Hyperlexia is a syndrome characterized by a child’s precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read, typically before the age of 5. It indicated that children have a significantly higher word – decoding ability than their reading comprehension levels. Children with hyperlexia also present with an intense fascination for written materials at a very early age.
Hyperlexic children are characterized by having average or above – average IQs and word reading ability well above what would be expected given their age. Some hyperlexics, however, have trouble understanding speech. Most of the children with hyperlexia lie on the autism spectrum.
Hyperlexic children are often fascinated by letters or numbers. They are extremely good at decoding language and thus often become very early readers. Some hyperlexic children learn to spell long words before they are two years old and learn to read whole sentences before they turn three.
Hyperlexic children usually learn to read in a non-communicative way. They follow a different developmental trajectory relative to neurotypical individuals with milestones being acquired in a different order. despite hyperlexic children precocious reading ability, they may struggle to communicate often, hyperlexic children will have a precocious ability to read but will learn to speak only by rote and heavy repetition, and May also have difficulty learning the rules of language from example or from trial and error, which may result in social problems. Their language may develop using echolalia, often; the child has a large vocabulary and can identify many objects and pictures, but cannot put their language skills to good use. Spontaneous language is lacking and their pragmatic speech is delayed. Hyperlexic children often struggle with questions like whom? What? Where? Why? And how? Hyperlexic children often have far less interest in playing with other children than do their peers.