Thursday, April 15, 2021

How to Help Hyperlexic Kids with Writing

Many hyperlexic kids need support with writing assignments. Here's how to help kids with writing.

There are many language skills that hyperlexic kids need extra support with and one particular area that requires attention is expressive language. Both spoken and written.

So given their challenges with expressive language, it's really not surprising that many hyperlexic kids need support when it comes to writing activities and school writing assignments.

For many years, writing's been an area of struggle here for us too, so you're not alone.

So let's talk about hyperlexia and writing skills and what you can do to help.

How to help hyperlexic kids with writing

How to Help Hyperlexic Kids with Writing Assignments

Heads up that there's a lot of information below on how to help kids with writing. So let's dive right into those strategies that will help hyperlexic kids the most.

1. Use graphic organizers to plan out writing assignments

Graphic organizers are a visual tool to help kids plan out and organize ideas and information. Think concept maps, Venn diagrams, charts, tables, and that sort of thing. Really anything a child can fill in to help them brainstorm, plan out paragraphs, and organize their thoughts when it comes to writing skills.

There are a wide variety of graphic organizers that can help build good writing skills and you can even find some that are tailored to specific types of writing like persuasive writing or creative writing. You can use them for outlining a story, adding more details, character development...really anything!

For example, you can use the hamburger graphic organizer or this Mario graphic organizer for paragraph writing. 

Since part of good writing is to include lots of details, you could try this graphic organizer to help your child expand or stretch their sentences. Or try using this 5 senses graphic organizer to encourage your child to add more sensory details to their writing.

2. Use picture prompts for easy writing ideas

Some hyperlexic kids need help with not only picking a topic, but visualizing what their characters, settings, and whatnot look like. So it can be helpful to use picture prompts.

For instance, a teacher can provide a picture for your child to write about instead just providing a written prompt.

Or if your child is doing a creative writing assignment, they can do a google image search to help them come up with sensory details, adjectives, and other descriptive words that they can include to enhance their writing. For example, if your child is writing a short story about a cat, it might be helpful to look at pictures of cats until they find one that they like and use that image to help them describe their cat in their writing. 

You might also ask leading questions about the pictures they look at. For instance, you might ask something like, "What color is your cat's hair?" Then they can revise their image search to look up that specific color of cat. The idea is to encourage them to include as many details as possible so that whoever is reading their story can visualize the exact same cat without seeing the picture themselves.

3. Provide sentence starters

Sometimes your child might easily come up with their topic for their writing assignment, but then struggle to express themselves and put their ideas down on paper. Again, not surprising considering that many hyperlexics struggle with expressive language. 

However, providing a list of possible sentence starters is a great strategy to try. They simply have to fill in the blank with their ideas and then go from there. It's no different than say how most fairy tales start off with "Once upon a time..."

4. Allow them to write about or include their interests or passions into their creative writing efforts

It's so much easier to write about something when it's a topic you actually like and/or know a lot about. So it's nice to include free choice as an option to allow hyperlexic kids to write about something they're more interested in.

5. Provide concrete and specific topics or prompts to write about

Okay okay, I know I just said to include a free choice option, but sometimes that's too overwhelming for hyperlexic kids (that's the case for my son). Many hyperlexic kids find it hard to make choices to begin with so the idea of picking just anything out of thin air to write about seems like an impossible task. They'll likely get stuck and/or avoid starting the assignment simply because it's too broad.

Therefore, it can be helpful to brainstorm or provide a very specific prompt or topic for your hyperlexic child to write about. Ultimately, we don't want writing tasks to be stressful here so narrowing it down to something more concrete can really be helpful.

Pro tip: you could always try a random story generator to come up with more specific writing prompts for your child.

6. Create an idea bank for free choice writing assignments

Annnnd back to the topic of free choice we go! It's inevitable that your child will be given free choice writing assignments so you might as well plan for them, right?

One thing you can do is brainstorm possible topics with your child ahead of time to create an idea bank. They can keep this idea bank handy for when they're given open-ended free choice writing assignments. And then they can simply pick an idea from their list when it's time to write.

Another thing that can be done here is to brainstorm ideas at school as a class with your child's teacher's help. Hearing other kids' ideas - no matter how silly or ridiculous some of them might be - can be helpful for your hyperlexic child for a couple of reasons. One, they'll see that there is no wrong answer and you can literally write about whatever you want. Two, they might get inspired by something another child says that they might not have considered.

