Friday, October 17, 2008

Realization

Over the past few days I've been researching online about various sensory processing and communication disorders as part of preparing myself for addressing my son's needs. The school set up a "pre-meeting" to decide on which evaluations to do.

Of course, being me, I've already figured some stuff out (or think I have). I was reading the NY Times' very valuable Lessons Plan blog and found this post on kids who repeat their favorite words and phrases. My son does this, so I started using a lot of the terms/concepts from that post and doing research, and I came across the syndrome of hyperlexia.

Lightbulbs flashed all over the place.

Not only do I think Eric has hyperlexia, but *I* have/had it. I was reading by my third birthday. My mother helped me along, but I was self-taught. I have always needed to understand the world through words/language, which is partially why I love the Internet so much. I have always had an outstanding memory. I have poor auditory processing; I hate podcasts and BloggingHeadsTV and stuff like that. I will read a transcript over watching a newscast or interview any day.

The difference, my mother thinks (I called her yesterday and expounded on my theory, getting lots of confirmation of my childhood behaviors), is that I was a very social child. Most hyperlexic children tend to be boys; I wonder if the difference is that I am female and thus socially conditioned to be empathetic and social.

Anyway, it's been incredibly illuminating for me, though it makes me a little sad. Here I thought I was gifted, but maybe I was high-functioning autistic instead. On the other hand, I think I'm assigning too much negativity to the term "autism." And I think maybe the problem with the "growth" of autism today is not that there is more of it but that we recognize it more as a result of our greater sensitivity to individualizing children's education.

More as my thoughts develop. :)

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