differences between hyperlexia and other early readers.

One of the biggest misconceptions that I see about hyperlexia is that hyperlexia simply means early reading so, therefore, all early readers are hyperlexic. But that's actually not the case.

There are early readers who are hyperlexic.

And then there are early readers who are not hyperlexic.

As I like to repeat a lot around here and on Instagram, there is so much more to hyperlexia than just the early ability to read. There are other traits that have to be in place in order for it to be considered hyperlexia. 

In other words, there are key features and differences that separate hyperlexic readers from other precocious (i.e., non-hyperlexic) readers. Those differences are what we will take a look at below.

Precocious reader or hyperlexic? A look at the key differences between hyperlexia and other early readers.

There are early readers who are hyperlexic and others who are not hyperlexic

There is so much more to hyperlexia than an early ability to read

Precocious Reader or Hyperlexic? 10 Key Differences

As you'll soon see, there are 10 ways in which hyperlexic readers differ from other early precocious (i.e., non-hyperlexic) readers. They differ in terms of:

  • Age of onset
  • Reading instruction
  • Comprehension levels
  • Intense interests
  • Dependency on written language
  • Language development
  • Social/interpersonal differences
  • Learning style
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Diagnostic criteria

We're going to take a closer look at each of these differences and examine what the research has to say about these points.

Ways in which hyperlexic readers differ from other precocious readers

The Differences Between Hyperlexia & Other Early Readers

It can be helpful to think of hyperlexia as a specific type of early precocious reading ability. So, keep that in mind as we go through these key differences.

1. Age of onset

The age of onset for hyperlexia is "consistently before the age of five years...and often much younger, starting at 18 months, which is, to our knowledge, about 18 months earlier than the earlier reported precocious reading case in typical children." (Ostrolenk et al., 2017). For example, my hyperlexic son started to read before his second birthday. That's pretty darn early!

It is worth noting, though, that the age of "onset is a frequently mentioned feature of most cases of hyperlexia but it is not diagnostic in itself." (Hopper, 2003).

However, the age of onset can help us separate hyperlexic readers from other precocious readers. After all, the early reading ability occurs much sooner and with more intensity in hyperlexia. In fact, research has shown that hyperlexic readers begin reading at least one year before most precocious readers (see: Healy, 1982) or, as the quote earlier in this section noted, 18 months earlier than precocious reading in typical children.

The age of onset can help separate hyperlexic readers from other precocious readers

2. Reading instruction

With hyperlexic readers, it's important to remember that they learn to read with no formal instruction. In other words, their ability to decode is self-taught and "none taught the child how to read." (Healy et al. 1982). 

Other early non-hyperlexic readers may also be self-taught so how can we separate hyperlexic from other early readers in this case? Well, it often helps to look at their language abilities (something we'll touch on more in the language development section).

As Ostrolenk et al. (2017) points out, "The main differences between typical and hyperlexic reading acquisition are that (1) the former relies on previously acquired language abilities, whereas the latter frequently emerges before any communicative oral language appears." In other words, the reading ability in hyperlexia often appears before the child has even learned to talk, whereas other early readers rely on their language abilities when learning to read.

Finally, there are some early readers who have been explicitly taught how to read. These early readers cannot be considered hyperlexic for this reason.

There are some early readers who have been explicitly taught how to read - they cannot be considered hyperlexic!

3. Comprehension levels

One of the biggest differences between hyperlexic readers and other early readers comes down to comprehension. For hyperlexic readers, they have "advanced reading skills, relative to comprehension skills" (Ostrolenk et al., 2017), whereas other precocious readers have strong or even advanced comprehension skills.

Keep in mind that "hyperlexia is viewed as a type of precocious reading, so that precocious reading refers to precocious reading without (i.e., hyperlexic) and with comprehension (i.e., non-hyperlexic)." (Grigorenko et al., 2003)

Hyperlexia is viewed as a type of precocious reading

That means, if comprehension and decoding levels are similar, then that reader is likely just a precocious reader and not a hyperlexic one. But, if there's a discrepancy, it's hyperlexia.

