I am 25 years old. I want to go back to College but I really can't read spell or do math I really want some help I have a 1 year old baby who is looking up to me. I live in Wisconsin.


Dr. Pierson's Response: 

I applaud your goal of wanting to go back to school while being a young mother! Good for you. Your best bet is to see if there is someone in your area from the list of providers compiled by the International Dyslexia Association.

You’ll want to begin with a good, comprehensive assessment of your learning strengths and weaknesses. The cost of an evaluation can be daunting for some people. You can see if there is a non-profit organization that might have a reduced rate. Check with a local service club, such as the Elks, Kiwanis, or Rotary Club. You might also inquire at a local college or university about testing and intervention. I had hoped Marquette University might have something, but I did not see anything. Students in the training program would do the testing, but they should be supervised by a seasoned professional. You could check under programs in learning disabilities, psychology, or perhaps speech-language pathology. Not all programs in speech-language pathology have gotten on the bandwagon for training students in literacy, so be sure to ask. If you are not too far from Chicago, Northwestern University would be a good place to inquire.

You’ll also want to be sure that the diagnostician has expertise assessing and working with adults, so be sure to ask about that. The challenge when assessing an adult for dyslexia is that many of the standardized tests are not normed for adults, although there are some standardized assessments. The professional can also use informal assessments to help determine your pattern of strengths and weaknesses, and importantly, where to begin intervention.

When you talk with someone, ask him or her about designing a program that meets your specific needs. Perhaps the professional could meet with you twice a week and then give you work for home on the other days. We know that the more intervention/practice you receive the better your outcomes will be. In the meantime, using audiobooks to help you practice reading is a great option for you. Always read along with the text. We know that the more one reads, the better reader one becomes. You’ll want to ask about assistive software and apps that can help you, particularly with spelling. Math is not my forte, so I can’t help you too much there. We’ve got a lot of software and apps listed the website. A professional can help you determine that which is best for you.

Research has demonstrated that regardless of age, individuals with reading disabilities can make gains with systematic, direct intervention. My colleague at 3LI Dr. Lauren Katz has been working with someone who is 40 years old who is making gains in learning to read and spell! You can, too!

Best of luck! Success Starts Here!