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Good thing I was born before the current craze to identify every unusual ability as some sort of autism, some sort of disorder. The article I read recently said that hyperlexia has just been declassified as a form of autism, that some children learn to read earlier than others.

Well thank goodness for that. If I'd been exposed to psychologists and therapists and medications and forced to think of myself as aberrant, I would have been a very unhappy camper indeed. Particularly if I'd been stuffed into a class with other "strange" children as though I were some sort of zoo animal, to be studied and analyzed.

Yes, I learned to read early. I can remember in my kindergarten class reading out loud to the other children and showing them the pictures while my teacher sat and smiled, showering positive feedback on us all (I now realize, though at the time I thought it was for me alone).

Starting in the first grade, I read through all the first, second, third grade books in the first semester (the teachers would quiz me on reading comprehension and I always could summarize accurately). By the fourth grade I was reading on a high school level and my teachers were at their wits' end trying to find me appropriate materials. They would have preferred me to be an ordinary student, maybe bright but in the normal pattern.

I'd get bored in class and my attention would wander, and I'd have no idea what question the teacher had just asked nor what subject we were studying. The only really fun thing I can remember was the Terman Binet Intelligence test (don't remember name for sure), which was a blast. I loved being challenged beyond my current level.

It wasn't until I went to Stanford that I realized how very average I am. I was not an outstanding college student; I struggled to maintain a B average for my tuition scholarship, while at the same time working two part-time jobs to pay for room and board.

Realizing that I wasn't the most intelligent person in the room was a great experience; I learned to listen to others' views and respect the professors' erudition and expertise.

That was the real value of a university education. Not the jobs training or the career path, but a true education in critical thinking and advanced expertise/exploration in the sciences, philosophy, history.

And the people skills, during college and later during life experiences, combined with rigorous academic training have stood me in good stead all my life.

Highly recommended. Jobs training not an adequate substitute.

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