Remember, a "unifying characteristic of hyperlexia is that all children are precocious and self-taught readers who have a fascination with letters and reading but have poor comprehension of the written word." (Miller, 1999 as quoted in Murdick et al., 2004) Or, as Shari B. Robertson (2019) put it, "for those with hyperlexia, there is a substantial gap between word-level decoding and overall comprehension of text."

Unifying characteristics of hyperlexia

So this comprehension piece is one of the best ways to differentiate hyperlexic readers from other precocious readers.

Comprehension levels are different for hyperlexic readers and other precocious readers

4. Intense interests

I mentioned earlier that hyperlexic reading starts sooner and with more intensity. Part of the reason why it's more intense has to do with the passion and fascination that hyperlexic readers have for letters and written words. Actually, "researchers acknowledge the presence of this 'passion for printed word' as one of the key features of hyperlexia." (Grigorenko et al., 2003)

Just to give you a better idea of this intensity, "families spoke of obsessive interests in letter and number blocks...and reading every bit of print the children see in their environment." (Newman et al., 2007) Yes, literally everything.

As Hopper (2003) noted, "the preoccupation with print often replaces other types of childhood activities" and one mother estimated that her hyperlexic children's interest in playing with letters "occupied 90% of both children's free time." (Ostrolenk et al., 2023) Which honestly, sounds pretty darn accurate based on our experience.

Preoccupation with print is a common activity for hyperlexic kids

Grigorenko et al. (2003) also highlighted that the "presence of both obsessive preoccupation with and pleasure from written stimuli, experienced by children with hyperlexia not only at the emergence of their reading skills, but throughout their lives, often overshadowing and even forcing out developmentally appropriate activities." In other words, their interests are all encompassing and last for years.

One final quote that I'd like to share suggests that "hyperlexia manifests itself as an intense, transiently quasi-exclusive interest for all types of printed material, plausibly without an equivalent in non-autistic children at this age." (Ostrolenk et al., 2017). This point is one of the three main differences between typical and hyperlexic reading acquisition that the authors highlighted. The other two differences were the age of onset and their language abilities.

So, unlike hyperlexic readers, other early readers often have interests in broader subjects or topics and their interest in these topics aren't as deep or as intense. Nor do these interests necessarily dominate their childhood for years.

5. Dependency on written language

Hyperlexic readers depend on written language and visual instruction in order to learn and acquire language, whereas other precocious readers do not.

As the Canadian Hyperlexia Association (now defunct) mentions in their What is Hyperlexia? PDF, "If it isn't written, it may not exist." That's why we have the motto of "When in doubt, write it out!" for hyperlexic kids. They need the written word. Plain and simple.

Hyperlexic readers depend on written language

6. Language development

There are also differences in terms of language development between hyperlexic readers and other early readers. For instance, hyperlexic readers have "significant difficulty in understanding and developing oral language" (What is Hyperlexia? PDF) and learn language via gestalt processing

As a result, hyperlexic learners often have language delays and rely on a lot of echolalia to communicate. In fact, "receptive and/or expressive language delay was a very frequent finding" in hyperlexia research (Hopper, 2003).

Also, it's worth noting that the hyperlexic child's reading ability usually appears before they've even learned to talk. Take the mother in Healy's 1982 paper who "felt alarmed when reading developed before expressive language at age 3." It's very common for word recognition skills in hyperlexia to "appear before any expressive language has developed." (Hopper, 2003)

It's common for word recognition skills in hyperlexia to appear before expressive language

Other early readers (i.e., the non-hyperlexic ones) generally have age-appropriate language development. Most are also analytic language processors, not gestalt language processors. That means they acquire language differently from hyperlexic readers.

7. Social/interpersonal differences

Social differences are a key feature of hyperlexia and are another way to differentiate hyperlexia from other early precocious readers. 

