I have posted on here before about my son who is 2 1/2 and hyperlexic. We went through some testing due to some concerns my husband and I had for him. He was accepted into the Birth to 3 program because he was extremely anxious when they did the evaluation for him. (just woke up from a nap, new people in the house) They gave us some great suggestions to help with his anxiety; He is now a completely different kid when we go to the doctors, a situation he NEVER EVER would approach calmly. The way we did this was prepping him; we wrote a paragraph about the doctor's visit and read it a few times before we went. The Birth to 3 professionals are floored with him, he is no longer anxious in fact the asks them to play with him. Makes great eye contact with them and usually has them laughing many times through their session. We went ahead and had him tested by a Dr in child psychology, again she was floored by him and what he is doing. Whenever any professional sees him they say "hmmm interesting...he is a complex kid...extremely smart" no one can seem to figure him out, including myself. She said he was clearly not autistic but she was a little concerned about his socializing skills. He does everything he should (make requests, good eye contact) but she says he doesn't do enough of it, and he could improve on these skills. We are looking into a pre-k for him that is more centered around socializing. Now here are my questions...
- What are some options that are out there for school? My husband and I believe in the public schools if it can work for him. I think being well rounded is very important. Book smart is wonderful but knowing how to correlate with others is just as important.
- Has anyone kept their kids in public school and were able to get good results and cooperation from teachers on giving extra work?
We are just trying to find the right balance for him and our family. He baffles us constantly, I'm not trying to brag here just not sure what my next step should be. We haven't told any friends because we don't want it to come across as look at our kid he is brilliant. But it's really hard to not talk about it when he sees a fire and spells it or is looking for a 7 and ask's me where the s-e-v-e-n is?
any thoughts, experiences would be much appreciated.
My kids have alternated between homeschooling and public schooling. The key ingredient for success has always been the individual teacher. Spend some time looking at what's available local to you, as it widely varies.
I'm also going to plug that a child doesn't need extra work, they need differentiated work :).
For pre-k, I would recommend play based that's got good outdoor space, good staff and little or no academics, with a curriculum or philosophy which puts social skills first.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.
We live in a very good school district. We pulled DS1 (gifted, possible ASD/HFA, speech delay, hyperlexia) out of a Montessori school and placed him in our public school this fall. It's gone extremely well. I love them. I would do just about anything for DS1's current teacher, because she is that awesome. I would do almost anything for the rest of the staff because they are that awesome.
We handed over DS1's Cogat scores, annual evalutions, and speech evaluation to the principal when we registered. He took a look at it and asked us to come in for a meeting. He recommended that we put DS1 in 3rd grade with his age peers. (DS1 had been grade skipped twice at the Montessori school, once from primary to lower elementary and once from lower elementary to upper elementary.) He also set us up with an IEP meeting, without us asking. He gave us the teacher that he thought would be the most patient and understanding. We took all of his recommendations and crossed our fingers.
It's gone very, very well. DS1 has a teacher that differentiates all of his subjects. He is in the highest math group and they do Sunshine Math as well, which means that he is starting simple algebra. The math and history is stuff that he hasn't had before, and she encourages the kids to do more research. The school also runs after school enrichment programs for a modest fee, and DS1 participates in those as well. He has speech twice a week. DS1 loves his teacher and loves school. He has friends. He is extremely happy. His grades were good all A's and one B. The B was in language arts, which is difficult for him because he has problems with verbal inferencing. His teacher and speech therapist are working on that, though.
His teacher also finally got him to start reading fiction, which a huge milestone for us. He reads non-fiction with comprehension way above grade level, but has never liked fiction or been able to read it with as much comprehension as he has decoding skills. (He also doesn't like fiction movies that have a lot of talking and not much action. He doesn't get the social aspects of the story a lot of the time.) He is now systemically working his way through the Magic Treehouse series. It's a huge step for him. I'm really glad because I think fiction will help him understand social situations more than he does now.
Certainly it is important for kids to be able to develop in different areas. At the same time though, it is really important to meet academic needs and children who don't have these needs met can end up with behavioral challenges. Not saying you are doing this, but sometimes parents think if they just don't focus on the gifted part of their kids that it will go away as a challenge and the kids will end up "well rounded or "normal" but it really doesn't work that way. Sometimes the kids get even "weirder" or more difficult to deal with.
Have any of the people who have evaluated him been highly experienced in working with gifted kids? What appears to be "abnormal" to professionals who primarily work with children with delays, may not be seen as problematic by someone with a lot of experience working with gifted children.
Thanks so much for your story on your son's integration into a great public school. My son is 3 years old and hyperlexic with social skill delays. We are very concerned about his ability to socialize properly in school yet it is important to us (and also his preference!) that he be in school. He started reading whole words at 10 months old. He is now at least at the first grade level for both reading and math, with concomitant delays in verbal communication and socializing typically seen in Hyperlexia III. If you have any suggestions for appropriate preschool programs for such a child, as you also seem to have, please do share. We have just applied for IEP assistance, and we will continue our search as long as it takes. With such a dichotomy in skill levels (reading/math v. social/verbal), I am concerned no public school teacher will be willing to accept the challenges he presents.
Some experts denote three explicit types of hyperlexics. Specifically:
- Type 1: Neurotypical children that are very early readers.
- Type 2: Children on the autism spectrum that demonstrate very early reading as a splinter skill.
- Type 3: Very early readers who are not on the autism spectrum though there are some “autistic-like” traits and behaviours which gradually fade as the child gets older.
I always understood Hyperlexia to be a rarer symptom of ASD. I did not know there were three types.
At some point in time, you may want to consider grade skipping:
"Many school systems are wary of grade skipping even though research shows that it usually works well both academically and socially for gifted students--and that holding them back can lead to isolation and underachievement."
"Extra work" isn't the answer. Appropriately-challenging work is.