Tuesday, February 09, 2021

40 Language Skills that Hyperlexic Kids Might Need Support With

Hyperlexia and language development: a closer look at 40 language skills that hyperlexic kids might need some extra support with.

Hyperlexic kids learn language differently, learning via gestalt processing of language (that is, learning language in chunks) and relying heavily on echolalia to communicate and express themselves.

It can actually be "helpful to think of [a hyperlexic individual] as being like an English Language Learner in his or her native language" (Iland, 2011) since the language challenges that hyperlexic kids face are quite similar to those of English Language Learners. 

In other words, hyperlexic kids need to be taught language as if they are learning a second language. 

So it's not surprising that, when it comes to language skills, there are a lot of areas that they might need some extra support and practice with. 

The language challenges generally include (source):

  • "Understanding and using language functionally," in terms of "processing, formulating, and expressing oneself"
  • "Comprehending the intentions of others"

  • "Being able to convey one's own intentions"

But let's take it one step further and break it down into more specific skills and areas that you can target and address because knowing these specific skills gives you an idea of areas that your hyperlexic kid might need extra support and practice with. 

They are skills that you can target at home, during speech therapy, or even with certain IEP accommodations in place in the classroom. 

And they are skills that, if worked on, can also make a huge difference in their overall comprehension of language.

Please keep in mind that there will be a wide variety of abilities here with hyperlexic individuals and some of these skills may apply to some and not others. But most hyperlexic kids will experience difficulties with most - if not all - of these language skills.

Language skills development in hyperlexia

Common Language Skills that Hyperlexic Kids Might Need Some Extra Support With

Here are some of the specific skills that might need to be addressed:

1. Interpreting language literally (includes: idioms, metaphors, figurative language, personification, connotation, hyperbole, and/or words that have multiple meanings)

2. Developing and building vocabulary

3. Using pronouns correctly and understanding who or what those pronouns are referring to

4. Auditory processing

5. Prepositions and spatial concepts

6. Requesting things

7. Asking questions

8. Answering questions, especially ones that involve WH- questions

9. Making inferences (lots of inference cards to practice with here)

10. Using context clues to pronounce homographs correctly (homographs are words that are spelled the same, have different meanings, and usually pronounced different) 

11. Labeling

12. Saying no and protesting (try these)

13. Communicating basic wants and needs (try these)

14. Grammar

15. Sequencing (first, next, then)

16. Time concepts (includes: day, week, month, seasons, AM/PM, past/present/future, sometimes, today/tonight/tomorrow/yesterday, etc.)

17. Understanding and using social language and rules (try a social story to help with this)

18. Visualization (the Visualizing & Verbalizing kit is a popular choice for this skill)

19. Connotation (picking up on the feelings or emotions associated with certain word choices)

20. Gaining someone's attention to initiate a conversation

21. Flexible thinking

22. Following directions 

23. Giving directions

24. Recognizing associations between objects (categorizing, making analogies, identifying opposites, etc.)

25. Identifying attributes and descriptors of objects and situations

26. Understanding multiple meanings for a single word and resolving ambiguity (e.g., I saw bats ~> could refer to baseball bats or the animal)

27. Making choices

28. Recognizing and responding to nonverbal language cues

29. Making connections with their own knowledge

30. Understanding cause and effect

31. Using context clues (includes: picking up on the meaning of words, foreshadowing, etc.)

32. Monitoring comprehension

33. Expressive language, both spoken and written

34. Determining an author's purpose or intent for writing (or speaker's purpose for speaking)

35. Being able to explain and describe things (try this graphic organizer)

36. Narrative and storytelling skills

37. Understanding characters' motivations and reactions in a story 

38. Activating prior knowledge or schema

39. Conceptualization

40. Language comprehension

A list of language skills that hyperlexic kids might need some extra support with

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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

3 Books to Help You Talk to Your Child About their Autism Diagnosis

Need help explaining an autism diagnosis to your child? These books will help you start the conversation and help you talk to your child about their autism diagnosis.

