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April 14, 2002

Not only that, they used big words, and made the weaker argument defeat the stronger I have the unsettling sensation that my childhood is now being defined as a disease. From ABC News, the nightmare of “hyperlexia”:
[A]t 3 1/2 years old, Kyler can read just about anything his mother Alma puts in front of him. He taught himself the letters, numbers and shapes without any help. […]

Most parents would have been proud of their child’s incredible intellectual gift. And at first, Jimmy’s and Kyler’s parents were. But they soon discovered that their boys’ astounding fluency for shapes and numbers was shadowed by problems.

Their dazzling ability to read is in fact a rare syndrome called hyperlexia, which means excessive reading.

The illness, which affects mostly boys, is so unusual no one is sure how many kids it affects. It is accompanied by significant delays in language, and an inability to interact normally with others. […]

When Kyler turned 2, his mother realized that his desire to read voraciously was not a choice he made.

“It seemed like an obsession for him,” said Alma. “Basically he ignored his environment and he would just look at signs and letters 85 He was not interested in associating with other people.”

For Jimmy, too, his reading ability had serious drawbacks. “He wouldn’t do anything that didn’t have to do with letters and numbers,” said his mother.

Margie, another mother of a hyperlexic child named Alex, remembers when her pride turned to concern. One Thanksgiving, Alex was so absorbed in a book that he refused to join the family.

“So absorbed in a book.” Truly, the horror never stops.

I’d like to think these people would be equally as concerned about a small child who took it into his head to refuse to come in to Thanksgiving dinner from an outdoor game of catch. But I have my suspicions. [06:57 PM]

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