Hyperlexia and language

Table of Contents


Hyperlexia can occur with language difficulties.
It can also help with language.

Are you concerned about a child's language?

  • Some children with hyperlexia have trouble understanding speech.
  • Some have difficulty speaking.
  • If you are worried about your child’s development, speak to your GP or health visitor.
  • You can also contact a speech and language therapist.
  • Hyperlexia can also help with language development.

Does hyperlexia always mean a language difficulty?

Hyperlexia is sometimes linked to language difficulties (Zhang and Joshi 2019). Yet, there is still a lack of knowledge in this area. If you have any concerns it is important to seek professional advice.

Hyperlexia can help with language

Ostralenk et al. (2017) found that hyperlexia helped to scaffold language development:

  • Children may understand written information better.
  • Use visuals and written information. 
  • Some children may find reading easier than listening.
  • For example, they may like subtitles on the TV.
  • Use written words or pictures with speaking.

Hyperlexia and school

A hyperlexic child may need support with comprehension. This may include extra help at school.

  • Some hyperlexic children may need extra processing time to understand spoken language.
  • Some hyperlexic children may struggle with answering questions.
  • Hyperlexic children learn the meaning secondary to reading.
  • This is the opposite of how most children learn to read. It can be helpful for a teacher to understand this difference in a hyperlexic child.
  • Tailored support at school is important for hyperlexic children.