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

By Audra Jensen | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Something about Him

“There’s just something about him.” It’s a phrase I became accustomed to hearing from the time he was small. And there truly is—just something about him.

He would sit and look at books for hours. He would turn the pages so gently. He would look at the words on the page more than the pictures. He was only a year old. He could identify many letters of the alphabet. He didn’t smile or laugh much—only when he was rough-housing or playing with his letters. He appeared almost deaf—not responding to his name.

Then he was 18 months old. He could line up the alphabet from beginning to end. He could identify all the letters on sight. He could sing the alphabet song—backwards, no less. Numbers began to matter to him. He could count a large number of objects. He didn’t seem interested in other children. There was no child-like anxiety of strangers. He began to have violent tantrums for no obvious reason.

At two, he spontaneously began to read. He was obsessed with it. He wanted to line up plastic letters all day long. He had never called me Mommy or used any other word consistently. His days continued to be flooded with tantrums and rituals. People were furniture. Indulging his obsessions of letters and numbers was often the only thing that made him happy. That, and reading. More and more reading.

It was a few months after his second birthday that we sought expert help. He was given a diagnosis of autism and hyperlexia. I knew from that first day that we would fight it in the same way we would if he were diagnosed with leukemia. We would fight and work and battle the “cancer” in his brain. We could see that the autism was taking over. It was eating up all the normal, happy elements of his personality. The more time went on, the

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 9
  • Preface 11
  • Acknowledgements 13
  • Chapter 1 - Something about Him 15
  • Chapter 2 - The Walking Paradox 19
  • Chapter 3 - The Case for Teaching Reading 32
  • Chapter 4 - Teaching Babies to Read 45
  • Chapter 5 - Line of Attack 73
  • Chapter 6 - Learning Early Social Expectations 88
  • Chapter 7 - Navigating the School System 106
  • Chapter 8 - Customizing Behavior Therapy 118
  • Chapter 9 - Customizing Language Therapy 132
  • Chapter 10 - Theory of Mind 147
  • Chapter 10 - Ten Commandments 153
  • Appendix A - Special Education Law in the United States 157
  • Appendix B - Some Useful Organizations in the UK 168
  • Appendix C - Glossary and Diagnostic Criteria 170
  • References 179
  • Subject Index 181
  • Author Index 189
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