There are many reasons why you need to tell your autistic child about their autism diagnosis

And there are tons of great resources to help you explain autism to kids.

But with so much information out there on this topic, it can be a bit overwhelming to wade through it all. 

You also worry about getting it right. Hint: don't stress about getting it right or perfect. Instead, just aim to start the conversation and create a dialogue with your child.

So to help you get the conversation started with your autistic child, I'm sharing my 3 must-have books when it comes to explaining an autism diagnosis to a child: one for you as a parent, one to share with kids of all ages, and one dedicated to teens and tweens. 

As an added bonus, these books are short. They're around 100 pages or less, meaning you could easily read them in an afternoon and have more time to get that conversation going.

Autism books for parents that will help you tell your kid they have autism

3 Must-Have Books to Help You Talk to Your Child About their Autism Diagnosis

The Little Book of Autism FAQs

1. The Little Book of Autism FAQs: How to Talk with Your Child About their Diagnosis & Other Conversations

By Davida Hartman

If you're unsure of where to start, then a good starting point would be this little book. This book was surprisingly good (I'm always so hesitant about autism books I stumble upon randomly at the library). 

It's only 100ish pages and can be read in an afternoon. It has lots of tips and suggestions on why you need to tell your child, when to tell them, and how to actually go about doing it. It will basically help inspire you to start the conversation with your child.

Just Right for You autism picture book

2. Just Right for You: A Story About Autism

By Melanie Heyworth & illustrated by CeART (I am Cadence)

Regardless of how old your child is, this book is absolutely wonderful to share with them. I seriously cried when reading this book for the first time and think it's a perfect book for introducing your child's diagnosis with them.

This book is written and illustrated by autistic people, which I love. 

Just Right for You is also now available in Spanish!

The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide

3. The Awesome Autistic Go-To Guide: A Practical Handbook for Autistic Teens and Tweens

By Yenn Purkis and Tanya Masterman

Written by autistics for autistics, this book is excellent for explaining an autism diagnosis to your tween or teen. 

It is short (only 108 pages) and includes lots of workbook-style pages for your teen to fill in, helping them better understand their autism diagnosis and sensory needs. You could read it together or let them read through it at their own pace. 

Other Autism Resources You'll Love

8 Reasons You Should Tell Your Child that They're Autistic

Tips for How to Tell Your Child that They're Autistic

Resources for Explaining Autism to Kids

Must-have autism books for talking to your child about their autism diagnosis

Read More

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

How to Teach Hyperlexic Kids to Dress Themselves: 30 Tips & Strategies that Work

Tips for how to teach kids to dress themselves, especially if they are hyperlexic or autistic. You'll love these tips for teaching dressing skills.

Someone recently asked me if it was normal for hyperlexic kids to be slower at learning to dress themselves. 

The answer is yes. Many hyperlexic kids do require extra support when it comes to learning how to get dressed on their own. 

Motivation, executive functioning skills, motor delays, sensory issues, and hyperfocusing on preferred interests can all play a part here.

However, there are a lot of tweaks that you can make to your child's environment that will help set them up for success. 

It's also important to keep the hyperlexic learning profile in mind when teaching dressing skills and to play to their strengths. So yes, you know that means there are going to be some strategies below that include the written word or other visual supports.

Dressing skills and hyperlexia: tips and strategies for how to teach kids to dress themselves

Dressing Skills & Hyperlexia: 30 Tips & Strategies to Try

1. Label bins and drawers so your child knows where to find socks, underwear, etc. You can use just words, just pictures, or pictures paired with words. You could also include notes about when to wear certain clothing right on the labels.

2. Use a visual schedule, chart, or checklist that outlines what clothing your child needs to wear. You can always just write this down on a whiteboard each morning or use this blank routine chart.

3. Explicitly teach them how to pick clothing that's appropriate for the weather, season, and/or occasion. This free choosing what to wear social story can help.

