Project Title: Hyperlexia: Research and Case Study
Student: Alanna Spalsbury ’16
Mentor: Dr. Katherine Glenn-Applegate
In my presentation, I will discuss my research on Hyperlexia, a single disorder often overlooked among the many associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I also share my experience as a one-on-one aide to addressing local kindergartener, “Benji”, and his special needs correlated to his diagnosis of Hyperlexia. Benji is a six-year old at a local private school. While most of the students in his grade are at three to 7 year old reading level, Benji is at a nine-year olds. Hyperlexic people often have precocious reading capacity, while lacking the ability to understand and use verbal language, therefore hindering their social communication. Because of a Hyperlexic student’s accelerated reading skills, they are frequently labeled as ‘gifted’ and emerged in programs to better challenge them academically, without help for the severe social deficits they face. Through an independent study utilizing multiple sources (e.g., Jensen, 2005; Kendall, 2010; Kostelnik, 2002, & MacDonald, 2007), I explored the multiple facets of social communication deficiencies in children with Hyperlexia, and strategies for encouraging these children’s social development while nurturing their gift for reading. In this presentation, I will share circumstances most Hyperlexic children encounter, compare and contrast them to Benji’s circumstances, and share my experience implementing the therapeutic strategies I researched.