bringing joy through comprehension
Understanding hyperlexia in a simple and succinct way is essential to be equipped to support the children you are teaching. In the beginning, identifying what type of hyperlexia your child has will assist in the appropriate navigation of needs. According to Dr. Darold Treffert, a leading expert on Hyperlexia, there are three different types. (Treffert, “Oops! When autism”).
Type 1: Neurotypical children who read early with comprehension.
Type 2: Children with autism who have Hyperlexia as a 'splinter' skill, fascinated with communication symbols,
with little or no comprehension.
Type 3: Children without autism who read early, but have some autistic-like traits that dissipate over time.
We will primarily look at Type 2 Hyperlexia and in the offered methods plan to address the experientially referenced, literal interpreter. How does that translate simply? For example, the literal interpreter hears a phrase like: “Let’s hit the road,” which results in going out to literally hit the road with a hand. The experientially referenced interpreter, for instance, may meltdown as they see the use of a piece of chalk held sideways for a broad stroke, expecting the typical handhold used with a pencil, due to the differing previous visual experience.
Approximately one-half of those diagnosed with autism are Hyperlexic. Within these diagnoses, children experience varying
degrees of intensity and areas of struggle. Those with Hyperlexia have visual and audible confusion, and overwhelm is the key
response when too much information comes at one time; and there is significant struggle answering questions about who, what, when, where, how, and why.
ADD A PAGE STORY COMPREHENSION GUIDE OVERVIEW
Our Hyperlexia comprehension guides are customizable, simple, and fun. Is your child able to process learning in their world for perhaps a second, or two, a day?
This is a remarkably simple, and powerfully progressive, place for learning - from the place of information that is already theirs. Simply
add a page at a time, after their comfort level with the currently presenting information is achieved.
1. What is that one item that your child must have to get through their day? Take a picture! Or, draw it! Insert that picture on the first page.
2. What do you call that item? It is likely a noun - a person, place, thing, or idea. Insert that one word on the second page.
3. What does your child do with that item? Take a picture! Or, draw it! Insert that picture on the third page.
4. What do you call what your child does with that item? It is a verb - a being word, or an action word. Insert that word
on the fourth page.
Simplicity enables the child to focus on the picture, or word, referenced on the page. Leveraging the joy of the item that is featured, and what they want to do with that item, optimizes effectiveness. Pages with the picture, or the word, in the center of the page, calms - as there is space
to process. Should you find that you'd like to add a calming color to the background of these pages, a gentle blue is very often the best choice (construction paper works so well). To be clear, the majority of space on a page should be blank. Generally, the item, the picture or the word, should cover one to two ninths of the page, placed in such a way as to have unencumbered margins, and therefore be calming.
Another way to begin this process for your child is the joy giving game we call "pick," that promotes joy in success, comprehension of the
written and/or orally spoken word, discrimination by touch, language development, and sequencing.
Our experience allowed progression over days, weeks, months, and now years, to go from the 1, 2, 3, and then the 4-page book to collegiate courses through university, during homeschool high school. We spent a lot of time in the younger years slowly developing both the comprehension, and the ability to not meltdown in new circumstances, even the presentation of a new page.
Our experiences suggest that your land of opportunity for peaceful, quiet moments will be challenged either by external influences such as phone, bells, dogs, and/or the amazingly fast movement of your student, and/or their phenomenal ability to change mental gears in under two seconds, or even within the space of a breath. THIS type of book becomes a source of gentle moments of success!
Our experiences have begun with one beloved item pictured, seen repeatedly for days, then the noun added, and after many joyful moments, the action pictured, and then the word used for that action on the fourth page. While this may seem slow, it is the progress for which we look. And that means the acceptance of the process in a variety of circumstances. We learn best when we do not feel threatened by the information, and that coupled with the ability to accept change, are both the key and the benefit.
Once you have worked together on our initial story guides, add a pronoun, keep learning on the next level!
QUICKLY HELPFUL INFORMATION I WISH I HAD KNOWN
INTRODUCING PRONOUNS - WHEN YOU ARE READY
Anaphora, for our work, is the definition of pronouns, and the like, that are ever-changing in any particular communication.
Examples of anaphora, using the anaphora, or pronoun, words they, it, and there:
“Where did they go?” - Who is being referenced as 'they' this time?
“It is right there!” - What is being referenced as 'it' this time? And, where is 'there', this time?
For the literal interpreter of language, who is experientially referring to their world, this is FRUSTRATING. These anaphora words are not static with their meaning. When you begin to write language for these books for your student, please know avoiding these until your student has peace with the process will enable their learning. Teaching these, in context, every time will be possibly necessary for some length of time in your student’s future. Defining your terms is a great way to educate for comprehension.
Anaphora teaching process is simple, also. Each time you use anaphora, define.
Examples of teaching anaphora:
"Where did they go?" becomes "Where did they, your brothers, go?"
"It is right there!" becomes "It, the doll, is right there, on the sofa!"
More Examples of Anaphora: These words are areas of serious struggle for the Hyperlexic individual that will be enabled in their comprehension by beginning simply right where they are.
‘On’ can mean to turn ‘on’ the light, put the fork ‘on’ the plate, and may not be naturally comprehended to be ‘on’ the track.
‘In’ provides us rich experiences with anaphora, but needing experiential references, knowing where your student has ‘in’ experiences is necessary: not often ‘in‘ a roundhouse for trains, although perhaps, a train station; however they are likely ‘in’ the room; however ‘in’ the movie needs a different comprehension.
‘Stop’ means action, cessation of action, but it is also a sign seen frequently.
Compound words may present increased confusion. In the context that you may present, they are confusing again: roundhouse can be a martial arts move (verb), a home, a theatre, or a restaurant (nouns).
INTRODUCING DIRECTION CHANGES IN MATHEMATICS
Hyperlexia Mathematics Process: If your student is pattern-stuck on left to right eye movement for language, when math becomes multidirectional, as in long division, parenthetical processes, and so much more, a meltdown will occur. The fast track math ability is halted, and days, weeks, months, years can occur of the same should the patterning in the brain not be recognized.
Begin putting words in different directions, as well as math problems. Should meltdown occur, we suggest doing this work in very small stages on a page, a sticky note, with chalk, on the windows with Vis-à-vis pens, with sand or rice, in a box outside, etcetera.
We found success in many ways, for example: using sticky notes with one small word on each, adding a sticky note a day, in an analog clock pattern. Another way is to begin a slow slant of one word, until you are in a downward pattern. Using the word up with an arrow beside it, and doing the same with down, will help to orient to the presentation of arrow which can be used when begin to change direction within math. The ways this helps is endless. Changing hands and feet to begin the process increases the brain's ability to cross the corpus callosum, establishing increased ability for the two hemispheres to communicate, decreasing the pain of change.
Starting with gross motor skill activities and stomping on sticky notes in a pattern placed in a different arrangement other than from left to right, then bringing in a fine motor activity like slapping the words placed on a table in a different arrangement as well, was a fun way for us to engage this type of work.