4. Opt for loose clothing that is easy to put on. That means skip the skinny jeans, anything with snaps or buttons, or things with zippers or belts. Instead, focus on clothing that will build your child's confidence because they're easy to put on. Basically, pick less complicated clothing options and consider outdoor gear too (e.g., using a neck warmer in the winter instead of a scarf).

5. Use socks that have colored heels so your child can easily tell which way the socks go. The colored heel acts as a visual cue.

6. Explicitly teach them how to find the tag so they know which is the front or back and which is the inside or outside.

7. Label clothing and shoes with words like front, back, left, or right so they know which way the clothing should be worn.

8. Explicitly teach other rules related to getting dressed that might not be as obvious such as closing drawers, closing the closet, putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket or hamper, etc. Write down these hidden rules.

9. Have them get dressed in front of a mirror so they can see what is happening. This tip works great for buttoning up shirts too.

10. Start by teaching them how to undress first.

11. Let them finish a step. For example, you put their pants on up to their ankles or knees and they have to pull them up the rest of the way. Or you pull a shirt over their head and they have to pull it down all the way.

12. Lay their clothes out in order so they have a visual cue of what they'll look like when dressed and/or in which order to get dressed. Bonus tip: use sticky notes to number clothing that's laid out so they know which piece of clothing to put on first, second, third, etc.

13. Explicitly teach them the steps needed for each type of clothing. For instance, with socks, you have to unroll them, scrunch them up, slide them onto your foot, and then pull up. Write these steps down.

14. Use clothing that includes their interests so that they are motivated to get dressed. You can find tons of fun space related shirts, ABC pajamas, and whatnot these days.

15. Make sure they know how to open and close drawers or take clothing off of hangers. Practice often.

16. Opt for easy to use closet organizers that keep clothing visible and/or don't require drawers. Or try dressers that have drawers that are easy to open. Trust me, this will help reduce frustration. Ask me how I know...

17. Offer choices. Try holding up two shirts and asking them to pick one of them to wear. Deciding what to wear and making choices can be difficult and overwhelming for hyperlexic kids.

18. Add a zipper pull extension or a tag to their zippers to make it easier to grab onto and zip up. Bonus tip: write a cue word on it like pull.

19. Model getting dressed, narrating the steps as you go. Be sure to even dress incorrectly so they can point out what's wrong (e.g., putting a shirt on backwards or inside out). Siblings can also help model.

20. For anything with a hood like a hooded sweatshirt (aka bunnyhug here in Saskatchewan!) or a coat, encourage them to put the hood on first. Doing so makes it so much easier to line up arms with their arm holes and whatnot.

21. Practice difficult clothing situations like inside out shirts or socks, sleeves stuck inside itself, pockets that are sticking out, turning a shirt around when it's on backwards, etc. Model how to fix it so they know how to problem solve these issues in the future.

22. Teach them scripts (and write them down!) of what they might need to say when getting dressed. Phrases such as "I need help," "My zipper is stuck," or "I want to wear my periodic table of elements shirt today."

23. Take photos of different outfit options and display them for your child to select from. It takes out the guesswork of pairing clothing together on their own and they can then try to locate the clothes that match the picture on their own. Bonus tip: take photos of your child in these outfits and save them to a specific album on your phone or iPad for them to scroll through.

24. Organize your child's closet into sections like school clothes or dress clothes so they can easily pick something that matches the occasion they are dressing for.

25. Turn getting dressed into a game. Timed games or challenges work especially well with hyperlexic kids. For instance, you could challenge them to get into their pajamas in 30 seconds or less or to put their pants on faster than you can put on your own pants (go slow and let them win to build their confidence).

26. Have them sit down while putting clothes on so that they don't have to work on staying balancing on one leg while getting dressed.

27. Work on fine motor skills needed for buttons, snaps, zippers, etc. Look for fun activities that will help your child practice these skills in other ways.

