Any other type 3 hyperlexics out there?

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Esperanza
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24 Jul 2012, 10:08 am

I'm an adult type 3 hyperlexic. I only recently discovered this and it has been a huge relief to know what's "wrong" (or just different) with me, but so far it has been a very lonely realization. Since most of my autistic traits have faded or been buried as time has passed, the few people I've mentioned it to have just shrugged and said something along the lines of, "Yeah, that sounds about right. But you seem pretty normal these days. What's for lunch?" But for me this realization has changed my whole world and brought up a thousand new questions and answers about my identity, my future and my past, and the implications of my talents and challenges.

Am I all alone, or are there others out there? I'd love to have someone to talk to about this- other adult type 3 hyperlexics, or parents of children with type 3 hyperlexia.

Anyone?



Nonperson
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24 Jul 2012, 10:37 am

I never heard of this before, but I taught myself to read at age four. I'm pretty sure I am on the spectrum, though, and I have always scored pretty high in reading comprehension (and have a master's in literature, which would probably be impossible without good comprehension).
So, I don't know. It is slightly annoying to see a talent labeled in a way that makes it look like a disorder, though.



Esperanza
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24 Jul 2012, 10:44 am

Unfortunately my version of hyperlexia is a lot more- or less- than a talent. I taught myself to read at 18 months but had a severe speech delay, extreme social problems, fine motor skills delay, and was generally HFA for most of my childhood. Hyperlexia can sound great when you read a description of it but it's not exactly rainbows and sunshine when you're living it.



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24 Jul 2012, 12:27 pm

I don't know about the Type 3 aspect, but hyperlexia is my only "official" thing so far. Back when I first started school, they couldn't decide if I was gifted or delayed. I wouldn't talk to the counselor, thought I was monosyllabic. Caught me reading my... as I recall, a Star Wars book.

No speech delay, technically, but I've always been a bit of a natural mimic. Comprehension lagged behind a bit, and to this day I still have some issues getting spoken language into my brain. There was a bit in a thread elsewhere about the language processing kicking in a bit late, resulting in -- Well, being all manner of annoying.

"Did you get a chance to do the blah for the blah blah?"
"I'm sorry?"
"I said-..."
"Oh, yeah, I got that blah on the blah blah."
"If you HEARD me, why..."

And so on.

Gets really bad if I'm trying to make any sort of eye contact. If I'm looking at you, I can't be all MULTITASKING and listening to you, too. People are demanding. *hah*



Esperanza
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24 Jul 2012, 12:34 pm

Hi!

I'm not sure I agree with the type 1/2/3 aspect of Treffert's work on hyperlexia (as described on the Wikipedia page) but it's the simplest way I have of describing my experience as a hyperlexic person. I do suspect that hyperlexia- in my case, at least- belongs on the autistic spectrum.

Your conversation made me laugh. :) I had so many conversations like that as a kid that my parents thought I was deaf! Everyone was so confused when, after testing, I turned out to have great hearing. My aural comprehension issues haven't gone away, actually. Practice has helped but I still make people repeat themselves a lot.

So were you diagnosed with hyperlexia as a kid, then? Do you think you have other issues as well?



EstherJ
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24 Jul 2012, 1:03 pm

I definitely am not a "type 3" because I am on the autism spectrum, but my psychologist who diagnosed me and took developmental history mentioned in passing that I might have been "mildly hyperlexic" as a kid.

I do know knew my alphabet at 18 months and was reading at 3 years (I still remember my books!), and I had noticeable problems with echolalia until I was 13. I still repeat people and often myself. However, that's as far as hyperlexia goes for me. I didn't have any comprehension issues with reading material.

What I can't understand is why hyperlexia isn't simply regarded as a part of autism....why separate it?



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24 Jul 2012, 1:12 pm

Esperanza wrote:
Hi!

I'm not sure I agree with the type 1/2/3 aspect of Treffert's work on hyperlexia (as described on the Wikipedia page) but it's the simplest way I have of describing my experience as a hyperlexic person. I do suspect that hyperlexia- in my case, at least- belongs on the autistic spectrum.

Your conversation made me laugh. :) I had so many conversations like that as a kid that my parents thought I was deaf! Everyone was so confused when, after testing, I turned out to have great hearing. My aural comprehension issues haven't gone away, actually. Practice has helped but I still make people repeat themselves a lot.

