Hyperlexia is a condition characterized by very strong reading skills.
While you might think this is a good thing, children with hyperlexia typically have below average comprehension and communication skills, which can cause issues.
Children with hyperlexia also tend to be autistic, which is why speech and language therapy for autism overlaps with speech therapy treatments for hyperlexia.
A Washington DC pediatric speech therapist can help strengthen your child’s speaking and comprehension abilities.
Now, let’s find out more.
What Is Hyperlexia?
Hyperlexia is a condition where your child can read at much higher grade level than expected for their current age.
They can also decode and sound out words very quickly.
However, they most likely don’t understand what they’re reading.
For this reason, children with hyperlexia will usually have speaking and communication skills well below their grade level.
The main characteristics of hyperlexia in children include:
- Below average speaking skills
- Below average communication skills
- Below average reading comprehension
- Difficulty learning to use toys or puzzles
- Difficulty learning the rules of games
- A love of books
- Learning to read quickly
Plus, the condition doesn’t typically occur on its own.
Instead, there are other behavioral and learning challenges that often accompany the condition.
The most common one that accompanies hyperlexia is autism.
The Relationship Between Hyperlexia And Autism
There is a very strong relationship between hyperlexia and autism.
A 2017 review by Ostrolenk Et Al found that 84% of children with hyperlexia are also autistic.
But that doesn’t mean hyperlexia is common in autistic children.
In fact, only around one in ten autistic children have hyperlexia.
Hyperlexia will typically manifest between the ages of two and four.
It’s also possible that children with this condition can start reading as young as 18 months.
The Relationship Between Hyperlexia And Dyslexia
The relationship between hyperlexia and dyslexia is one of opposites.
Where hyperlexia is characterized by extraordinary reading skills, dyslexia is characterized by having difficulty reading and spelling.
But, children with dyslexia understand what they’re reading and typically have strong communication and comprehension skills.
They are also fast and creative thinkers.
Dyslexia is generally much more common than hyperlexia.
Related: Speech Therapy Treatments For Dyslexia In Kids
How Can A Speech Therapist Help With Hyperlexia?
Speech therapy can greatly help to improve the language and social skills of children with hyperlexia.
A good speech therapist will use your child’s advanced reading abilities to help develop and improve on their weaknesses.
They will typically focus on their social skills and understanding, because this is usually what is weakest in children with hyperlexia.
Your speech therapist will first evaluate your child and determine what their particular strengths and weaknesses are.
Then, they will create a treatment plan that will be tailored to their needs.
Typically, this plan will include:
- Social skills
- Higher level language skills
- Writing and speaking
- Reading comprehension
The amount of time your speech therapist focuses on each area will be unique to your child.
Your speech therapist will also take into account that there is a high chance your child is on the autism spectrum.
For this reason, you should make sure your speech therapist has experience working with autistic children so that they can incorporate goals for both autism and hyperlexia into their tailored treatment plan.
Then, once a sound plan is established, there are a number of strategies they could use to work on these areas.
Some common speech therapy strategies for hyperlexia include:
- Visual schedules and timelines
- Association games teaching work relations
- Social stories
- Visual methods for understanding
- Cause and effect predictions
Plus, your speech therapist knows that treatment doesn’t take place only in their office.
They’ll provide take home strategies for parents and teachers to continue the learning for your child outside of particular appointments.
Full integration of their speech and language treatment program across a number of environments greatly raises the effectiveness of the program.
As with most speech and language disorders, early intervention with speech therapy is significantly more effective than later treatment.
As a result, it’s a good idea to seek speech therapy as soon as you begin to see the signs of hyperlexia.
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
Speech therapy is a great resource to use if your child has hyperlexia.
Plus, since there is a good chance that your child may also be autistic, your speech therapist can consider both and incorporate it into their treatment plan.
Hyperlexia affects comprehensions, and so it’s very important to start treatment early.
This is to help your child catch up to their grade level quickly.
The more time they spend struggling, the further they can fall behind.
District Speech has a team of highly specialized pediatric speech therapists ready to help.
Book an appointment to schedule an evaluation today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.