28. Create a specific routine for getting dressed, whether that is after breakfast, before breakfast, right when they wake up, etc. Hyperlexic kids thrive on routine so make it predictable for them. You could even designate a specific time (e.g., always get dressed at 8:00 am).

29. Offer a high-interest activity after getting dressed to help motivate them. Something like playing with their letters. Doing so will motivate them to accomplish their task of getting dressed quicker.

30. Remind your child to check that they have everything on correctly once they do get dressed, including checking that their shirt is on correctly (tag at the back and inside, artwork on the front, etc.). They can do a visual check for the tags, look in a mirror to see if it looks correct, or check with a parent to ensure their clothing is on correctly.

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

5 Strategies to Help Hyperlexic Kids with Auditory Processing

Tips for Potty Training the Hyperlexic Child

How to Teach WH Questions to Hyperlexic Kids

Tips and strategies for teaching hyperlexic and autistic kids how to get dressed by themselves

Read More

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Benefits of Closed Captioning for Hyperlexic Kids

A closer look at the benefits of reading subtitles and closed captioning for hyperlexic kids and how they can be used to help improve comprehension.

Research shows that turning on the closed captioning and subtitles can help improve comprehension for all learners and, I might argue, be even more beneficial for hyperlexic kids in particular whose love for the written word is well documented.

For instance, Gernsbacher (2015) found that watching "video with audio and with captions leads to the highest levels of comprehension," in comparison to those who had video and audio only (so, no captions) or those who had captions only. 

Videos with closed captioning turned on are more engaging, especially in the hyperlexic child's case, which, in turn, creates a positive reading experience. This positive experience is highly motivating and rewarding. 

And, as Lester (1997) points out, "Children need to be motivated and interested in order to use strategies for learning. Interest in a topic has been shown to increase a child's comprehension." 

It's true. When a hyperlexic child is more interested in the topic, their comprehension dramatically improves. 

So let's take a closer look at the benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles and how they can help help improve the comprehension skills of hyperlexic kids.

The benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for kids with hyperlexia

Benefits of Closed Captioning for Hyperlexic Kids

As you will soon see, using closed captioning and reading subtitles are quite helpful for hyperlexic kids. In particular, they can be used to boost comprehension and understanding, an area that many hyperlexic kids need help with. Here's a full list of the benefits:

  • Plays to the hyperlexic child's strengths and interests by using the written word 
  • Increases engagement, focus, attention, and time-on-task (again, by using the hyperlexic child's preference for the written word) 
  • Increases enjoyment and motivation by creating a positive reading experience (again, because - yes, you guessed it - it uses their interest in and preference for written words)
  • Helps with auditory processing by connecting spoken and written words and aids in the comprehension of oral language
  • Improves spelling, "particularly for those with a strong visual memory" (source) which most hyperlexic kids have
  • Improves pronunciation, especially of new or unfamiliar words
  • Aids in word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention, thereby boosting vocabulary, even if the words weren't heard in the videos (source)
  • Improves memory for the video (source)
  • Helps with identifying emotions (source)
  • Aids in visualization, a useful comprehension strategy, because "they can see and hear what is going on while reading the words and associating them with the images" (source)
  • Improves comprehension skills such as summarizing main ideas, recalling details and facts, making inferences, and making connections (source)
  • Improves self-monitoring skills, which are important for comprehension, because they will follow along with the captions and notice when mistakes are made or even when words are left out (source)
  • Describes other useful information that is relevant to the story and helps to deepen understanding, including, but not limited to, the mood of the music, sound effects, names of characters, or even if someone is speaking off camera
So, if you're not already doing so, be sure to turn on the closed captions and subtitles for every video your child watches, whether it's on TV, a movie, Netflix, or YouTube. As you learned above, using captions can help keep hyperlexic kids engaged while also building important skills for comprehension.

