When Babies Read: A Practical Guide to Helping Young Children with Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

When Babies Read: A Practical Guide to Helping Young Children with Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

When Babies Read: A Practical Guide to Helping Young Children with Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

When Babies Read: A Practical Guide to Helping Young Children with Hyperlexia, Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

Synopsis

Audra Jensen' son began reading when he was only two years old. She shares her experiences - both the challenges and joys - of raising a child with autism and hyperlexia - an early and obsessive interest in the written word associated with social deficits and significant difficulty in understanding verbal language.The author stresses the importance of diagnosis of the condition for successful implementation of effective teaching strategies and encouragement of more typical childhood development. As well as useful advice, this guide provides a comprehensive reading curriculum specially designed for young, challenged children to help promote their reading ability.With practical suggestions on how to modify teaching and therapy programmes to suit a child's individual learning style, this practical guide will prove invaluable for parents of children with autism and hyperlexia.

Excerpt

Only a few years ago did I learn from my nephew Dave and his wife Audra about the troubling symptoms that their precocious two-year-old son Isaak was showing. Isaak’s acute over-fascination with letters and words, his gaze avoidance with his caring family, his temper tantrums when his routines were interrupted, and his spontaneous ability to sing the alphabet song backwards—to my child psychiatrist’s eye, all these characteristics suggested something more ominous than simple precocity. For Audra and Isaak, I arranged an evaluation with my colleague Geri Dawson, an autism expert whom I had gotten to know and to greatly admire while I served as the Associate Director of Child and Adolescent Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. Before long the definitive diagnosis of autism was made.

“For Isaak, you must become THE expert,” I told Audra, knowing the terrible lack of resources most children receive. “Don’t settle for less than what he needs. Even though all the evidence isn’t fully in, get him into intensive ABA programs. And if you need to, be prepared to get a lawyer, who will write letters on his behalf to the school or early intervention programs. Learn what his rights are in educational law, and go out and get it.”

No lioness ever defended her cubs more fiercely. Though our initial phone conversations were probably no more than one-half hour (I lived at the time in Washington DC, and Audra, Isaak, and Dave in the Pacific Northwest/Seattle area), what an amazing, marvelous transformation overtook Isaak’s parents, particularly Audra who had all the day-to-day responsibilities for arranging his care. She quickly absorbed and evaluated all new information. She learned to not take “no” for an answer. In her small county public school system, she led successful efforts to transform . . .

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