West Wing Publishing


Hannah’s Hope

Living and Succeeding with Hyperlexia

by Renee Montero Kovach

Chapter One:
Introduction of Hyperlexia and Our Discovery of It

Hyperlexia is not so much a rare as a rarely diagnosed communications disorder. Sharing many traits with autism and Asperger's Syndrome in the preschool days, this condition is easily misdiagnosed, leaving the family searching for answers for their children and haunted with the nagging suspicion that "the experts" are wrong. Hyperlexia is currently considered an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since establishing a network of families dealing with this condition on the internet, I am more convinced than ever that Hyperlexia must be acknowledged as its own condition outside of Autism if we hope to help our children succeed to the fullest in the school system and the world.

Chapter Two:
Hannah's History

From the time Hannah was two, we were aware that she was speech-delayed. Family members kept pushing us to "get help for her!" Confused by this insistence and unsure of what others were seeing in our daughter, we began a journey of struggle and discovery. We threw out everything told to us by the experts and researched Hannah's combination of behavior, giftedness, and delay ourselves. The on-line discovery of Hyperlexia was an answer to our prayers, and set us on yet another path: Developing a treatment plan for her ourselves!

Chapter Three:
Raising the Hyperlexic Child

Forget everything you think you know about raising a special needs child. Start with the basics, and build a new set of standards. The Hyperlexic child has a combination of gifts and delays that will make you want to laugh and cry at the same time...learn to use their gifts to train their delays, and you're well on your way to success for your child. This chapter includes some of the therapies we've developed for use with Hannah in our home, and have heard from several families finding success in their homes, also! The approaches discussed include:

Story Therapy
Rules Books
The Magic Treehouse
Put Words in Her Mouth

Chapter Four:
Some Common Traits of Hyperlexia

There are behaviors associated with Hyperlexia that will baffle even the most seasoned parent. Learning to accept this side of your child can allow you greater freedom to teach her, and even help you to laugh through the tears. Some of the areas touched on in this chapter include perfectionism, the obsessive need for routine, and the seemingly illogical circle of comfort our children build around themselves.

Chapter Five:
Hyperlexia vs. Autism

Currently considered an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is much discussion among families dealing with this condition on the validity of that placement. This chapter is a series of essays from the true experts, the families succeeding with Hyperlexia every day. Both sides of this issue are presented.

Chapter Six:
School Issues

Finding the right school placement for the hyperlexic child is imperative. The Parent is already The Expert on the child...this chapter can help empower them to get the best the school can offer for their child. From IEP reviews to Teacher Selection, there are many areas you can influence and shape your child's education.

Chapter Seven:
Behavioral and Social Issues

As with any child, helping your child fit in can be a struggle. With the hyperlexic child, it becomes even more imperative that the parent take a proactive stance in this. This chapter highlights some areas where you can "smooth the path" for your child, as well as gives suggestions for approaching this issue head on with your child's class or club.

Chapter Eight:
Taking Care of Yourself

When I began this journey, I was angry, determined, and terrified. The fear of what my daughter might face, as well as the fear of my inability to do the best thing for her, was overwhelming. This chapter contains suggestions for taking care of yourself, focusing heavily on networking with other families. It also includes the addresses of several on-line resources that can help.