As Grigorenko et al. (2002) noted, "the diagnosis of hyperlexia should require a co-occurrence of interpersonal difficulties." These social differences can include difficulties with social interactions, a preference for routine and difficulties with transitions, and more.

In contrast, other early readers usually develop typically when it comes to social skills so they generally don't need much support in this area.

There are social differences between hyperlexic readers and other precocious readers

8. Learning style

Hyperlexic children have a "unique learning style." (What is Hyperlexia? PDF) For instance, they are gestalt learners, learn best through visual or auditory stimuli, rely on scripts and echolalia, have strong pattern recognition skills, and are literal thinkers.

Hyperlexic children have a unique learning style

As a result of this learning style, hyperlexic readers often need specific support strategies, accommodations, and modifications to help them learn and grow. Things like turning on closed captions, writing things down, modeling language in a specific way, teaching language explicitly, prioritizing comprehension, etc.

Other early readers, on the other hand, will have varied learning styles. They also won't necessarily need specific supports, accommodations, or modifications at school or at home.

9. Repetitive behaviors

Repetitive behaviors are quite common in hyperlexia, but less so with other early readers. Think stimming, organizing things in alphabetical order, reading the same books repeatedly, repeating the same word or sentence over and over, scripting from media, preference for routines, or repetitive play. You will see all of these with hyperlexic readers, but not necessarily with other precocious readers.

Repetitive behaviors are common in hyperlexia

10. Diagnostic criteria

Hyperlexia is often associated with autism so the presence of autistic features can also help us differentiate hyperlexic readers from other early readers.

In other words, precocious reading isn't necessarily linked to a specific neurodevelopmental disorder or neurodivergence. However, in contrast, "the presence of an accompanying neurodevelopmental disorder" (Ostrolenk et al., 2017) is a feature that consistently describes hyperlexia.

Now will all hyperlexic readers be autistic? No, but they will likely be identified with some other neurodivergence, language disorder, or neurodevelopmental disorder.

Remember, if a child is hyperlexic, they are neurodivergent.

If a child is hyperlexic, they are neurodivergent

Therefore, the "inclusion of precocious reading in otherwise normal children as a form of hyperlexia seems unnecessary and may detract from those children who are hyperlexic and need educational and other support." (Hopper, 2003). After all, those who would be considered hyperlexia type 1 according to Treffert's (very outdated and problematic) subtypes "do not show any sign of developmental disorder. They do not qualify as hyperlexic...and are called precocious readers in most articles." (Ostrolenk et al., 2017)

The inclusion of precocious reading in otherwise normal children as a form of hyperlexia seems unnecessary

Some Final Notes on Hyperlexia vs. Precocious Readers

While it might be tempting to lump all early readers together (like so many people unfortunately do), not all early readers are the same, as you can see. Hyperlexic readers differ from other early precocious readers in a lot of ways.

Besides, it does a great disservice to those who are hyperlexic and require additional support to be lumped in with other precocious readers.

Our hyperlexic learners need strategies and supports that are tailored to their unique needs and learning style. So, it's incredibly important to distinguish them from other early readers because of these differing needs.

The needs of hyperlexic learners differ from other precocious readers

It's also important to remember that "hyperlexia is defined by a very specific pattern of compulsive interest and exceptional skills, and we would like to 'preserve the concept of hyperlexia' for this unique profile." (Ostrolenk et al., 2017). In order to do that, though, we need people to stop saying that hyperlexia just means early reading. Hyperlexia is so much more than that.

Hyperlexia is defined by a very specific pattern of compulsive interest and exceptional skills

Precocious reader or hyperlexic? A look at the key differences between hyperlexia and other early readers.

Continue reading "Precocious Reader or Hyperlexic? The Differences Between Hyperlexia & Other Early Readers"

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Hyperlexia in Adults: What Does it Look Like?

What does hyperlexia in adults look like? What traits might you notice? A closer look at how hyperlexia can present in adulthood.

While you can certainly find information about hyperlexia in children (I mean my whole website is dedicated to this particular topic), there's actually very little information about how hyperlexia presents in the teen years or in adulthood.