A list of the benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for hyperlexic kids

Other Comprehension Resources You'll Love

Picture Walk Reading Strategy

The Role of Schema in Reading Comprehension

How to Teach WH Questions to Hyperlexic Kids

The benefits of closed captioning and reading subtitles for hyperlexic kids and how they can be used to help boost comprehension and understanding

Read More

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hyperlexia & Auditory Processing: 5 Strategies that Will Dramatically Help Your Child

A closer look at hyperlexia and auditory processing and why hyperlexic kids say "I don't know" so much.

Does your hyperlexic child ever respond to questions with a quick "I don't know" and then a few seconds later gives you the correct response?

Well, it's pretty common for hyperlexic kids to have a case of the I don't knows, even if it's in response to a question that they definitely know the answer to. 

But why is that? 

And, more importantly, how can you help?

The answers to these questions have to do with auditory processing and comprehension. So let's take a closer look at hyperlexia and auditory processing and some strategies that will make a big difference.

Hyperlexia & auditory processing: why the hyperlexic child says "I don't know" a lot

Understanding Hyperlexia & the Case of the I Don't Knows

Given the comprehension difficulties that are common in hyperlexia, it's unsurprising that many hyperlexic kids have auditory processing delays as well. Yet it's one of those lesser known characteristics of hyperlexia

However, you probably already know that hyperlexic kids "find it easier to attend to, and grasp language information that they see, better than that which they listen to." (source

There's a reason why it's so important to keep the saying of "when in doubt, write it out" in mind with these kids...

Anyway, since hyperlexic kids have trouble processing and understanding spoken language, they will often respond to verbal requests and questions with "I don't know" or "huh?" as a way to buy themselves time. Time they need to process what was said.

In the book "Drawing a Blank," Emily Iland writes that autistic and hyperlexic children "had a response delay of 11 milliseconds in processing sounds heard in words. While the lag is brief, it means that the [autistic child] may still be processing the first syllable of a word when other students in class have already processed the entire word. Importantly, the delays may cascade, and the [autistic child] may lag further and further behind when trying to capture the message during a longer conversation or lesson."

As Iland points out, they need a bit more time to process what's been said, especially if the verbal request is lengthy or complex.

In this case, your child's quick response of "I don't know" tends to mean "I don't know what you're saying quite yet so let me at least acknowledge that I heard you while I finish processing what you said." So keep that in mind.

Hyperlexia & Auditory Processing: 5 Strategies that Will Dramatically Help Your Child

Now that you understand why your hyperlexic child defaults to using the phrase "I don't know" whenever you make a verbal request, let's talk about what you can do to support them with their auditory processing delays. 

These tips are simple switches that you can make that will dramatically help your hyperlexic child.

1. Make it visual by pairing spoken language with written language

Remember above where I reminded you yet again to write things out? Well, then you probably knew this tip was coming...

Take a minute to write down your request, instructions, or question and point to it while you speak to your child. 

If appropriate, you could even write down some possible answers for them. For instance, if you are asking them what they would like for a snack, then write down a couple of options for them to choose from.

2. Give them time to respond

You now know that hyperlexic kids need more time to process what was said to them, especially if the sentence or request is lengthy. It's best to speak and then pause for a bit. You're going to have to wait patiently and give them time to formulate a response.

3. Teach them a script to say instead of "I don't know"

To others who encounter your child, they might take your hyperlexic child's default response of "I don't know" to literally mean that they don't know the answer, which isn't always the case. 

So it's important to teach your hyperlexic child some scripts that they could say in place of "I don't know" to show that they need extra time to think about their answer. 

Examples include:

  • Let me think
  • I need a few seconds to answer
  • I'm just processing your question
  • I'm just thinking about what I want to say

4. Shorten and simplify your sentences, requests, and questions when speaking

Earlier I shared of quote that talked about how the auditory processing delays of individual sounds and words can stack on top of each other, making lengthy requests or conversations even harder to comprehend for hyperlexic kids. So a quick and easy fix is to shorten and simplify your sentences, remembering to pause in between each.

