For the first few weeks of school, L struggled with his schoolwork. I found him asking basic questions like, "What is sum?" Or, not knowing how to answer "When" and "How" questions ... questions that require abstract thinking. I tried to teach him like any other normal kid but he was not grasping it. Something was not right. I read a book, "Overcoming dyslexia: a new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level" by Shaywitz, Sally E. L's symptoms did not fully match a dyslexic. However, a paragraph on hyperlexics caught my attention. http://www.hyperlexia.org provided more information.
Hyperlexia is the opposite of dyslexia. Hyperlexics can read but have difficulty understanding the passages. L fits most of the symptoms. He has poor auditory memory (can't remember long instructions) and difficulty understanding abstract concepts. Difficulty answering "wh" questions esp. the "why" and "how". I find L echoing sentences without understanding the words. Eg. "You are not the boss of me!" He doesn't know "boss" can also mean "leader."
I started modifying my teaching method drastically. I no longer assume that he comprehends anything he reads. The book: Reading Too Soon: How to Understand and Help the Hyperlexic Child by Susan M. Miller (Paperback - Sep 1, 1993) really helped. Every reading material for L has to be pared down to simple explanations. I will write about the different methods in future blogs.
His teacher is also very very helpful. I can't say how grateful I am that she gives me the reading material early in the week so that I can work with L. The next few weeks, we saw L's marks improve. He is now averaging in the 90% in his LA tests. He is also getting better at word math problems.
I had an IEP meeting with his speech therapist and regular classroom teacher before Christmas. I requested L to be evaluated for "Resource Support." That means, he gets pulled out to a resource room where a teacher will help him with his homework. These classes are for children who are struggling with their schoolwork, usually children with learning disorders. I also requested his ST to include social skills lessons into her curriculum with L which she complied easily.
Early January, the ST requested an extended IEP mtg with the school psychiatrist and resource teacher. Because of L's good progress, they felt that he didn't need to be evaluated for disorders but did suggest that our pediatrician look for the possibility of ADHD. He also didn't qualify for the resource support. I had a feeling that this was going to happen. I wasn't that bummed out about their decision. I am just glad that I found something that worked at home with L and I can tailor the lessons to fit him.