Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version


  • Micah O. MazurekAffiliated withCurry School of Education, University of Virginia Email author 
  • , Stephen M. KanneAffiliated withThompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri

Description and Definition

Hyperlexia is generally characterized by the spontaneous and precocious development of single-word reading that is more advanced than both reading comprehension skills and general cognitive ability. In addition to these defining characteristics, children with hyperlexia often have accompanying difficulties with social development, obsessive preoccupations with reading, and delays in language and cognitive development. Furthermore, advanced single-word reading in hyperlexia occurs very early, often by the age of 3, and without formal reading instruction.

Research into hyperlexia has been hampered by both relatively small sample sizes and considerable disagreement with regard to characteristics that define the hyperlexic reading profile. Some propose that the condition should be defined by a significant discrepancy between single-word reading and general cognitive level. Others argue that the defining discrepancy should be between single-word reading and reading ...

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