I am always amazed by Ryan’s memory. Not only does he memorize every word of every tv show he watches and every book we read, but he can recall these things, in perfect detail, long after he has seen/heard them.
The other night he became very insistent that he needed “yellow star.” After much thought and investigation, we realized he was talking about the second hand on the clock in his bedroom (which had a tiny banana on it, but hey, close enough), which he broke off maybe 9 months ago (while reenacting the Curious George episode in which George keeps changing the time on his clock so he won’t have to go to bed).
This morning he asked if he could watch It’s A Big Big World on PBS Kids. He hasn’t seen that show in over a year; it’s not even on the air anymore.
Later in the day, he referenced his favorite Sesame Street episode – “Texas Telly and the Golden Triangle of Destiny” – from last season.
One characteristic of hyperlexia is “strong auditory memory” coupled with weak auditory processing and expressive language. The more I read about hyperlexia, the more the diagnosis seems to fit. Ryan’s speech therapist gave us a hyperlexia symptom check-list; we checked off 10 of 11 items.
I was thinking about making an appointment with a developmental pediatrician to get a formal diagnosis, but there is a potential pitfall: a diagnosis of hyperlexia instead of PDD-NOS might limit Ryan’s service options within the CSE system. I don’t know if the school district classifies hyperlexia as a spectrum disorder – some say it is an ASD, others do not. If they do not, and if a doctor changed Ryan’s official diagnosis (rather than saying he has PDD and hyperlexia) Ryan might not be eligible to attend the special kindergarten program he’s slated to enter, even though he would obviously be lost without benefit from its services.
Since slapping this label on Ryan wouldn’t benefit him or change his course of treatment in any way, it’s probably not worth while to have some doctor write new jargon all over his chart. But I think I know the answer.