For instance, "We're going to the library this afternoon to return the overdue library books and pick up some new ones." can become "We're going to the library today. (pause) We'll return the old books. (pause). Then we'll pick some new books."

5. Speak slower

Given that they need more time to process individual sounds and words, it makes sense just to slow down when you are speaking. 

A list of strategies to use to help hyperlexic kids with their auditory processing delays

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

5 Lesser Known Characteristics of Hyperlexia

5 Free Hyperlexia PDF Resources That You Should Always Keep Handy

Important Hyperlexia Milestones

Hyperlexia & auditory processing: why the hyperlexic child says "I don't know" a lot and what you can do to help

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Friday, January 22, 2021

10+ Diagnoses a Hyperlexic Child Might Have (Besides Autism)

Here are 10+ common diagnoses a hyperlexic child might have (besides autism). They might even receive these diagnoses instead of the label of hyperlexia itself.

Some of the most common questions that I get about the hyperlexia "diagnosis" are regarding it's relationship with autism. Questions such as:

  • Is hyperlexia always diagnosed with autism?
  • Can you have hyperlexia and not be autistic?
  • How is hyperlexia different than autism?

While they're fair questions to ask, I'll be honest, I do question the intentions behind some of these questions as it often seems parents are reluctant or even in denial that their child might indeed be autistic. But that's a whole other beast to tackle for another post on another day.

Instead, let's focus on the question of whether or not hyperlexia is always identified or diagnosed with autism and take a look at some other diagnoses a hyperlexic child might have. 

10+ diagnoses a hyperlexic child might have besides autism

10+ Other Diagnoses A Hyperlexic Child Might Have

Since hyperlexia isn't a standalone diagnosis, you can't receive it as an official "diagnosis" on its own. Instead, it will often be diagnosed (or some might argue misdiagnosed), identified alongside, or lumped in with another diagnosis. In some cases, a hyperlexic child might receive one of these diagnoses in place of the label of hyperlexia. Here are some of the possible diagnoses they might receive:

  • Autism (including Asperger's which is now just diagnosed as autism)
  • Specific language impairment or a language disorder such as mixed receptive-expressive language disorder or expressive language disorder
  • Nonverbal learning disability
  • Pervasive developmental disorder
  • Social communication disorder, such as semantic/pragmatic disorder
For most hyperlexic kids, their hyperlexia will be identified alongside an autism diagnosis. It's not surprising that this is the case as there's a strong link between the two. In fact, 84% of hyperlexics are either autistic or have several autistic features (source). 

In addition to some of the diagnoses above, a hyperlexic child might have other co-occurring conditions such as:

  • ADHD
  • Sensory processing disorder or sensory integration dysfunction
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Seizure disorder
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Dyspraxia
  • Anxiety
Now obviously this list isn't exhaustive. There are a lot of other possible diagnoses and conditions that a hyperlexic child might have. These are just some of the more common possibilities.

Regardless of what other conditions or diagnoses a hyperlexic individual has, it's still important to identify the hyperlexia piece. 

Adkins et al. write that we need to still "identify children with hyperlexia if they have other diagnoses or conditions" because "these children learn primarily through reading, so the therapeutic and educational programs that we devise for them must take their reading skills into account." (source: Hyperlexia: Therapy that Works manual).

Let me stress that again. 

Identifying their hyperlexia is just as important as identifying their autism or their OCD because it tells you so much about how they learn and how their brain works. 

That means you might have to keep pushing until their hyperlexic learning style is recognized, especially when so many professionals or specialists are quick to disregard or dismiss your very valid concerns about the possibility of hyperlexia. And yes, this does happen.

So to answer the question "is hyperlexia always diagnosed with autism?", the answer is no.