So were you diagnosed with hyperlexia as a kid, then? Do you think you have other issues as well?


Oh, undoubtedly. I was assessed before the ADHD boom and before Asperger/HFA was even considered a thing. For quick shorthand, I recently worked through the AAA from (as I recall) Baron-Cohen's work. 44/50 on the AQ and 13/80 on the EQ. There's been little I've read about regarding AS that I don't relate to -- Particularly looking back over the majority of my life. My life got markedly more complicated over the past handful of years, straining my compensations a bit... An Official Diagnosis is likely to be time consuming, expensive, difficult, and potentially useless in the end.

I finally got married and closer to 'appropriately' employed all after 35 years of age. So, people look at me now and superfically think 'Well-adjusted adult'. They don't see the previous thirty years of isolated underacheiving, heh.

I understood that hyperlexia wasn't technically a diagnosis? More like a symptom/classification?



Esperanza
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24 Jul 2012, 2:00 pm

Well hyperlexia isn't in the DSM so I guess that no, you can't be diagnosed with it. But you said it was your only "official" thing so far so I was wondering what you meant by that. I don't mean that as a challenge, of course; I was just asking questions about you out of sheer curiosity because I don't know anyone else who's hyperlexic.

Do you think hyperlexia, or some forms of it, should be a diagnosis? Do you think it's a form of autism? I personally relate to Asperger's and I think I'm a lot like most aspies, but the "asperger's syndrome" description just doesn't fit so perfectly for me even though it's clear I'm not NT.



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24 Jul 2012, 2:18 pm

I don't know what type I am but I suspect it's possible that I have hyperlexia. I taught myself to read by the age of 3yrs. So, I was seen as super-bright and sent to school a year early. Although I can read very well, I also have difficulties, which I've not been able to quantify or explain.

The biggest challenge for me at school came in the form of a box of cards called SRA. On each card was a story and questions about the story and the grammar, etc. We were given 30 mins (I think) to complete each card, then we could move on to the next one. Those who did well managed to climb up the levels fairly quickly. Although I was one of 4 kids in the class who found everything else easy, I struggled with this even more than the kids who were struggling in general. I never finished any cards within the allotted time and had to complete all cards in the level, before moving up to the next one. My teachers were stumped by this, but never sought answers and never even discussed it with my parents. My school reports don't even mention it, even though I still have nightmares about the whole thing. I'm sure they thought I just wasn't trying - why would I do that when it was obvious that I tried my best with everything else?

I don't read novels at all. I love to read articles and newspapers. But, a novel has to grip me within the first couple of sentences, otherwise I read a page (well my eyes look at the words in the right order and I can read very well), but my brain doesn't take in a thing.

Unfortunately, my daughter, who appears to be a much more average reader, is also struggling with similar tasks in class. As she doesn't have the super ability, I'm wondering if my problems have anything to do with the early reading. It might just be down to concentration problems. I hope to get some answers, so she doesn't have to go through the same trauma that I had every single Friday afternoon, throughout primary school.


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24 Jul 2012, 2:22 pm

I am definitely not a type 3 hyperlexic. I am on the autism spectrum, HFA to be exact. I knew the alphabet at 18 months old and learned how to read at 3 years. But as I got older for some reason, my reading skills deteriorated. As an adult I am actually closer to dyslexia. I have comprehension problems. Throughout school I had trouble understanding what I read. For the reading assessments in school especially in 7th and 8th grade, I scored a near perfect grade. I wouldn't be able to do that today. I have seen the tests that were given to me online and I wouldn't know how to pronounce all the words. My reading level today is approximately 8th-11th grade even though I had 2 years of college. Technically that means my reading level should be around 14th grade. I am no way near you guys/ girls because I didn't know university level words at 1st grade. If i did that means I would know how to read medical/ technical books at that grade. I do read medical and psychology books now. My comprehension is better than what it was in the past. I used to be many grade levels below in comprehension. Right now, maybe I am around 7th-8th grade level. If it was novel reading capability I would say closer to 2nd grade. Seriously. I can't read novels or any fiction to save my life. I can't picture the characters, the plot, visualizing the scenery... or ANYTHING!! ! At least in medical textbooks or same with psychology, it is straight to the point. So, that is it about that.