7. Break the writing assignment down into smaller steps

Consider short stories for a second. You need to think about setting, plot, problem and solutions, characters, and so many other things. 

So it can be helpful to break writing assignments down into these smaller parts or more digestible steps for your hyperlexic child. That way they only have to focus on one thing at a time.

For example, maybe one step is to pick a character and fill in a character map graphic organizer with details about who their character is, what they look like, who's in their family, etc. Then you can do the same thing for the setting. Then the problems. And so on and so on.

Doing this makes the task of writing less overwhelming - especially if it's a longer writing assignment - and helps your child think about as many details as possible to incorporate into their short story.

But you can obviously do this with any kind of writing assignment, not just short stories.

8. Set clear guidelines and expectations for the writing assignment

Provide the hyperlexic child with clear, specific guidelines and expectations. That might mean providing information about:

  • How many paragraphs are expected
  • How many pages long the assignment should be
  • How many sentences make up a paragraph
  • Word limits
  • Which font to use
  • Font size
  • Line spacing

The key here is to be specific. Remember instructions like "write four paragraphs" is still pretty vague and open to lots of interpretation. A hyperlexic child, for instance, might think it's okay to write one sentence per paragraph and think it meets the expectations because, well, they wrote four paragraphs. Or they might see instructions such as "write two pages," bump up the font size to 30 to make it fit two pages, and call 'er done.

Honestly, one of my son's favorite types of writing assignments were ones he did in grade 5 called 100 word challenges or something. The goal was to write exactly 100 words about a given topic, no more, no less. It had to be exactly 100. You can see why this would be a perfect assignment for a kid with hypernumeracy though, right? 

9. Provide writing samples and/or templates

In line with setting clear guidelines, it's also helpful for hyperlexic kids to see examples of what is expected for the final writing assignment. You know, the end result. For instance, you could show them a bunch of different haiku poems before asking them to write a haiku of their own. 

Templates can also be helpful (they're basically like graphic organizers!) for things like writing poetry or writing a letter. So that's always another option to try too.

10. Provide checklists and rubrics for checking and evaluating their work

Similar to points 8 and 9, providing checklists and rubrics can help hyperlexic kids see what is expected for the assignment. 

For instance, you might provide a checklist that shows how to check your writing assignment over before handing it in (checking spelling, capitalization, periods at the end of sentences, and whatnot). Or you provide them with a rubric to see exactly what the teacher will be using to grade their work.

11. Teach them the writing structure they'll need to use

This is kind of similar to tip #9 about providing examples or using templates. 

Different types of writing assignments follow different structures and explicit writing instruction on these different types of writing can make a huge difference for hyperlexic kids. It helps to take out a lot of the guesswork for hyperlexic kids, outlines clear expectations, and gives them something concrete to work with.

Let's take a look at poetry, for instance. A haiku is three lines of text with each line having a set number of syllables, while a limerick is five lines and requires a specific rhyming scheme. 

Or how about writing a letter? That follows a very specific pattern as well as it usually starts with "Dear..." and ends with "Sincerely..." 

So be sure to specifically teach these rules and formulas as it can be super helpful for hyperlexic learners.

12. Build background knowledge on the topic beforehand

Sometimes writing about a topic is tricky for our kids because they simply don't know enough to write about it. So taking time to build some background knowledge and doing some research before writing can be a great way to give them more to write about.

13. Use assistive technology or other supports and accommodations

Some hyperlexic kids might have motor issues that make the physical act of writing difficult. So be sure to use other supports, accommodations, and technology to help them complete their assignment. 

Assisted writing strategies such as using voice-to-text to dictate their writing assignment might be a great option (my son did not like this). Or maybe they can type it up instead of writing it by hand with a pencil. 

To Recap...Here are 13 Ways to Support Hyperlexic Kids with Writing

I know that was a lot of information about helping hyperlexic kids build strong writing skills so here's a quick recap of everything I said above.

  • Use graphic organizers to plan out writing assignments
  • Use picture prompts
  • Provide sentence starters
  • Allow them to write about or include their interests or passions
  • Provide concrete and specific topics or prompts to write about
  • Create an idea bank for free choice writing assignments
  • Break the writing assignment down into smaller steps
  • Set clear guidelines and expectations for the writing assignment
  • Provide writing samples and/or templates
  • Provide checklists and rubrics for checking and evaluating their work
  • Teach them the writing structure they'll need to use
  • Build background knowledge on the topic beforehand
  • Use assistive technology or other supports and accommodations to make the writing process easier

Now that you know how to help kids with writing, it might be worth getting some of these strategies written into your child's IEP/IIP. 