A list of diagnoses or conditions that hyperlexic kids can also be identified with

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

Understanding the "Diagnosis" of Hyperlexia

Important Hyperlexia Milestones

5 Surprising &Lesser Known Hyperlexia "Symptoms"

Is hyperlexia always diagnosed with autism? Here are 10+ diagnoses a hyperlexic child might have (besides autism)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

5 Surprising & Lesser Known Characteristics of Hyperlexia

A closer look at some of the lesser known hyperlexia "symptoms" and traits.

People familiar with hyperlexia are usually familiar with the more common hyperlexia "symptoms" of early precocious reading, comprehension difficulties, intense letter fascinations, and whatnot. FYI, I prefer to use the terms traits or characteristics, which is why I put symptoms in quotations in the previous sentence. Anyway...

There are certainly a lot of other traits that differentiate a hyperlexic learner from a non-hyperlexic one, many of which you can see here

However, there are a few other traits that don't get discussed as much, even though they're important for understanding the unique hyperlexic learning style. So here are 5 surprising (and lesser known!) characteristics of hyperlexia.

Other signs of hyperlexia to be aware of

5 Lesser Known Characteristics of Hyperlexia

1. Air writing is common among hyperlexic children

Maybe you've seen your hyperlexic child "write" words or "draw" letters in the air before. This air writing is so common that I've officially declared it a missing trait from the list of hyperlexia signs. I can just do that, right? 

There are lots of reasons why hyperlexic kids do air writing, which I've discussed in depth here and on Instagram.

2. Hyperlexics learn language via gestalt processing

Gestalt processing is a just a fancy way of saying someone learns language in chunks, which explains why many hyperlexic children have echolalic speech. 

Now, I'm not an expert on gestalt processing so here are a few resources to help you learn more about this topic:

3. Auditory processing delays are common

Once you have a better understanding of their gestalt processing of language (did you check out those resources yet??), you can see why hyperlexic kids might also struggle with auditory processing. Especially when you factor in the issues that many of them have with comprehension and WH questions as well. No wonder it's so tricky to process spoken language for them!

You've probably noticed these auditory processing issues in your child before. You ask them a question and they either don't respond or they give an automatic response of "Huh?" or "I don't know." They might give this response even when it is a question they clearly know the answer to.

As Adkins et al. mention in Hyperlexia: Therapy that Works Manual, "Many children with hyperlexia have difficulty processing what people say to them."

This automatic response of "I don't know" is usually a coping mechanism hyperlexic kids use to buy themselves time to process and make sense of what was being said to them. 

I know my son did this all the time and people mistakenly assumed he didn't know the answer because he would say "I don't know." What you can do is work on teaching your child a script along the lines of "Let me think..." or "Give me a second" to replace the default "I don't know."

Another way to help with this is to pair the auditory with the visual, by writing things down.

4. Learning pronouns is difficult for hyperlexic kids

Pronouns are confusing for hyperlexic kids. They get them mixed up all the time during the preschool and early elementary years. 

Just think about how complex pronouns are. They're vague and require inferencing skills (something else hyperlexic kids aren't particularly good at naturally). I mean sometimes "you" can refer to you (pointing aggressively at the screen right at you) and other times it can refer to "me." But others will use "she" and "her" to refer to me. Ugh, English is so hard!

But yes, learning pronouns is difficult for hyperlexic kids. They do get the hang of it as they get older and with some extra practice (try these pronoun cards for instance).

5. Many hyperlexic children have unusual fears

We're talking fears of door knobs, anything that crawls, animated characters, the Happy Birthday song...a lot of these things can cause major anxiety for hyperlexic kids. So if your child has a somewhat unusual fear, then you might be a bit reassured knowing that your child isn't alone. There's a reason why I have lots of anxiety resources here on the blog after all.

5 lesser known characteristics of hyperlexia

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

Understanding the Hyperlexia "Diagnosis"

I Think My Child is Hyperlexic...Now What?

How to Teach WH Questions to Hyperlexic Kids

5 lesser known traits of hyperlexia

Read More