Last edited by FireBird on 24 Jul 2012, 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Esperanza
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24 Jul 2012, 2:58 pm

EstherJ wrote:
I definitely am not a "type 3" because I am on the autism spectrum, but my psychologist who diagnosed me and took developmental history mentioned in passing that I might have been "mildly hyperlexic" as a kid.

I do know knew my alphabet at 18 months and was reading at 3 years (I still remember my books!), and I had noticeable problems with echolalia until I was 13. I still repeat people and often myself. However, that's as far as hyperlexia goes for me. I didn't have any comprehension issues with reading material.

What I can't understand is why hyperlexia isn't simply regarded as a part of autism....why separate it?


I agree.

After digging through the literature quite a bit, I've gotten the impression that hyperlexia is very poorly understood. Some researchers relate it to autism and some don't.

It's generally agreed that poor reading comprehension is a feature of hyperlexia, but I don't think that's right either. I suspect that with hyperlexic kids, reading comprehension may not match reading ability, but it probably is just right for the child's age group or intellectual capacity (however you choose to define that). I am of normal (slightly above average; IQ tests put me at about 130) intelligence. Although I was better than my peers at everything involving text as a child, my reading comprehension, like my general intelligence, was just slightly better than average. It sounds like your experience was pretty similar in that respect, so maybe reading comprehension has nothing to do with hyperlexia at all.

Obviously my own experience biases me quite a bit; I know what I was like as a kid and I know there's no better way to describe it than "autistic with hyperlexia". However, my whole life I've been gradually becoming- or behaving- more NT in most (not all) ways. The way I relate to letters, words and languages isn't changing though.

So (now I'm just musing, here, but what I'm saying feels right) maybe hyperlexia is one of the ways autism sometimes expresses itself, both among people who don't have any other learning disabilities and people who do. I'm not saying I think all hyperlexics are autistic. I'm not addressing that at all. What I'm asking is, are the "type 3" hyperlexics among us just people with autism who've used text as a portal to the NT world? If we "type 3 hyperlexics" couldn't read, would our autistic tendencies have "faded" so much?



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24 Jul 2012, 3:39 pm

To clarify, by "official", I mean the only thing that's been specifically mentioned by someone assessing me as a child. That, and "socially delayed."

Then, I just graduated to "weird".

I came up in a little podunk school district just outside of nowhere. No doubt that had some impact on the availability of special education services.



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24 Jul 2012, 3:57 pm

I hadn't heard of the term hyperlexia before, so I looked it up. I think I may have it, to some extent. During the interview with my parents by my psychologist for my AS diagnosis, my parents remarked that I learned to read before going to school (so I guess at age 3 or so, specific age wasn't mentioned in the interview) by simply looking at the text while my parents were reading to me. I was apparently reading to my little brother before I "learned to read" in elementary school. Additionally, on the standardized tests of reading ability, (read out loud a list of words with increasing difficulty in a limited amount of time) at school, starting at age 6, I consistently scored "off the charts" (which ended at the average level for a 12yr old).

According to the Wikipedia page, I would be a type 2, as I have been diagnosed with an ASS (recently).



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24 Jul 2012, 4:04 pm

I'm not sure what it is, but since reading early seems relevant I was reading and comprehending at the age of 5. I think I learned to write at the normal age for it and I didn't memorize the whole alphabet well enough to sing it or whatever till later then most other kids, but that was because it was hard to remember the right order.....I knew what all the letters were though.

so I suppose I can relate to being ahead with reading.



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24 Jul 2012, 4:22 pm

Type 2 hyperlexic, here.


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24 Jul 2012, 4:37 pm

I'd be a type 2 hyperlexic, due to being on the autism spectrum. I started reading really young, about 3 or so. My dad had read encyclopedias to me at bedtime - they were all kept in my room - and I taught myself how to read and started reading them on my own because I thought everything in them was really interesting.

I had language delays but around 4 or 5 my speaking started improving decently.

In school I had much better ability to read than my peers. I was reading Lord of the Rings in elementary school.

I also read very fast, and I can read two lines at once, although I prefer to do that with certain types of writing, like news articles or textbooks and such. I don't have words going through my head when I read, either, but images.