There's basically zero research on the topic either. Not surprising, though, given how little research there is on hyperlexia in children in general.

Yet, hyperlexic children do grow up. They become hyperlexic teens and, eventually, hyperlexic adults. So where's the support, resources, and information for them?

Similar to how there are lots of late-identified autistics out there, there are quite a few late-identified hyperlexic adults out there as well. 

Perhaps you are one of those adults who just discovered the term hyperlexia and are wondering if you are hyperlexic or not. (Psst...there is a new tool coming your way soon to help with this discovery phase!)

Or maybe you're just wondering what hyperlexia looks like as an adult because you're curious what the future might hold for your hyperlexic child.

Well, let's take a closer look at what hyperlexia in adults looks like.

What does hyperlexia in adults look like? A closer look at how hyperlexia can present in adulthood.

A Few Important Points to Keep in Mind About Hyperlexic Adults

Before reading through the list of hyperlexic adult traits, it's important to remember that the following must have been present as a child in order to be considered hyperlexic as an adult:

  • Early self-taught ability to read: You learned to read early and without formal instruction before the age of five
  • Language differences: Difficulty understanding and developing oral language, difficulty with WH questions, echolalic, comprehension challenges, literal thinking, gestalt processing
  • Social differences: Difficulty with social situations, intense focus on specific interests, preference for routine, repetitive behaviors, preference for solitary or scripted play

Key traits that hyperlexic adults must have had as a child in order for it to be considered hyperlexia

If the above traits were not present, then you're likely not hyperlexic. Especially if the early self-taught reading piece is not present.

It's also important to note that "the presence of an accompanying neurodevelopmental disorder" (Ostrolenk et al., 2017) is a key component of hyperlexia. For example, that might mean being identified as autistic or diagnosed with some other neurodivergence (e.g., dyspraxia or ADHD) and/or a language disorder.

Hyperlexic children grow up

So What Does Hyperlexia Look Like in Adults?

Here are some traits of hyperlexia in adulthood that were shared by hyperlexic adults in our Instagram community (huge thanks to all who contributed!). You might notice that a lot of these traits are also present in childhood. They just simply continue on into adulthood as well.

  • Fast reading speed
  • Anxiety around reading (usually due to underlying comprehension issues - see point #3 here)
  • Strong pattern recognition skills
  • Interest in word games such as anagrams
  • May have perfect pitch
  • Concerned with pronouncing words correctly or having to relearn correct pronunciation (only because you've only seen them spelled out or read them elsewhere and have never heard them pronounced before)
  • Sensory sensitivities
  • Drawn more to informational or non-fiction texts rather than fiction
  • Preference for written communication over spoken
  • Preference for learning through written material rather than auditory or visual methods
  • Executive functioning challenges
  • Difficulties understanding and picking up social cues
  • Difficulties with comprehension, especially complex written material or anything that uses abstract thinking or figurative language
  • Literal thinking
  • Preference for social situations that have clear scripts, predictable structure, and/or established conversational patterns
  • Occasional use of echolalia or even palilalia (repeating one's own speech), especially in new or unfamiliar situations
  • Occasionally experiences situational mutism
  • Wide range of reading habits: lack of interest in reading entirely (i.e., rarely reads for fun), reading a lot of books (but mostly non-fiction texts versus novels/fiction), repetitive reading behaviors/habits (e.g., reading the same books over and over), re-reading texts without a clear reason
  • Difficulties expressing thoughts and feelings verbally
  • Notices and points out spelling or grammatical mistakes (it can even feel like a personal attack on some hyperlexic adults)

Now obviously, this list is not exhaustive and there will be some variability among hyperlexic adults in terms of traits and experiences. However, this list is meant to give you an idea of how hyperlexia can still impact day-to-day life in adulthood.

