Jax was 17 months old when he started reading. He quickly became infatuated with the alphabet but wasn’t interacting with his parents or exploring new things and couldn’t answer yes or no to questions.
Jax’s parents were at a loss. The experts they consulted had no answers. The speech therapists weren’t helping. They searched for answers for a year and a half. One day, Jax’s mother Google searched “my son is obsessed with the alphabet.” The results all yield the same three words: “Phyllis Kupperman” and “hyperlexia.”
CHAT’s founder, Phyllis Kupperman, is a pioneer in the world of hyperlexia, a learning style commonly co-occuring with Autism. Hyperlexic learners are precocious readers with an early, strong interest and ability in letters and decoding, symbols, and patters, who also often struggle with language and social interaction.
Jax’s mother immediately set up a CHAT consultation for her son, where clinicians confirmed that Jax is hyperlexic. Within a year, Jax’s parents decided to move to Illinois from New York so Jax could receive the services he needed.
When Jax first started at CHAT, he could not express his wants or needs and mainly used “scripting” (repetitive phrases, usually learned from media) to communicate. CHAT SLPs started by writing down directions, which Jax was instantly able to follow. No one had ever used this approach with Jax before, by hyperlexic learners depend on the written word to support their language growth, social communication, and overall learning and understanding. Jax’s mother was blown away at the difference this simple lesson made in their lives. It opened a door to communication with her child.
Jax is now five years old and has been in therapy with CHAT for six months. In that short time, Jax’s mother has seen vast improvements in his ability to express his wants and needs, interact with his siblings and parents, and in his overall disposition. Jax is no longer frustrated with others’ inability to understand him and is a much happier child. In his mother’s words: “CHAT lives up to its name – it truly is life-changing. CHAT has given me the ability to interact with my son. CHAT is a treasure.”
“CHAT lives up to its name – it truly is life-changing. CHAT has given me the ability to interact with my son. CHAT is a treasure.”– Jax’s Mom