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Carol Bainbridge

Obsession or Hyperlexia?

By February 27, 2009

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My son reading in a museum gift shop
My son seemed to be born with an interest in language, letters, words, and reading. He started to read when he was just two years old and reading became his favorite activity.

Being a good mom, I bought him beautiful, award-winning picture books, but when I gave them to him, he'd open them up, take one look at the pages, and then throw them on the floor, saying quite emphatically, "No words!" He hated picture books.

If given a choice between a book and a toy, he'd pick the book every time. I'd take him to museums and at the end of the day, we'd visit the gift shop, where he'd find the books. He'd pick out a book, plop himself down, and read, ignoring the toys.

We'd go to Toys R Us and he'd make a bee-line for the book section Once there, he'd pick out several books, sit down at a table and read.  If I had let him, he would have sat there reading for hours. We'd leave without him looking at a single toy. He wasn't interested.

At birthday parties, he'd sometimes sit off to the side reading whatever was available. At his own birthday parties, he'd read every birthday card -- before opening the gift. And his favorite gifts were books.

This kid was unlike any other kid I knew. He was just three years old, had not started talking until he was two, and still wasn't talking very much. He was so focused on reading that I worried he might have hyperlexia. He doesn't have it, but I know I'm not the only parent who worried that something was wrong when her gifted child was exhibiting pretty typical gifted behavior.

Was there a time when you thought something was wrong with your child when it was just normal gifted behavior? Share your story!

Read more about my journey.

March 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm
(1) Jennifer says:

I had my 5 year old son tested for autisim because I thought his obsession with geography was a symptom. He memorised every state and capital and in the USA. He then went on to memorise the square footage of every state, capital and country in the world. He did this on his own in a period of about 3 months with zero help from me or his father. He really had me worried there for a while. I had to sit down and think long and hard about his social skills and his other activites. I think he is intelligent, he loves numbers and he loves to read. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring however I know today he is doing pretty good. He has friends he is sociable and he loves life.

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