Hyperlexic traits in adulthood

Hyperlexia in Adults: A Quick Recap

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the strengths, preferences, and traits of hyperlexic children remain present into adulthood. For instance, the preference for and reliance on written communication, strong pattern recognition skills, and the strong decoding skills continue to be important for hyperlexic adults. There's a reason why hyperlexia is often referred to as a learning style...

A lot of hyperlexic strengths, preferences, and traits remain present into adulthood

So, it's important to continue to lean into these strengths to support hyperlexic adults, as needed.

Some hyperlexic adults may need relatively little support, whereas others may require more support. Many might be really good at masking their challenges too.

Some hyperlexic adults may need relatively little support, whereas others may require more support

The point here is that there will be a wide variety of support needs for hyperlexic adults. And you can see that hyperlexia is still a key part of how a person learns and interprets the world around them, not just in childhood, but in adulthood as well. After all, hyperlexia is not something you outgrow.

Hyperlexia is still a key part of how a person learns and interprets the world around them, not just in childhood, but in adulthood as well. After all, hyperlexia is not something you outgrow.

So...that's a peek at what hyperlexia in adults can look like.

What does hyperlexia in adults look like? A closer look at how hyperlexia can present in adulthood.

Continue reading "Hyperlexia in Adults: What Does it Look Like?"

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

The Next Steps to Take When You Think Your Child is Hyperlexic

Wondering if your child has hyperlexia? Here are the next steps you can take to get a hyperlexia diagnosis or what you can do after your child has been identified as hyperlexic.

When you first learn about hyperlexia, it can be absolutely mind-blowing and life changing.

You read the definition and it just fits.

Honestly, this quote sums things up so nicely: "Somewhere along this path, you encounter the term hyperlexia and a description that fits your child to a tee. For the first time, you hear a word that links the paradoxical characteristics of your child." (from Reading Too Soon by Susan Martins Miller)

Discovering the term hyperlexia is likely the aha moment you've been looking for because, finally, you can put a name to what you are witnessing with your own child and that's incredibly empowering and freeing. You likely feel excited and relieved. (I know I did).

Seriously, seeing the word hyperlexia for the first time was a huge aha moment for us. And I bet it was for you too.

And "regardless of how you learn of hyperlexia or when it seems certain that this is the right description for your child, the process is full of emotion. You may react by saying, 'Aha! This is what it is!'" (from Reading Too Soon by Susan Martins Miller) I know I felt emotional when I first googled hyperlexia after my son was identified and starting seeing photos of kids just like my son. I finally had the answer I had been searching for for years!

But now what? What do you do with that information? What's your next step as the parent of a potentially hyperlexic child? What should you do next if you suspect/know your child is hyperlexic?

Well, here are some of the next steps you can take when you learn that your child is hyperlexic.

Think your child is hyperlexic? Wondering what your next steps are? Here are you next steps to take when you think your child might have hyperlexia

Hyperlexia quote from the book "Reading Too Soon" by Susan Martins Miller

So You Know it's Hyperlexia...Now What?

Please keep in mind that there's no right or wrong next step, and you can certainly do these in any order. However, there are some things you might want to consider now that you know what hyperlexia is, even if it's on a very basic level.

Hyperlexia quote from the book "Reading Too Soon" by Susan Martins Miller

1. Get your child identified (aka get a "diagnosis")

First things first, it's important to understand that hyperlexia isn't a standalone diagnosis. Instead, it's a practical label. One that is often identified alongside another diagnosis or label (usually autism). You can learn more about the hyperlexia diagnostic process here.

It's important to understand that hyperlexia isn't a standalone diagnosis

You might also find it helpful to learn more about what's involved, in terms of tests or assessments, when it comes to identifying hyperlexia. You can read more about how to diagnose hyperlexia here.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, it is important to identify a child's hyperlexia as it's a key part of who they are and how they learn.

