Wednesday, July 27, 2022

3 Common Concerns Parents Have About their Hyperlexic Child Starting School

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Is your hyperlexic child starting school soon? Here are some common concerns many parents of hyperlexic kids have and what they can do about those worries.

So your hyperlexic child is about to start school...

And, well, you have some concerns.

Sure, most parents have concerns about their babies starting school for the first time. But, for parents of hyperlexic children, there are some additional concerns that most parents don't have to worry about.

There are three main concerns that come up time and time again regarding school and hyperlexia. Every summer, I get asked variations of these same three things over and over.

So let's take a look at those concerns parent have about their hyperlexic child starting school. And, most importantly, what you need to know or do about those particular concerns. Hopefully you'll feel a little less nervous (and perhaps a bit excited!) about your child starting school after reading this.

Concerns parents have about their hyperlexic child starting school, whether that's preschool or kindergarten

Concern #1: What Type of School Setting to Enroll a Hyperlexic Child in

The biggest concern parents have is about the educational setting and what type of school is the best fit for their hyperlexic learner. 

It can be a tough decision to make, especially if you live in an area that has multiple offerings to pick from. You might have lots of choices because you live in a large center. Or maybe you only have one or two options because you live in a small or rural area.

The most important thing to remember though is that 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)

Hyperlexic children can thrive in any educational setting quote

So yes, hyperlexic kids can thrive in public schools, a Montessori classroom, and/or a language immersion program. But they can also thrive in homeschooling or with unschooling or in really any other environment.

Seriously, it doesn't really matter what the environment or program is. What matters is that the school, teachers, and support staff recognize that your hyperlexic child learns in a different way and uses their strengths and abilities to help them learn. If the school can't do that, then you're likely going to have a tough year ahead of you.

Also, teacher student fit is a big thing too. The wrong fit can be disastrous (ask me how I know!). Unfortunately, we often don't get a lot of control or say when it comes to the teacher your child gets. But meeting with the teacher before the school year (if it's an option!), can go a long way to ensuring your child has a successful year.

If you need more tips on selecting a school for your hyperlexic child, you'll want to read these 3 tips.

Concern #2: Whether or Not the School Has Heard of Hyperlexia and/or Believes that Your Hyperlexic Child Can Read

Another concern is whether or not the school will be familiar with hyperlexia. Hint: they likely won't be. So that will be one of your jobs as a parent to advocate and educate them. But hey, if your school has heard of hyperlexia, then that's a huge win!

Sadly, one mistake that a lot of professionals make when it comes to hyperlexia, is that they don't believe us parents when we tell them that our kid can read. The don't take us seriously. It happened to us and has probably happened to you before, right? 

I tried to explain to J's kindergarten teacher what he could do before his first day of school, but I could feel the judgment and her inner eye rolls. J quickly showed her I wasn't making stuff up on his first day of school and she quickly changed her tune.

So how do you address this concern? 

Well, be prepared to educate the school about hyperlexia and about your child's unique learning style. That might mean putting together an about me document or sharing some hyperlexia resources with them. You can also always send them my way or give them a copy of the Hyperlexia Handbook.

Hyperlexia school advocacy

Concern #3: How to Keep the Hyperlexic Child From Getting Bored in School

The biggest concern that I hear/see is related to boredom. Our kids start preschool or kindergarten already reading, spelling, and often writing and kindergarten (or preschool) is all about learning letters, numbers, and learning to read. So how do you keep them challenged when they already know these things?

To be honest, most hyperlexic kids end up loving preschool and kindergarten because their primary interests of letters and numbers are the main focus. They're at the forefront of the curriculum. Besides, the classroom is usually decorated in letters and numbers too. So it ends up being hyperlexia heaven for them in a lot of ways.

However, if boredom seems to become an issue at all, especially in the higher grades, you can always talk with the teacher and support staff about providing more challenging work or further enrichment. 

For instance, my son's grade four and five teachers always kept a stack of more challenging math worksheets handy because they recognized that he would breeze through the grade level work in no time flat (and with all the answers correct, of course!). He loved doing those!

Another thing the school and teacher can do is find ways for your hyperlexic child to use their strengths and abilities within the classroom. For instance, at circle time, instead of the teacher reading a book, perhaps your child could do that job. I know my son did that a few times in kindergarten.

Finally, remember, you can always supplement at home too. You can explore different languages, teach them more complex math, or learn about countries and flags together. 

Hyperlexia school advocacy

A Quick Recap on Hyperlexia & School

Hopefully you can see that it's totally normal to have concerns about your hyperlexic child starting school. We all do! You just have to make sure you advocate for your child and work together with the school staff if you want your child to be successful in the classroom, regardless of the educational setting they are in.

Concerns parents have about their hyperlexic child starting school, whether that's preschool or kindergarten