My son Frankie taught himself to read at the age of 2 1/2 years old. However, he couldn't put a sentence together. He knew his ABC's and could spell words like elephant and monkey. #hyperlexia3awareness
Meet Frankie Joseph. He is my first born son and he is Hyperlexic 3.
Just to give you some background into his history to better understand this journey, Frankie was born full term on July 24, 2010 after I was induced because my blood pressure was starting to go up. He was 8 pounds 10 ounces and he was a chunka baby lol There were no complications with the pregnancy besides the fact it just wasn't much fun for me lol and the labor besides being long and painful was uneventful and he was delivered by C-Section. I also didn't take so much as a Tylenol the entire pregnancy. The reason I tell you this is because doctors always ask the history as I'm sure many of you know.
Frankie was a happy and adorable baby. He hit all of his milestones and exceeded some up until he was one and a half where he still did not have any words. My mom says he said tree but if he did, it was one or two words and if he said them, I didn't hear them. Being a teacher, I am very skeptical of the education system, so when we had him evaluated by Early Childhood Intervention, I was not impressed and decided to take him to a private speech therapist. Sad to say, none of them knew what was wrong and didn't understand that at two and a half he was reading words and that was the only way he was able to remember the words. As a first time mom, I just didn't realize that he was actually reading the words. I thought he was memorizing them. Finally at three, we found a great speech therapist who, although she mentioned hyperlexia, didn't know about the three types and just diagnosed him with being on the spectrum and having oral and receptive language delays. But by using the word hyperlexia, my mom evetually researched it when he turned four and we still hadn't had a good IEP meeting yet and that's when she found HL3 and Dr. Treffert. By the time we found this, however, Frankie was already four years and two months.
Life was tough with Frankie in those first five years. We worried he wouldn't be able to take care of himself when he got older. We were afraid he would never learn to talk. Sherry, our speech therapist assured us that although Frankie was on the spectrum, she knew he would be ok. He was getting better with language, although gradually and she reminded us that it could take up to six weeks before things they did together would actually kick in. By four, Frankie finally started to put two word sentences together. He also always loved the alphabet, writing in the air, had echolalia between age three and four, loved to draw, and was an excellent speller.
He finally potty trained (HL3 boys tend to be four when they train and not three). The four to five year range is where the language explosion takes place. By the time he turned five, Frankie was only a few months behind his peers with language, although conversations would and still sometimes give him some trouble. It isn't something he feels totally comfortable with outside of the house, although now it just looks like he is shy.
Frankie did and still does get speech now only once a week, before it was two times a week. He is in an ICT (inclusion class) with a general ed and special ed teacher. This worked very well for him and still does. If I had known Frankie had HL3 from the start, dealing with his school would have been easier because I would have been quicker to be able to teach them how to help him.
After five, Frankie's only main issues were transitions, which got better all the time. He went from only needing a little bit of prompting instead of five reminders and heads ups before doing something new in class. Every year, his teachers and I would watch and be astonished at how far he had come from preschool.
Frankie is now 10 and in fifth grade. He is doing wonderfully. He is a loving, sweet and very typical little boy although very shy. His best friend is his brother Noah who is six. I don't push him when it comes to having friends because I know he tries at school but he is very quiet and since Covid, he hasn't been back in school since last March. HL3 kids are many times more comfortable at home and for now I'm ok with that. The other thing to remember is that although HL3 kids are intelligent, they tend to lose that genius quality they had as younger children. Frankie would rather watch his IPad or play video games than read now. He is well behaved and smart in school but he still needs extra help with math because he would rather be playing. I can't say this for all HL3 kids as every child and case is different but I have heard a lot of other HL3 moms with older kids and from Dr. Treffert's research that Frankie's behavior here is something you do see often with HL3.
I have a lot more detailed information on his development over the years on his timeline page. And course if you have any questions, head over to my FB page or group. The icons are at the top of every page.
At around just turning three, Frankie knew what "open the door" meant but he could not say it. We thought maybe if we wrote it down he would understand it since he could read. It took one try of writing it down on a strip of paper and showing it to him as we opened the door. That did it! #hyperlexia3awareness
From speaking to other parents with HL children , many have kids who took longer to potty train. They do get it, but usually not until 3,4 or 5. Frankie wanted nothing to do with it until the summer he turned 4. A few weeks short of his fourth birthday, he was trained in about a week. He didn't even need a diaper at night. So don't worry if yours is taking time to get there
· August 2, 2018 ·
Fun fact I just learned about Frankie. He can say the alphabet backwards, no problem lol I was trying to keep Noah awake and asked them as a joke. And Frankie took off lolol I can't with him. Thought I was done being surprised with HL3 lol
Frankie at five loved the show American Ninja Warrior. He loved it so much, that he would spell the names of all of the competitors! I used to laugh because I had these names of people I don't know on my fridge with magnetic letters.
Frankie, along with other HL3 children, are very good at spelling. He was able to spell words like elephant and ambulance since he was about four and he was spelling words like purple, yellow and red since turning three. He also knew how to sound out words without ever having been taught. He also knew to say words like "side" and "date" correctly. The rules of English didn't seem to give him a problem even though he had never been taught about it.
It's important to remember, HL3 kids will not be quick to call you by name like if they want to get out of the crib. You won't hear Mom and dad for some time in terms of calling your names. They will also entertain themselves instead and wait.
They have a very hard time with using question words. Frankie started to answer and ask them around four and half and "how" came closer to age five. It takes awhile, but it will come.
Frankie is now almost 12 years old. He is bright (but not a genius). He takes school very seriously although he does enjoy being off like most kids. The older he gets, the more he is just like everyone else. He loves video games and YouTube. He does not love reading anymore sadly. He is good at math, but sometimes needs some extra help and ironically ELA is not his favorite subject. He loves to draw still and is very close with his younger brother Noah. However, socially in school, it is a struggle. He does not like talking to anyone. He sits by himself at lunch and sometimes gets frustrated when the other kids don't listen. For him, it's almost like he is going to a job. School has a purpose and he is there to accomplish that. But then he comes home and he loves to ride his bike.