It's important to identify a child's hyperlexia

Since you suspect that your child is hyperlexic, it is strongly encouraged and recommended that you go for the following assessments as they will provide you with lots of additional information about your child:

  • An autism assessment (there is a strong link between autism and hyperlexia)
  • A speech and language assessment (ideally done by someone familiar with gestalt language processing)
  • An occupational therapy assessment

Assessments that hyperlexic kids should have done

If you've already had a formal autism, speech, and/or occupational therapy assessment and hyperlexia wasn't brought up in any of these, it might be worth following up and asking about hyperlexia. It's possible that they aren't familiar with the term or didn't think it was relevant to mention (yes, this does happen!).

2. Educate yourself about hyperlexia (and other related topics)

Parent education is so important. The better you understand what hyperlexia is and isn't, the better equipped you'll be to help support your hyperlexic child.

The better you understand what hyperlexia is and isn't, the better you can support the hyperlexic child

Here are some ways to educate yourself about hyperlexia:

  • Grab a copy of all of these great hyperlexia PDFs (they're great for sharing with teachers and professionals too!)
  • Learn about other related topics such as sensory processing, autism, auditory processing, air writing, and comprehension (all of which you can find here on the blog!)
  • Dig into the hyperlexia research (if you're really looking to get more indepth knowledge and insight) - Best not to dive into this right away if you literally just stumbled upon the term hyperlexia mere minutes ago though...
  • Follow me on Instagram for quick digestible information, tips, and resources about hyperlexia (especially helpful if you find you're getting overwhelmed!)

It is worth noting that you might find it helpful to connect with others who are raising hyperlexic children. However, not all support groups are necessarily good (many are toxic and filled with misinformation about hyperlexia). So if you're looking for something different, we have the Hyperlexia Hub community and our live monthly support groups.

After all, "parents of hyperlexic children find reassurance in knowing there are other children like theirs and other people interested in helping them." (from Reading Too Soon by Susan Martins Miller)

Hyperlexia quote from the book "Reading Too Soon" by Susan Martins Miller

3. Inform relevant people of your child's hyperlexia

It's important not only for you, as a parent, to understand hyperlexia, but for others who work with or support your child as well. Especially if your child is in school as they will likely require specific supports and accommodations that are tailored to their hyperlexic learning profile.

It's important to understand what hyperlexia

Who needs to know about your child's diagnosis will vary from family to family, but it may include your child's teacher, the school support staff, your child's therapists, other family members, and more. And don't forget to tell your child that they are hyperlexic!

When letting others know about your child's hyperlexia, be sure to share your child's strengths, as well as what areas they need support in. Tell others about what supports your child finds helpful (e.g., writing things down) and what their interests are.

Here are some useful resources to get you started:

  • Consider telling your child about their diagnosis since they, after all, are the hyperlexic child and deserve to have that knowledge. - These resources should help:

4. Start implementing strategies that play to the strengths of a hyperlexic learner

Just looking for practical tips on how to nurture your hyperlexic child and help them grow? I've got you covered there too! That's what this section - and this entire website! - is for.

Here are some resources that you might find helpful:

  • Turn on closed captioning (learn why here) and start writing things every thing down
  • Browse for resources for particular struggles, challenges, or goals (from potty training to fine motor to comprehension!)
  • Get quick digestible tips and information about hyperlexia by following me on Instagram - Perfect for those of you who might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information here

A Quick Recap of I Think My Child is Hyperlexic...Now What?

I know there is a lot of information and resources to go through here and that it can be extremely overwhelming. So, remember, you can take your time and go through each section slowly.

Or, here's a quick summary for those of you who need it...

If you think your child is hyperlexic, you should:

  • Get your child identified, if you haven't already done so
  • Educate yourself about hyperlexia and related topics (e.g., gestalt language processing, autism, sensory processing)
  • Inform relevant people of your child's hyperlexia, especially if they are in school, so that your child can be well supported in a variety of environments
  • Start implementing strategies that work for hyperlexic learners (e.g., write things down, turn on the closed captioning, encourage their letter play)

I think my child is hyperlexic...now what?

Hopefully, you found this information helpful.

Think your child is hyperlexic? Wondering what your next steps are? Here are you next steps to take when you think your child might have hyperlexia

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