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    #247547 - 09/08/20 09:08 AM Challenging a hyperlexia label
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 77
    During a meeting with our school, the term "hyperlexia" was casually introduced but not addressed in any substantive way. We disagree with this application for a variety of reasons.

    Primarily because there isn't a comprehension issue. DS6 can decode pretty much anything at this point. However, his comprehension is limited by his vocabulary. And while his vocabulary is extensive, his reading exceeds it. When given sentences that cover subjects and vocab that he's familiar with (including material beyond grade), his comprehension is fine. When presented with vocabulary that is new to him, he'll guess about the meaning of the sentence, substitute words that he does know or say that he doesn't know.

    To my eye, that's a breadth of vocabulary issue, not a core deficiency in comprehension.

    Is there a proper way to explain this? Are there downsides to not addressing it?

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    #247549 - 09/08/20 11:28 AM Re: Challenging a hyperlexia label [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    I'm familiar with hearing about 3 types of hyperlexia. Based on that, I would suggest reading up on hyperlexia and then asking the school for more information on their mention of hyperlexia, what they mean by hyperlexia in this context (in reference to your child), the type of hyperlexia they believe they are seeing, and what causes them to believe they are seeing hyperlexia.

    You want the information flowing TO you, not FROM you in this conversation. This would not be a time to share what you've learned by reading up on it, what you see and/or do not see in your child, etc. There would be time for that later. This is a time to listen and gather what the school has observed.

    The school may describe to you exactly what you have also noticed: a child out-reading their vocabulary. The school may also describe if they believe they may be observing autism-like characteristics, traits, behaviors, and/or development patterns for a child who may be high functioning and "on the spectrum."

    Here is a brief roundup of links comparing gifted and ASD:
    - old post (2016) with link to article comparing gifted characteristics and ASD characteristics
    - post (2017) with checklist comparing gifted and ASD traits (hat tip to BananaGirl)
    - post (2017) with link to Gifted Resource Center of New England (GRCNE) article comparing gifted and ASD traits (hat tip to Nolepharm).

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    #247556 - 09/08/20 04:15 PM Re: Challenging a hyperlexia label [Re: indigo]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    You want the information flowing TO you, not FROM you in this conversation. This would not be a time to share what you've learned by reading up on it, what you see and/or do not see in your child, etc. There would be time for that later. This is a time to listen and gather what the school has observed.


    This is relevant to so many situations with school and I personally need to be better at it. Awesome advice.

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    #247557 - 09/08/20 04:46 PM Re: Challenging a hyperlexia label [Re: MumOfThree]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    MumOfThree, you're in good company, because I hear that a lot. Many organizations are adept at not sharing information, but rather "milking" people into "volunteering" information. They may tout what good "listeners" they are, and that they want the parent(s) to know that their "input" has been "heard."

    Parents may want to politely redirect the focus of attention to the questions which they have presented:
    - repeat,
    - re-word,
    - ask for clarification, details, examples, etc.
    Gently side-step any diversionary tactics that may be in play, and encourage the flow of information TO themselves.

    It is not always easy, but with practice it can become second nature.

    Often having a pen & paper and taking even cursory notes can affirm the approach: one can look at their sparse notes and use that as the impetus to politely repeat, re-word, ask for clarification, details, examples, etc. Jotting a few key words also helps avoid staring at the school personnel when they are speaking, and giving your eyes an opportunity to look away from the speaker to your note-writing paper may help keep your thoughts private as it may not be so easy for school personnel to read your expressions when they cannot look into your eyes.

    When school personnel have finished speaking, it is often wise to thank them and ask if there is anything else.

    Do not be quick to counter. You want them to unpack everything. Try to ensure they have shared it all, and not held back, by politely asking if there is anything else.

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    #247569 - 09/14/20 01:12 PM Re: Challenging a hyperlexia label [Re: philly103]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 77
    Thank you for your advice. I always solicit information from the school official before putting forward my own impressions. It makes things go smoother and lets me focus on specific areas of contention instead of risking that I lead the conversation down the wrong path. Additionally, it gives me a chance to gauge how much they know relative to my own reading.

    I'm not in the slightest bit worried about ASD or ever true hyperlexia. I'm more concerned with them casually using terminology that can be misinterpreted if it ends up in a file somewhere.

    This email is more of a follow up since we had the conversation today:

    As I suspected, they were being overly broad with the use of the terminology. Comprehension, per their impression, is fine. There's no inclusion of the term "hyperlexia" or "hyperlexic" anywhere in the file, formally or informally, so I ended up not needing to press that point.

    Still it was worth having the conversation. We were able to address some of details that get lost in the shuffle of changing grades.

    All in all, it was a productive meeting even if my original issue never really presented itself.

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    #247570 - 09/14/20 05:08 PM Re: Challenging a hyperlexia label [Re: philly103]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 443
    I think if they casually shared it, you could ask what they mean by hyperlexia and what they see, and if it doesn't fit, gently guide them to see what you see.

    I've seen preschoolers labeled with hyperlexia because "nobody reads at this level". But at 5, I'd think it was a lingering thought or it may even be that he decodes well above his comprehension level, and just needs to keep addressing comprehension. (aka a difference, not a disability)

    The issue in my mind is if they've labeled him in their mind and if that label is incorrect, resulting in academic teaching that are not at his level. Unless that's happening, I wouldn't be concerned

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