Hi, I am need assitance in figuring out how I screen and source for the best person to help to assist an adult who may have a reading/writing disorder or dyslexia.
I can find folks with expertise in children, however when I ask if they have worked with adults, their responses do not leave me with a high degree of confidence their skill or experience. I believe our health insurance will pay for testing if we start with an MD for diagnois which is why I am looking at neurology. I am also aware of the work done by neurologists in brain imaging of children with dyslexia and some of the phonetic therapy which is another reason why I am looking in the direction of a neurolgist.
A description of the sympotoms and backround:
My wife is 57 years old. In the 10+ years I have known her she has not been a strong reader or writer. She can read a paragraph without problems, a page is harder, and as the text gets longer, well forget it. She was never a great reader or writer in high school as she reports. I have seen some of her home work and it was not college level work. She is gifted with her hands, has a great aural memory and visual memory.
She was a successful patternmaker in the garment industry. She was the person who took the drawing from the fashion designer and made the hard paper pattern from which one to hundreds of thousands of garments were made. She took a job as a technical designer with a catalog retailer in Vermont. For the first time she had to work with computers, email, and the written word to communicate what changes needed to made to the garments. Where it used to be easy for her to look at the fit of a garment and change the shape of physical pattern, she now has to use the written word to communicate this information via e-mail and fill in the blanks for technical documents. It has been a hard road for her for the past 2 and half years but she was learing how to do it.
Last fall I was able to get her to talk with a reading specialist at the local junior college who felt that my wife had an "eye-tracking" and was had "dyslexia". She showed my wife how to use her finger or a piece of paper when reading and not to read stuff on the computer screen, but to print it out. My wife followed her advice and felt that her job performance was improving. We had a opthamologist check for any physyical issue with her eyes and all is well.
Sadly, when she got her annual review, her supervisor put her on a time-lime to improve or get out. With some quick work I was able to find someone who had worked with children and young adults to work with her and we have been able to extend the deadline a little bit. However, this person has been quite honest and feels she is not best person to help my wife. This person, based on her testing feels that my wife should be able to do her job. However this person has never worked with a "high-functioning adult". My wife's employer is willing to work with her, but first we have to figure out the fix.
We have found, by tracking the work product of my wife that the problems she has is erratic. Good one week, bad the next. We don't have enough data to establish a pattern. I also don't have enough data on the type of errors to establish any common thread among them.
What I have found in the process of educating myself about adults with learning disablities and/or dyslexia is a confusing morass of snake-oil salesmen and hucksters all of whom has a magic potion. However the magic potion only works on kids. For adults, its a black hole. No one seems to have any suggestions.
I have contacted the major support groups to little avail. Lots of stuff for kids, little for adults. Seems that adults of my wife age who have reading disorders are bright people and figured out how to survive in their chosen fields, therefore not surfacing for help as do children in an educatioal setting. In my "self-education" to bring my self up to speed I spoke to account managers at Pearson about tests for adult dyslexia and they had nothing (Pearson supplies most of the tests used by clincal pychologists for diagonis)
We are located NE of Albany NY, SW of Rutland Vt, South of Burlington, VT, and NW of Bennington VT.
I am looking for information:
1) What kind of backround in an neurologist should I be looking for?
2) Should I be looking for one in private practise or associated with a university research clinic?
2) What type of testing should be done during the process of diagnosis? (details please )
3) What type of therapies are avialble and what skill sets should I be looking for in the therapist?
Even with so much advancement in the knowledge about Specific Learning Disabilities (SpLD), assessment methods and treatment of adults with SpLD as relatively untouched areas.
Intelligence testing may not be necessary at this age. Cognitive assessment on the Woodcock Johnson's III Battery of tests may be helpful. The Achievement part of the WJ III should be performed. The test can be done in children as well as adults. There are age and grade estimates.
In your wife's case, the relevance of the assessment is the job she is involved in. I guess, a special educator may be able to find out the key areas of difficulty and suggest appropriate remedial measure.
Even I am not experienced in assessing and diagnosing SpLD in middle aged people. But it may not be that difficult a task. I wish I could help you more.
I did not know about the acronym "Specific Learning Disabilities (SpLD)". And your comment on focusing on finding a fix for the job related issue was suggested by another source..see comment by him in the following text.
Just to archive this info for the next person looking for this...
A head of neurology at a teaching hospital suggested I contact the STERN CENTER in Burlington VT. They have a day long diagnostic screening ($1,800 $US).
A neurosurgeon friend of a neighbor (the rewards of being a volunteer EMT are unexpected!) suggest we talk to a collegue of his who is a "cognetive neurologist".
It was suggested by a librarian that I read the book "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Dr. Sally Shaywitz of Yale. ( http://por.med.yale.edu/listings/ses4.html ) ISBN# 0-0735-40012-5
from the publisher... Dr. Shaywitz demystifies the subject of reading difficulties and explains how a child can be helped to become a good reader. She discusses early diagnosis in young children as well as the diagnosing of older children, young adults, and adults. Dr. Shaywitz explains why some bright adults can read only very slowly, and what they can do about it. Her book makes clear how the latest research, including new brain imaging studies, is uncovering the mechanisms underlying dyslexia and has led to effective treatments for each age group.
Dr. Shaywitz instructs parents in what they can do year-by-year, grade-by-grade, step-by-step for a dyslexic child. She lays out a home program for enhanced reading; guides parents in choosing the best school for their child and in working with teachers; and suggests ways of raising and preserving the child?s self-esteem. She provides exercises, teaching aids, information on computer programs, and many other invaluable resources. In addition, her book corrects such popular (and harmful) myths as the belief that dyslexia is primarily a male problem, that children with dyslexia see words backward, that dyslexia is linked to intelligence. She shows us how, although dyslexia cannot be outgrown, its effects can, with careful planning and hard work, be overcome.
Dr. Shaywitz lifts the barrier of ignorance surrounding dyslexia and replaces it with the comfort of knowledge. Here is a trusted source to which you can turn for information, advice, guidance, and explanation. In sum, here is cutting-edge research translated into an easy-to-follow plan of action offering help?and hope?to all who have reading problems, and their families. "
It was also suggested by one correspondant...
"" I can certainly sympathize with you and your wife's situation, whether or
not she has dyslexia. You are absolutely right that resources for diagnosing/treating reading disorders in adults are almost nonexistent (and probably zero in upstate NY). From the information you provided, however, it is not clear that dyslexia is even the culprit. I am attaching a very lengthy paper by the late Anne Fowler and Hollis Scarborough, prepared a decade ago for the National Center on Adult Literacy, which may help clarify what dyslexia is and why it's so hard to diagnose with confidence in adulthood.
I would like to add that there's no rigorous evidence, to my knowledge, that eye-tracking problems cause dyslexia, although there may be a causal link in the other direction. That is, it's possible that someone who doesn't read much or read well will have inexpert-looking eye movements due to lack of skill/practice.
But in any case, at this point the only fix will probably be to figure out a way to compensate to get the job done, rather than to improve her reading skills per se -- which could take a long time even if you found someone with the skills to work on that with her. There are no magic bullets for improving skills, whether it's playing the piano, swinging a golf club, doing Sudoku, or reading. ....""
Also a search on Sally Shaywitz on Google Scholar yeilds some intereting leads...
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