A list of strategies and tips for helping hyperlexic kids with writing assignments

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

Free Hamburger Graphic Organizer for Writing

Free Stretch a Sentence Poster & Graphic Organizers

Free 5 Senses Graphic Organizers

Tips and strategies for how to help hyperlexic kids with writing assignments

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

How High Interest Books Boost Reading Comprehension

How using high interest books can boost reading comprehension in hyperlexic kids.

I know you're wondering how to improve your hyperlexic child's reading comprehension skills. I mean, why else would you be here, right?

Comprehension is definitely an area that our hyperlexic kids need some extra support with, especially as they get into the higher grades and the texts become harder. Grade four seems to be the key turning point. See these important hyperlexia milestones for more information.

So what can you do to build good reading comprehension skills with hyperlexic kids? Is there an easy way to do it?

Well, you can start by using high interest books to boost reading comprehension. Below you'll learn how something as simple as selecting a high interest reading material can drastically impact a child's comprehension skills.

Hyperlexia and reading comprehension: how using high interest books can boost reading comprehension skills

High Interest Books: What Does that Mean?

A high interest book means selecting a reading material that is of high interest to the child, just like the name implies. It includes books that are on topics that are related to your child's interests. It also includes certain book types or formats. For instance, if your kid prefers graphic novels over chapter books. Basically, a high interest book is something that is interesting and appealing to your child.

And just to clarify, we're not discussing reading level difficulty or anything here. 

Instead we're focusing purely on selecting books that will be the most appealing to your child during a reading session.

So How Do High Interest Books Affect Reading Comprehension Skills?

There are two ways in which high interest books affect your hyperlexic child's reading comprehension skills and it has to do with:

  • Reading motivation
  • Better background knowledge and schema
We'll dive deeper into these two points below and how they help build good reading comprehension skills.

1. High Interest Books Lead to an Increase in Reading Motivation and Better Buy-in

In the book Drawing a Blank, Emily Iland writes, "the reader must also be motivated to read and interested in the material." That means that your child is more likely to be interested in reading a book when it's about a topic that they're actually interested in and motivated to read. You're probably the same way, right? I mean it just makes sense that our motivation to read enhances text comprehension.

As Lester (2003) points out in her thesis on comprehension in hyperlexia, "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." 

So we know that high interest means better comprehension, which is exactly what Lester found. She notes that, "students with hyperlexia had better comprehension on more difficult reading passages with high interest compared to their low interest passages...[suggesting] that when motivation to comprehend is very high, these students can focus enough to understand what they are reading." (source)

Ostrolenk et al. (2017) highlighted similar in their review of the hyperlexia literature, pointing out that "reading comprehension is improved in autistic children when their interests are embedded in text."

At this point, it's pretty clear that using books based on your child's interests creates better buy-in (aka they're more likely to want to read it). And better buy-in leads to better comprehension.

So if you want to work on improving your hyperlexic child's comprehension, then always start by picking a book that is of high interest and motivating for them to read. 

If they're simply not interested in reading it, then how can you expect them to want to practice comprehension strategies or answer questions about the text? So picking a book on a topic that they're interested in is just one of those effective comprehension strategies.

2. High Interest Books Mean Better Background Knowledge, Which Means Better Comprehension

Another reason why you want to use books that are related to your child's interest has to do with schema and background knowledge. Something that's really important when it comes to comprehension. 

The book Drawing a Blank points out that "background knowledge is another important part of understanding what is read." 

Even if your general reading comprehension is good, it is much harder to understand a text when you don't have some kind of prior knowledge about what it's about. Again, you're probably the same way, right?

Interestingly enough, it's even been suggested that, "the poor comprehension of children with hyperlexia may be due in part to a lack of schema for topics read or difficulties activating relevant schema." (Lester, 2003), which I think is a fascinating theory.

Regardless, increasing schema and background knowledge leads to better comprehension for all readers, not just hyperlexic ones.

In fact, "many studies have shown that prior knowledge or schemata influence a reader's comprehension." (Lester, 2003)

Now, your hyperlexic child likely already has good background knowledge on quite a few subjects already, whether that's related to planets and their moons, the periodic table, countries of the world, previous US presidents, or the entire history of the video game industry. Their comprehension for books on these subjects will be much higher because they have the schema to reference and draw from while they read.

