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autism spectrum disorder, decoding, hyperlexia, language intervention, priming, scaffolding



  1. Craig, Holly K. PhD, CCC
  2. Telfer, Ann Sexton MA


This case study describes Jason, a child with an autism spectrum disorder and hyperlexia. Hyperlexia is a condition characterized by precocious single-word recognition skills and weaker comprehension skills. Jason demonstrated advanced writing skills and a strong general preference for learning materials presented visually rather than orally. His speech-language pathologists, parents, tutors, and teachers used his exceptional skills in decoding and writing to scaffold his growth in oral language comprehension and interactive turn-taking over time. His reading skills supported his learning to comprehend Wh-questions presented orally, and to take turns appropriately in individual and group language intervention. In addition, visual scaffolding was used to prime the language necessary to complete lessons in the academic content areas, with positive outcomes. Overall, the case study underscores the need for clinicians to look at a child's behavioral profile in a comprehensive way so that no potential supports for language growth are overlooked.