“Reading is dreaming with open eyes” – YoYo (Author)
What is Hyperlexia
Hyperlexia is a syndrome, which interferes with speech, language and social interaction. It may be accompanied by unusual or “different” behaviours.
These children may show the following behaviours:
- Exhibit an intense fascination with letters, numbers, patterns, and logos
- A very precocious ability to read, spell, write and/or compute usually before the age of five.
- Form close relationships with chosen family members and/or friends
- Demonstrate the intent to communicate.
- Learn to speak in a peculiar way; echo or memorize the same sentence structure; echo speech of others; reverse pronouns (Echolalia)
- Listen selectively; may be suspected of being deaf or seem “tuned out”.
- Have difficulty understanding and/or answering questions beginning with: who? why? what? when? where? and how?
- Rarely initiate social conversation.
- Awkward or unusual social skills
- Normal development until 18-24 months, then regress
- Think in concrete, literal terms; have difficulty with abstract concepts.
- Possess very strong auditory and /or visual memories.
- Have an intense need to develop or keep to routines in daily life; sometimes showing ritualistic and/or obsessive behaviours.
- Have difficulty understanding and/or accepting changes and transitions.
- Develop specific or unusual fears. (Neiva’s frequent nightmares are about breaking something or seeing something that is broken. She gets very ridiculously upset if she witnesses anything breaking)
Even specific things were relatable to Neiva.
An intense obsession with the solar system
From being very little she has always loved the night sky and in particular the moon. She would name all the planets and even tell me the four types of stars. (giants, supergiants, main sequence and dwarf in case you needed to know!) She has a moon phase wall night light in her bedroom, which you can set to the current moon phase and cute little star lights. We are currently trying to source a constellation night projector for her to complete her little set.
An intense knowledge of shapes
When most toddlers her age were just learning the basic four shapes – square, circle, triangle, rectangle – Neiva was already showing us the difference between a pentagon and an hexagon.
She could tell us the names of shapes up to 12 sides when she was still only three years old.
An innate/intuitive ability with technology i.e. mobiles, tablets, computers
From being very little Neiva has always had a fascination with phones/iPads. Nothing unusual in that, most children today do, but from being very little she has been able to navigate her way around a phone to find what she wants. We have a video of her on my phone, playing memory snap. She was 22 months. I wish I knew where the original video was. My husband has a clip of this on his instagram account here (I hope it works)
I am still learning all about hyperlexia. Its an exciting subject to learn. A huge help to me has been finding Dyan Robson and reading all about her journey with her seven year old son who has hyperlexia AND hyper numeracy. You can find her here. If you are a parent and some of this is resonating with you, if you are reading this and thinking, this could be my child, then Dyan’s website is the first place I would visit.
Recently Neiva participated in an awareness video with her fellow hyperlexia superstars. It’s so wonderful for us to watch these children together.
Before discovering hyperlexia we felt very isolated. Neiva really has found her place in the world and we couldn’t be happen for her to be associated with a truly remarkable and extraordinary group of children.