Supporting hyperlexia

Table of Contents

Summary

Hyperlexic children may need more help with comprehension.
Encouraging a child's interest in letters and reading is beneficial.

Support interests

Encouraging a child’s interests can be beneficial. Reading seems to be a source of joy and fun for hyperlexic children. It’s a way of understanding the world. 

  • Support a child’s interests in letters and words.
  • Autistic adults report they benefit from their special interests (Koenig and Williams 2017).
  • A hyperlexic child learns to read in a different order from typical peers (Ostralenk et al. 2017). 
  • They also learn the meaning of words in a different way.
  • Support their unique development at home and school.

Similar interests

  • Alphabets and languages are systems. 
  • A child with hyperlexia might also enjoy exploring other similar systems.
  • This might include dates, timelines, and numbers.
  • Hyperlexia may grow into other interests which build on that skill.
  • This might include science, maths, music or other areas.

Do professionals recognise hyperlexia?

Professionals are often unaware of hyperlexia (Zhang and Joshi 2019). But hyperlexia is becoming more recognised.

Personal lived experience

These are quotes from parents and those with lived experience of hyperlexia.

“My son loved the alphabet and amazed us by saying it backwards. The alphabet was his first words. At first, he only played with alphabet blocks and didn’t like other toys. Later, he liked to read children’s books. He didn’t seem to understand the words, but he enjoyed saying the words.”

“On a walk, my 3-year-old read out the street signs and number plates of cars.”

“I gave him alphabet toys. We had fridge letters, alphabet spaghetti, alphabet cushions, alphabet cards. As a toddler, we spent a lot of time singing the alphabet song, tracing numbers in the sand and doing ABC jigsaws.”

“I remember being lost in books as a child. I don’t know if I was hyperlexic. But I learnt to read early and spoke later than most children.”