Can a child be diagnosed with hyperlexia?

Picture of children playing doctors vintage
There is no official diagnosis for hyperlexia

One of the most common questions is can my child be diagnosed with hyperlexia? The short answer is no. Hyperlexia is not classified as a condition on its own. However some professionals will recognise it as part of another diagnosis such as autism or speech delay.

At the moment, there is also no official definition of hyperlexia. Most agree that this is the unusual ability to read or recognise letters or numbers before the age of 5. Typically it is also defined by a lack of comprehension.

However the term can useful to identify a trait, which although rare, is shared by other children. It is unusual and distinctive. It could also be an early sign of a speech or developmental delay. Your GP or health visitor may not have heard of hyperlexia, but they will be able to refer for delays, if you are concerned.

There is a recent study reporting that traits such as hyperlexia could be key to a different way of learning language (Mottron et al 2021). Therefore it could be helpful for professionals or teachers to acknowledge this aspect of a child. 

Hyperlexia can support developmental skills such as fine motor skills or speech, read more here.

Information.  See references here.  Date created: 1/4/2021     Date reviewed: 1/5/2022

Skip to content