Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What's the Difference Between Hyperlexia & Autism?

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Catch my session on hyperlexia at Educate & Rejuvenate 2024

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?