As a side note...I think this could be the reason why there are so many parents of hyperlexic children who are adamant that their child's reading comprehension is just fine. They've only checked comprehension on these high interest books and not the low interest ones. So I'd be curious to see what happens when they swap that book for something that is of low interest and/or that the child has minimal background knowledge on. But anyway that's not the focus here...

To recap, high interest books often mean better background knowledge and schema, which, in turn, means better comprehension.

So naturally you'll see better comprehension from our hyperlexic readers when they have background knowledge on the subject.

Hopefully you can now see why schema and background knowledge are necessary for good reading comprehension skills. You can learn more about how to build schema here.

Hyperlexia and reading comprehension: how using high interest books can boost reading comprehension skills

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Types of Neurodivergence

A list of some types of neurodivergence and a closer look at what conditions, disabilities, and/or differences are considered neurodivergent.

Some of the neurodiversity terms like neurodiverse and neurodivergent can be quite confusing. 

And it can also be hard to know what's all included under the neurodiversity umbrella. Most people already know that it includes autism, ADHD, and dyspraxia, for instance, but it can also include so many other conditions and brain differences.

That's why I put together this list of types of neurodivergence so you can have a better sense of what's all included. Hint: basically anything that isn't a neurotypical brain is considered a form of neurodivergence.

What's considered neurodivergent? Here's a list of some types of neurodivergence.

So...What Does Neurodivergence Mean?

Neurodivergence can be defined as "the state of being neurodivergent." (source) Basically, any brain that diverges from the norm falls under the umbrella of neurodivergence. So everything except the neurotypical brain is included here.

Please read here for more information from the individual who coined the term neurodivergent to learn more.

Types of Neurodivergence

Please note that this list is by no means complete. 

I know there are likely lots missing from this list, but the idea here is to give you a sense of what can be included. Remember any brain that diverges from the norm can be considered a type of neurodivergence.

So just because something's not on this list below, doesn't mean it isn't a type of neurodivergence. It just means that I might not know about it and are unfamiliar with it (after all, I didn't know about hyperlexia until 2014). 

Here are some types of neurodivergence:

  • Autism
  • Hyperlexia
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Synesthesia
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Tic disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure disorders
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Developmental language disorders
  • Developmental coordination disorders
  • Specific learning difficulties, differences, and disabilities
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Down Syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Bipolar
  • Personality disorders
  • Giftedness
  • Sensory integration/processing disorder
  • Depression
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Irlen Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Apraxia
  • Mental illnesses
  • Parkinson's
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Disorders of the corpus callosum (agenesis or dysgenesis)

Other Neurodiversity Resources You'll Love

Neurodiversity Definitions & Terms You Should Know

Activities for Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Neurodiversity & Autism Book Lists

What's considered neurodivergent? Here's a list of some types of neurodivergence.

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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Neurodiversity Definitions & Terms You Should Know

What is neurodiversity? What is neurodivergent? What is neurodiverse? How do you define neurotypical? Below you will find definitions and meanings for each of these neurodiversity terms.

You've probably seen the words neurodiversity, neurodivergent, neurodiverse, and neurotypical before. 

Maybe you've wondered what these terms mean or how to know which terms to use and when. Like are you supposed to say neurodivergent or neurodiverse? 

It can be very confusing for sure, especially when they all contain the same root word of neuro.

So I'm going to provide definitions for the words neurodiversity, neurodivergent, neurodiverse, and neurotypical in hopes that you can better understand their meanings and use them correctly. I've tried to keep the definitions as simple as possible without jargon or fancy words.

Definition of neurodiversity, neurodivergent, neurodiverse, and neurotypical

Neurodiversity Definition

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of human brains and the wide variety of individual differences in brain functioning. 

Judy Singer coined the term neurodiversity in the late 1990s. 

Please note that the term neurodiversity is different than the terms neurodiversity paradigm (a perspective or philosophy) and Neurodiversity Movement (a social justice movement).

Neurodivergent Definition

The term neurodivergent is used to refer to an individual person whose brain functions in ways that are different than what's considered "normal" and includes people with developmental, individual, psychiatric, or learning disabilities.

Since neurodivergent is the opposite of neurotypical, the term can be used to describe anyone who has a brain that develops atypically, whether they are autistic, hyperlexic, dyslexic, or have some other type of neurodivergence such as ADHD, Tourette's, or intellectual disabilities. Here's a list of types of neurodivergence.

So basically it refers to someone with a differently wired brain.

The term was coined by Neurodivergent K of Radical Neurodivergence Speaking. Here's a short PSA from the individual who coined the term.

