Bit of a Memory & Opportunity Lost

Within my university classes recently, we’ve been discussing the educational system and how it may be a disabling factor for some of our students receiving educational support. This has been my career, mind you, so my hope is that I didn’t lose many of the following kinds of opportunities. I recall a day walking the halls with a preschooler (3-4 years old), who was nonverbal, having said limited, if any, words to this point (we’d met this child as a near three-year-old). The child and I were taking a break from the chaos of the classroom, which was occasionally necessary best practice due to their sensory processing issues. We stopped by a large poster on the wall and I crouched to their level. We stared at the picture together, or I stared at the picture, but the child apparently stared at the words. Suddenly, I heard words arise through their voice and noted that those words were on the poster. It was only 2-3 words, but they were definitely on the poster. I stared at the child now, and repeated those words, as was customary for me (always repeat what the limited-talker is saying to acknowledge and encourage). My smile was so broad as we returned to the classroom together, where I was immediately pulled into my classroom duties, tending to the large group of children again. I held my excitement until the children left for the day, then shared with my colleagues. Is our nonverbal child actually hyperlexic and able to read? We never pursued this factor at that point in time due to the number of needs in our classroom, and the lack of adequate staff. It was definitely a lost opportunity that obviously haunts me to this day. However, we must not get bogged down with lost opportunities, but instead learn from them, which I believe I did. Going forward, I observed carefully the possibility of hyperlexia in young children, especially those who may not yet be using their voices.

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