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. :)