Neurodiverse Definition

The term neurodiverse is used to describe a group of people - not an individual person - where at least one or more people in the group have different styles of brain functioning or brain types.

Neurodiverse is often used incorrectly (I know I've been guilty of that!) to refer to an individual person (e.g., a neurodiverse child). However, the correct term to describe an individual is actually the term neurodivergent. 

The easiest way to keep these two terms straight, in my opinion, is to remember that neurodiverse is plural, while neurodivergent is singular. Remember, individuals are not groups so they cannot be neurodiverse. They can only be neurodivergent.

Neurotypical Definition

Neurotypical refers to an individual whose brain develops typically and functions in ways that are deemed "normal." The term can be used as a both an adjective or as a noun.

A lot of people assume neurotypical just means non-autistic, but that's incorrect. Instead, neurotypical is the opposite of neurodivergent. 

So to Recap...

  • Use the term neurodiversity when describing the natural diversity of human brains
  • Use the term neurodiversity paradigm when referring to the philosophy of neurodiversity
  • Use the term Neurodiversity Movement when referring to the social justice and civil rights movement
  • Use the terms neurotypical or neurodivergent when describing an individual person
  • Use the term neurodiverse when referring to a group of people
A list of common neurodiversity terms and their definitions

Other Neurodiversity Resources You'll Love

Free Neurodiversity Ebooks

Free Neurodiversity Infinity Symbol Coloring Pages

Types of Neurodivergence

What is neurodiversity? What does neurodivergent mean? How about neurodiverse and neurotypical? Here's a list of common neurodiversity terms and their definitions

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

10 Activities for Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Looking for activities for Neurodiversity Celebration Week? Try these ideas, printables, and resources.

Most people already know about Autism Acceptance Month and day. 

And maybe you've heard of Autistic Pride Day

But you may or may not have heard of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. I personally didn't know what it was until very recently.

So what is Neurodiversity Celebration Week? And how can you participate?

Below you'll learn more about this weeklong celebration and find 10 Neurodiversity Celebration Week activity ideas.

Activities, printables, and resources for participating in Neurodiversity Celebration Week

What is Neurodiversity Celebration Week?

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is exactly what it sounds like. It's a week long event and international campaign to celebrate what neurodiversity is all about and how we can "recognise, nurture and celebrate the many strengths and talents of being neurodiverse." (source

It's about creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our neurodiverse children and students while challenging stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions about autism, learning differences, and neurodiversity.

Some other quick facts about Neurodiversity Celebration Week:

  • It takes place in March. This year's dates are March 15-21, 2021.
  • It was founded by UN Young Leader Siena Castellon in 2018 when she was only 16 years old.

You can learn more about Neurodiversity Celebration Week here.

10 Neurodiversity Celebration Week Activities

Now that you know a bit more about what this week is all about, here are some fun activity ideas, printables, and resources to help you celebrate.

1. Decorate and color these free printable neurodiversity infinity symbol coloring pages and hang them up around your classroom or in your house.

2. Read some picture books about autism, ADHD, dyslexia, learning differences, or other forms of neurodiversity.

3. Start learning more about neurodiversity yourself with these free neurodiversity ebooks. There's also a free picture book for kids on this list. Or start reading a book from one of my other themed book lists.

4. Use these free Neurodiversity Celebration Week powerpoint presentations to teach your kids about neurodiversity or hold a school assembly.

5. Check out the school resources section on the Neurodiversity Celebration Week official website. They have tons of free resources such as fact sheets, posters, Powerpoint Presentations, a comic book, and more. They also have some Spanish resources.

6. Watch the Amazing Things Happen video with your kids.

7. Create neurodiversity word art clouds using words that relate to neurodiversity. Make it brain or infinity symbol shaped.

8. Play some neurodiversity themed Kahoot! games from Tiimo App. My kids play Kahoot! games all the time as part of their online learning this year and they love them. Here you will find a bunch of neurodiversity, autism, and ADHD myth busting themed ones.

9. Draw and design your own neurodiversity poster that celebrates what it means to be neurodivergent.

10. Grab a copy of the free neurodivergent narwhals coloring page from Neurodiversity Library to color.

Other Neurodiversity Related Resources You'll Love

Autism Resources for Parents

Hyperlexia & Hypernumeracy Resources

ADHD Resources for Parents

Activities, printables, and resources for participating in Neurodiversity Celebration Week

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a School for Your Hyperlexic Child

Wondering how to choose a school for your hyperlexic child? Here are some things to consider when picking the right school for your child.

