The Autistech Profile picture
Mar 24, 2018 16 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Tonight, I'm going to be talking about Hyperlexia. For those who don't know, here's the wikipedia article on it:

"a child's precocious ability to read." Except it does affect us as adults. and it is a learning disability.
As a child, i picked up reading very fast. I was reading novels in Grade 2, and by grade 7, I was reading at a 3rd-4th year University level and had a vocabulary somewhere around most masters students.
Even now, I read quickly, and when it hits special interest time, I won't be able to stop. Like when I discovered the Dresden Files novels in ~2007.

And read all 10 out at that time in one weekend.
Between this and my #ActuallyAutistic mentality, I can do comparative analysis on quotes and such at work faster than my vendors can handle. I can also read a few dozen English-related languages. At a fairly low level, but often good enough that I don't need Google translate.
So, you're probably thinking to yourself... How's this a disability?

And it's actually pretty simple: for as "advanced" as my textual processing is, my audio and oral processing is, well, let's say not so good.
Didn't say my first word until I was ~3, maybe 4. I will not talk for extended periods of time. It takes me a very long time to process spoken language (speaking or hearing).

And this seems pretty common when you're hyperlexic.
And my reading often runs well ahead of processing, as well. I would often be reading 4 chalkboards ahead of where I was trying (and failing) to write in school.
I find speaking very difficult in general, and when I am overloaded, I lose the ability to talk. If my hands are still working, I can type, but anything I try to say comes out as grunts or groans.
And understanding what people are saying, even when I hear them (yay sensory issues) is also difficult.
But, John, you say... You do presentations and work help desk.

And both are scripted, and on topics I know inside out, backwards, forwards and sideways. Outside of that... my speaking is not very functional.
And there's the rub. So much of our world relies on spoken interaction. I shift as much as I can into email, where I have more of an advantage, but it doesn't remove the barriers. And when you're a kid, it's even worse.
You get bullied in school for being "stupid, " even though you read and know more than anyone (including teachers). You get in trouble for when your speech centres decide they're not working and default to simple (sometimes profane) words, if anything.
It's like living a double life. One where you're a fully capable human, and another where everything is impossible.

And a lot of Hyperlexic kids are Autistic. So take that personal interaction issue and amplify it immensely.
And it doesn't go away as you age. You get better at hiding it, better at avoiding it, and sometimes, if you're super lucky, you learn some tricks to help you along.

But it stays. No-one ever talks about that bit.
Our brains are wired differently. While reading is like breathing, it makes speaking and understanding spoken words almost like a foreign language I have to translate into and rehearse.

Again and again and again
If any of this was helpful or informative, please consider buying me something from my wish list:

Most of my income is spent on necessities and dealing with extra costs due to allergies. Useful stuff makes things easier, fun stuff makes things bearable.

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