Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm no expert on hyperlexia but I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about this disorder over the last few years. My son Will, who is now 5, has this disorder and my research has revealed so little information that I felt compelled to generate a current source for parents who are just learning about hyperlexia for the first time as well as providing a place for those with a diagnosis of hyperlexia to gather. In the months since I started this blog I have found many other moms who are also sharing their experiences. Visit the blog roll to visit their blogs and learn about their amazing stories too. Please contribute.. it's easy! Just click on the comments link at the bottom of a post and share your own experiences.
Thanks again! =)
Next week my son is being moved from the preschool classroom where he has been since he started school. The preschool is being inundated with new enrollees (gee.. you think this stuff is on the rise??) and so the class sizes are continually growing. Next year the whole preschool will be moved to the other school but for the rest of this year they're moving just some of the kids into this "new" classroom. I would imagine some of the kids who will now be his classmates will be new.. and he'll have a new teacher, too. It's a shame on a lot of fronts as he's gotten to know the people he's been with, his teachers and classmates, quite well over the last 3 months. He's learned better sharing and better communication. He's even learned to use the potty! And all of that is going to be disrupted. Yet, on many levels, I think it's a good thing. He's actually moving to the school and classrooms that he'll be in once he gets to Kindergarten and through the rest of his elementary schooling. He'll have the opportunity to see that, even though some things change, some things stay the same. His new teacher may be even better than his first.. although that's hard to imagine. And in the past, every time he has been challenged by new and unfamiliar events and subjects he has evolved in ways that went beyond the expected growth for that experience. But, for now, he's been screaming a lot more than he usually does. I can't help but wonder if it's because he knows something "big" is about to happen and his life will be turned upside down.. if just for a little while. It won't take him long to settle in to the new routine. But I'm afraid for him for the journey.
Why is it important? Why can't non-communicative persons just be allowed to be? Well I, for one, don't think that's a very healthy mindset. No man is an island and CERTAINLY no four year old is one either. I am amazed daily at my son's emerging abilities when it comes to communication. My son has been very verbal since he was a baby. Some days I feel like he won't shut up. But there's never been much purpose in his constant chatter.. other than perhaps to refine his speech. So many times I've asked him what he wants. Noodles? French fries? Scrambled eggs? Waffles? Juice? Milk? I ask and I ask but I get this blank stare in response. He just doesn't seem to understand that there's a question there that needs to be answered. He's slowly evolving the ability to use picture cards to indicate what he wants but even that's spotty at best. I'm lucky I guess in that I'm reasonably perceptive and can often figure out what he wants. It's a little like caring for an infant. Hungry? Thirsty? Wet? Sleepy? You just sort of go through the checklist. And I've learned that this may be the extent to which he interacts with me when it comes to getting what he wants. But his babbling has evolved. His seemingly pointless barrage of words is starting to have purpose. I just have to be listening carefully enough. Dare I hope that this is just the beginning?
I can't remember a time when my wonder boy wasn't fascinated by bubbles. He wouldn't run off and disappear when I or his big sister were blowing bubbles. He would stay.. engrossed.. and pop every one he could manage to get near. He loves to watch them float up and soar to the tree tops. He loves to watch them settle on top of each other, not popping, and try to make them pop. I'm certain he's analyzing their physical properties and has determined there's such a thing as surface tension and that's why wet fingers are no good for popping. I've gotten pretty good at it too and can now blow bubbles within bubbles.. which I and he think is pretty neat. Today we had an opportunity to blow bubbles for a bit and he enjoyed it as much as ever. He even blew a few bubbles of his own!
I recently attended a meeting sponsored by my school district, the point of which is to provide me with the tools, materials and expertise to have my child ready to enter Kindergarten. It would seem many children fall well below the "average" upon entry to Kindergarten and those who enter below tend to stay below their classmates until much later in their school career. So they're trying to get these kids to enter at an average level or above in order to give them an edge for their entire school run, not just Kindergarten. At this meeting the topic of subtitles came up and I commented about how great I thought they are and how they can really help someone struggling to learn a language. I got a couple of strange looks but I think I made my point. But you likely weren't there so I will reiterate. These kids ARE learning another language.. the language of verbal communication. My son at least is very capable of reading the subtitles that scroll across the bottom of his favorite movies and he definitely uses them to help him understand what's going on. My other 2 kids have to suffer through them but I secretly hope that perhaps just a smidgen of the information there will rub off and help them to become better readers. So.. if you can.. turn on those subtitles!
My father-in-law mentioned it one day. Does my son have any savant abilities? You mean, besides reading at a 3rd grade level at the age of 4? Well.. I guess not.. or at least we don't know YET. So today I'm helping my daughter prepare her valentines for her kindergarten classmates and I thought I'd cut out a few hearts for him to play with and color. Here I thought they might help to keep him busy. But instead he took the remainder of the paper and drew the most amazing school bus. So maybe he does =)
Big goings on here in the household. My oldest celebrated her 6th birthday today so she's having a great time. Funny how my son refused to eat the chocolate cake.. which is usually his favorite. You just never know. He had fun doing her new puzzle.. he's pretty good at them.. and of course he's already reading the story books we got her. I picked up an alphabet desk for him so he wouldn't feel left out but so far it hasn't been necessary. He's gotten to the point where he's happy to watch the activities going on around him. He even clapped when we were done singing the Happy Birthday song! His teacher tells me he's starting to sing along with the class when it's music time in school. Baby steps. He's made a lot of progress in the three months since he started preschool. He's even using the toilet! And that was a day I was expecting to be very far off.
I've seen these Leap Pad Learning Systems in the store and thought that they might be something all my kids would enjoy.. but Stinky Pete was right and children DO destroy toys.. so I have resisted spending the money that would bring one of these into my home. But here I was at the thrift store not long ago and they had one of these.. a "My First Leap Pad" complete with the cartridge and book for only $2.00! I looked it over as it appeared to be in pretty good shape. One element of this particular system that I really like is that it doesn't rely on contact switches to work. You just hover the "pen" over the selection and it magically works! So what that means is that there's no reason to push at all.. let alone hard enough to damage the book or the pad. So I got it. I took it home and it was such a huge hit that I went over to eBay and bought a bunch more books & cartridges. It's really helping my son with his vocalizations as he can hover over words and pictures and have a reasonable sounding voice say what they are. My 2 year old son loves it as well as he's able to operate it and learn more about letters and their sounds, counting, shapes and colors. Just a great toy. So.. I'm just here to recommend these. I don't work for the company or for any retailer from whom you could purchase these and I'm not trying to "make a sale" in any way, but.. if you have a child struggling with verbal communication and can get your hands on one of these I highly recommend them! It's already helped tremendously in a very short time!