Picking the right school for a hyperlexic child may seem like a daunting task. 

You're not sure if they're emotionally or socially ready even though academically you know they are. 

So naturally, you have concerns about potential boredom. You wonder how on earth you will keep them challenged. I mean it's not every day you send a kid off to school who's known their letters and how to read for a handful of years already...

You might also wonder if the school is familiar with hyperlexia or not and whether they can even adequately support your child's needs.

Then you have questions about the actual educational environment or setting itself. Is there a school geared towards hyperlexic kids? Would Montessori be a good fit? What about a dual language or immersion program? Maybe I should do another year of preschool. Or should I just homeschool them? 

It's difficult to determine what the "right" fit will be when your child doesn't quite follow the traditional developmental path of childhood. 

So how do you go about picking the right school or educational setting for a hyperlexic child? That's what we'll be exploring below (in case that wasn't obvious by now).

How to pick the right school for your child with hyperlexia

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Picking the Right School for Your Hyperlexic Child

Now, I'm not going to tell you exactly what school will be the best fit because you and I both know that every child and family is unique. What works for my kid isn't necessarily going to work for yours.

Instead, I'm going to share 3 important things to keep in mind that will help guide you as you make your decision.

1. Hyperlexic children can thrive in all sorts of different school settings "as long as their reading abilities are recognized and used to help them learn." (Hyperlexia: Therapy that Works)

I cannot emphasize this point enough. 

If the school, teachers, and/or other relevant support staff are disregarding your child's reading skills, then it's not going to be the right fit for your child. 

Your child is likely going to feel frustrated or bored if their strengths aren't acknowledged and recognized. And it will be your job, as the parent, to make sure your child's abilities and needs are well understood (see the next point).

2. You, as a parent, play an active role in your hyperlexic child's success at school, regardless of the setting you choose.

I can almost guarantee your child's school hasn't heard of hyperlexia before so it will be on you to educate them about it. 

You need to be actively involved in helping the teachers and staff understand the hyperlexic learning profile and your child's unique needs. That might mean passing along one of these useful hyperlexia PDFs to them or it might mean fighting with the school board to make sure your child can get an IEP or a classroom aide (been there, done that).

3. Evaluate year-by-year to make sure it's still the right fit based on your hyperlexic child's current needs.

Every year is different and presents a new set of challenges. So what worked in kindergarten might not work in grade two or four or eight. 

It's totally okay to scrap your plan and switch to a different school or program if it means that your child's needs are better met.

So To Recap...

The type of educational setting doesn't really matter here. Instead, it's the supports and accommodations that are put in place, the recognition of your child's strengths and abilities, and an active and open collaboration between you and the school that ultimately makes the difference for your child's success.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What's the Difference Between Hyperlexia & Autism?

A look at what the key difference between hyperlexia and autism is.

When you read through the list of hyperlexia traits and then through the list of autism traits, you'll find a lot of similarities. 

There are definitely a lot of overlapping characteristics between the two. 

So much so that I often get asked, "Is hyperlexia a form of autism?

It's important to note while hyperlexia and autism do usually go hand-in-hand, they are indeed different enough to warrant their own labels or diagnoses.

So let's discuss what the main difference between hyperlexia and autism is.

Hyperlexia and autism: what's the difference?

Hyperlexia vs. Autism: What's the Difference?

If you compare the lists of autism and hyperlexia traits, there is one trait that you won't see listed as a sign of autism. 

And that trait has to do with reading.

See, the key difference between hyperlexia and autism is the precocious self-taught ability to read. This ability is the hallmark of hyperlexia and is not a specific autism trait. 

So if you don't see this precocious reading ability, then they're not hyperlexic.

It's also important to note that this ability to read is not taught. They simply start reading on their own one day. 

So if you taught your child to read in any way, then they're likely not hyperlexic. 

Now having said all that...

There are many who consider hyperlexia to be a savant or splinter skill of autism versus its own standalone "thing," for lack of a better word. But please note that there is a lot of disagreement among experts and in the research (see the hyperlexia FAQs for more discussion on this topic). 

So some might argue that the difference between the two is that hyperlexia is an offshoot of autism versus something separate. 

But either way, they'll still highlight and point out that the precocious reading ability is what differentiates a hyperlexic autistic from an autistic without hyperlexia.

Other Hyperlexia Resources You'll Love

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

5 Free Hyperlexia PDF Resources

Hyperlexia & Air Writing: What You Need to Know

What's the difference between hyperlexia and autism?

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