How common is Hyperlexia?

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Hyperlexia is when a child starts reading early and surprisingly beyond their expected ability, sometimes when they are 18 or 24 months, and occasionally it is not a stand-alone diagnosis. In this post, find out what hyperlexia is, what are the symptoms, what are the different types, how it is diagnosed and if you share some of the traits.


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What are the different types of hyperlexia?

There are three different types of hyperlexia:

  • Hyperlexia 1: Neurotypical children without learning disabilities who start reading precociously and far above their age level. They do not show autism features. This type of hyperlexia is considered temporary, as when other peers learn to read, they eventually catch up.
  • Hyperlexia 2: Neurodiverse children with hyperlexia as part of the autism spectrum disorder. It is considered a splinter skill. These children are obsessed with numbers, letters and books and have a strong memory for dates and important numbers, such as plate numbers, but show strong features of autistic individuals, such as avoiding physical/eye contact. 84% of children with hyperlexia have autism.
  • Hyperlexia 3: This form of hyperlexia is pretty similar to type 2, but it decreases over time and eventually disappears. As happens with autistic children with hyperlexia, they have an excellent memory, very good reading skills and low verbal language development. However, they do not feel uncomfortable with affection, and in this case, all symptoms fade off until they vanish.

How common is hyperlexia?


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Experts disagree about how common hyperlexia is, but it is believed that around 6% to 14% of autistic kids are considered hyperlexic. In addition, the causes of hyperlexia remain unknown, yet it might be related to a different neurological brain organisation from the neurotypical one.

How is hyperlexia diagnosed?

Depending on the type of hyperlexia, the diagnosis may vary. Hyperlexia 1 does not need to be diagnosed as it is not a disorder, but more a kind of child superpower.

On the other hand, a diagnosis is needed for hyperlexia 2 and 3, but there is no specific test. As happens with other neurodivergent conditions or traits, the diagnosis is based on the symptoms children show and develop.

A first step can be doing our online hyperlexia test, but remember this is not an official diagnosis but an indicator.

 

Webinar: Am I Hyperlexic?

Nat Hawley, our Head of Community, has hosted a webinar about hyperlexia. The webinar explains the signs of hyperlexia. It is not intended to diagnose hyperlexia – only a qualified medical professional can make a diagnosis.

Blog Author

Natalia Herrero López


Neurotypical