Thursday, March 11, 2021

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

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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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