“What Sowell found was that many cases of children who had delayed speech were being inappropriately diagnosed as “autistic” sometimes by persons not particularly qualified to do so. But also “Then there are the experts specializing in autism. They are in one sense particularly well qualified for saying whether a given child does or does not fit this category. On the other hand, to some of the experts “autism” is just a label to be used for the sake of expediency in getting government funding of help that the child needs on other grounds. Others are engaged in a campaign to downgrade the shock of the term by applying it widely. Still others may simply have a specialist’s bias, expressed by one of the persons in our group as: ‘To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (Treffert, Darold)
Dr. Darold Treffert is a hero in my opinion. He is single-handedly trying to get the medical community to see hyperlexia III for what it truly is. He has written extensively on the subject and his knowledge comes from first hand experience over thirty years. He has classified the three types of hyperlexia and is continuing to fight for the medical community to understand hyperlexia and making it an official diagnosis. As he addresses in the quote above, he is against the medical community trying to make their lives easier by putting everyone on the spectrum without trying to determine the differences.
As someone who deals with these issues on an everyday basis, I know how frustrating it is to simply be told that no one is going to look at Frankie’s diagnosis for what it is. To simply diagnose everyone as autistic once they get placed on the spectrum is wrong and harmful to the children involved. Hyperlexic III children act, learn and progress differently than other children on the spectrum. Imagine a world where doctors put all viruses on the same level and never bothered to look at the differences? Should the chicken pox, polio and HIV be dealt with in the same way?
Dr. Treffert is trying to change this for our children and together, hopefully, we can help him make a difference.
Treffert, Darrold. “Hyperlexia: Reading Precociousness or Savant Skill?”Wisconsin Medical Society. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/professional/savant-syndrome/resources/articles/hyperlexia-reading-precociousness-or-savant-skill/>.