One of the special and proud moments for a parent is when their child starts to learn, speak and read. Every parent dreams of a brilliant child but that is not something under our control. Some children learn fast while some take time. If your child is showing extraordinary reading and learning skills beyond the expectations of a child in that age group, it could be an alarming situation. Many parents don’t know about the hyperlexia condition in which a child shows obsessive interest in numbers and alphabets right from infanthood. If you find your child becoming obsessed with learning, you must seek professional help. Meanwhile, we have mentioned every detail regarding hyperlexia verified by Dr. Srinivas Midivelly, Consultant Paediatrician at Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad in this article. You must read it till the end.
What Are The Causes of Hyperlexia?
The exact cause of hyperlexia is not known but here are some facts that may help you understand the risk better.
- There are different subtypes of hyperlexia that overlap with autism spectrum disorder.
- Children diagnosed with autism are found to be at risk of hyperlexia. However, not all children with hyperlexia may have autism.
- One out of 54 hyperlexic children get diagnosed with autism.
Types of Hyperlexia
There are three types of hyperlexia:
Hyperlexia I: This is the condition when a normal child without any disability starts reading and learning in early years beyond expectation. However, this is a temporary condition.
Hyperlexia II: This type of hyperlexia is found in autistic children. Some autistic children find it challenging to read and write while some show exceptional learning abilities. They are obsessed with alphabets and numbers. Besides, their memory power is also very strong. Although such children are sensitive and don’t like interaction.
Hyperlexia III: In this type, children with autistic disorder are diagnosed with hyperlexia, however, the symptoms subside over time. These children have exceptional reading comprehension, however, they are verbally weak. But unlike the Hyperlexia II type, these children are affectionate and outgoing. They can easily vibe with people around them that they feel connected to.
Treatment of Hyperlexia
There are different treatment options for hyperlexia according to the type of hyperlexia.
- While Hyperlexia I is temporary, it doesn’t need to be treated. You can help the child maintain pace and control reading comprehension which eventually would make him/her better.
- If a child has started to read early and speak late, it needs to be diagnosed with ASD diagnosis technique. However, this and any other treatment should be done cautiously on them.
- Children who are showing delays in learning development should be provided with timely diagnosis and medical intervention.
- If the child is showing hyperlexia as a symptom and chances are that he may have autism spectrum disorder, treatment is done differently. History of the child and other symptoms need to be monitored.
- Children diagnosed with hyperlexia II and III are given three treatments- occupational therapy, language and speech therapy and play-based applied behavioural analysis(ABA).
NOTE: It is very important to get aid from an experienced therapist who is well-versed with the nature and behavior of hyperlexic and autistic children. Then only, any therapy or treatment would be successful.
Hyperlexia is not a chronic disease that would ruin the future of your child. Consider this as a special ability of your child and comfort him with your love and care. If needed, take therapies and treatment to better his condition especially if he is autistic.
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