Parents come across variations in the way their child develops which can at times bother them or excite them that their child may be possessing some extraordinary ability. The confusion that whether my child is a quick learner or hyperlexic is one of such. Many times parents consider their hyperlexic child as a quick learner. Hence it is important to know how to differentiate between the two. Read this article as Dr. Himani Narula, Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrician Director & Co-founder of Continua kids explain the difference between these two.
What is Hyperlexia?
At first, we need to understand what is hyperlexia? Hyperlexia is precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read, typically before 5 years of age. Children with hyperlexia have an intense fascination with letters and numbers and they start reading way beyond that what is expected at their age but fail to understand or comprehend most of what they are reading. Many a times, hyperlexia can be associated with other behavioural problems and may have average communication skills.
Unlike a gifted child a hyperlexic child will have difficulty in understanding and comprehending what they are reading and may have below-average communication and language skills with respect to their age. They will have the ability to memorize words quickly. They like reading books more than playing with toys.
Are Hyperlexia and Autism Same?
Many a times hyperlexia is linked to autism, some clinical reviews have observed that approximately 3/4th of the children with hyperlexia have associated autism spectrum disorder however all children with autism do not have hyperlexia.
Hyperlexia usually is associated with behavioural problems and learning difficulties, it is still not clearly defined as a separate disorder and as per the diagnostic statistical manual (DSM-5) it is listed as a part of autism spectrum disorders. There is no specific test to diagnose it, the diagnosis typically happens based on the symptoms and observations over a period of time, however, early identification can help them with early intervention and modified ways to teach them to help them learn better. The child may need special assistance in teaching them communication skills, reading comprehension and speaking skills. Providing them with the right support and intervention can help them learn better.
Who are quick learners?
On the contrary, a quick learner is someone who can learn understand and grasp new information at a faster pace than his or her peer. They are quick to comprehend and apply the knowledge. Quick learners unlike hyperlexic may have good communication skills and listening skills. Quick learners may showcase good analytical skills, they shall process the information and use and apply it meaningfully.
How Hyperlexia and Quick Learners are Different?
There hyperlexia and quick learner are altogether different conditions however it is important to understand that each child can have their brain wired differently. Hence identifying their challenges and assets and providing them with the appropriate support at the right time can help them progress well in life. Every child may have their own unique learning styles and ways to communicate, however having a plan in place to help a child with challenges can help them thrive better.
Parents come across variations in the way their child develops which can at times bother them or excite them that their child may be possessing some extraordinary ability. The confusion that whether my child is a quick learner or hyperlexic is one of such. Many a times, parents consider their hyperlexic child as a quick learner. Hence it is important to know how to differentiate between the two.
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