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How do you diagnose dislexia?


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Is there a way to get an official diagnosis for dyslexia? My 8yo son is really struggling with reading/writing. When he was younger I suspected dyslexia but after reading realized he was too young for even suspicions. Since then he has quit writing words backwards so much and quit flipping letters and #'s as often. I felt better about it until I received an email from AAS with a link to dyslexia symptoms. I'm C & P the list of symptoms... he has them all the ones I made red.

 

He can barely decode still despite working endlessly with me and with his teacher and a tutor when he was still in PS. He cannot spell and he could read a word (such as get or the) 10 times in the same reader and have to sound it out every time.

 

He has a huge list of the symptoms... does that neccesarily mean he has dislexia? If he does where do I go from here? I'm feeling overwhelmed atm... I'm not even really sure what I'm looking for here :(

 

Reading problems

 

 

 

  • Oral reading is choppy, not fluent and smooth.
  • Reads words in the wrong order.
  • Skips small words such as a, the, to, of, were, and from.
  • Recognizes a word on one page but not on the next page.
  • Inserts extra letters in a word when reading. For example, may read tail as trail. The misread word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
  • Deletes letters in a word when reading. For example, may read sag instead of sang. Again, the misread word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
  • Switches the order of letters in a word. For example, may read mug as gum.
  • Substitutes words with similar meanings when reading stories. For example, may read said instead of shouted.
  • Substitutes similar-looking words, such as house for horse.
  • Ignores punctuation when reading.
  • Makes up part of the story based on the illustrations or context clues.
  • Loses place on the page, skips lines, or rereads lines.
  • Reads at a level substantially below that of peers.
  • Poor reading comprehension.
  • Difficulty reading single words on a flashcard.
  • Is fatigued after reading for a short time.

 

Spelling problems

 

 

 

  • Inserts extra letters in a word when spelling. For example, may write tail as trail. The misspelled word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
  • Deletes letters in a word when spelling. For example, may write caft instead of craft. Again, the misspelled word often has the same beginning and ending letter.
  • Switches the order of letters in a word. For example, may write speical instead of special.
  • Has difficulty copying words from another paper or the board. Copies letter by letter, referring to the original copy for almost every letter.
  • Messy papers, including many crossed-out or erased words.
  • Misspells many common words like said, there, and does.
  • May be able to spell the words on a spelling test after much studying, but then misspells the same words outside of spelling class.

 

Speech problems

 

 

 

  • Learns to talk later than expected. Most children say their first words around 12 months of age and phrases by 18-24 months.
  • Speaks in “baby talk†longer than his or her peers, sometimes until he or she is five or six years old.
  • Mispronounces words like spaghetti (pisgetti), animal (aminal), or specific (pacific).
  • Has difficulty repeating multisyllable words.
  • Difficulty retrieving words. Has the sensation that words are at the tip of the tongue, but inaccessible. Uses vague words like “stuff†instead of more descriptive words.

 

Sequencing problems

 

Dyslexics often have difficulty with sequencing (remembering a sequence). This leads to symptoms such as:

 

 

  • Difficulty remembering the entire alphabet.
  • Difficulty following instructions that have more than one step.
  • Difficulty remembering phone numbers.
  • Difficulty following spoken instructions.

 

Handwriting problems

 

Many dyslexics also have dysgraphia, which is a developmental disability that makes it difficult to master handwriting. Dysgraphia can be related in part to sequencing difficulties and in part to fine-motor control.

 

 

  • Slow, laborious writing.
  • Irregularly shaped letters.
  • Improper pencil grip.
  • Dominant hand isn’t established until later than peers. May switch from right to left hand while writing or coloring until after age 7 or 8.
  • May write letters in the wrong direction. For example, instead of writing an o in a clockwise direction, child may write it in a counter-clockwise direction. Instead of starting the letter l at the top, child may start the letter from the bottom.
  • Confuses letters with a similar shape, especially the pairs b-d, m-w, and n-u.
  • Improper use of uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Poor spacing between letters, words, and sentences.
  • Handwriting looks “childlike†even into the teen years.

 

Edited by angelmorris
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Yes and no. "Dyslexia" is actually not an official mental health diagnosis and a lot of professionals don't use it. They use another term that means the same thing. :)

 

You can get an evaluation done either privately or quite possibly by your school system. If the school does it, their testing will be free. Write a letter to the director of special education stating that your child struggles with reading and written language and you suspect that he has a learning disability. Request an evaluation. You can list the symptoms in the letter, but don't offer up a diagnosis . The school will at least do an IQ test and an achievement test. If you decide that you want further testing, you can take their results to someone private. They won't repeat those tests and you'll save money.

 

We had a good evaluation experience with a private neuropsychologist. She was about 1/7 the going rate, so we didn't go the school route.

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I went to the ps for testing when my dd was starting 2nd grade. At minimum, you want an IQ test, an achievement test, and the CTOPP test.

 

I didn't have any problems at doing the testing through the school. They diagnosed my dd with a severe learning disability affecting all academic areas, but strongest in reading and written expression.

 

I took all the test scores they gave me and posted them everywhere I could think of. I got some great feedback from people on dyslexiasupport2 that led me to programs that actually worked for my dd. It took several years, but by the end of 4th grade, my dd was actually reading at grade level. She will always be dyslexic. It is something that she will always have to compensate for. However, she is working at grade level in all areas except writing.

 

email loops that are likely to be particularly helpful:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/dyslexiasupport2/ -- primarily people in ps, but a lot of hsers too

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HeartofReading/ -- primarily hsers, but some people in ps

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Personally I would assume he does have dyslexia and choose material based on that assumption. I would choose the most pressing battle and fight that one. It sounds like reading to me, maybe writing too? Are you using AAS? If you aren't I would look into a good O/g program like Barton Reading. AAS is also o/g based but it doesn't have the reading portion that Barton does. BTW there are less expensive O/G program, Barton is probably the easiest to use, and I am impressed with the amount of hands on work and catchy phrases they use to remember things.

 

For handwriting I do a lot of work in sand writing letters, making letters with playdough (with both I also incorporate saying their phonics sounds). My ds actually is severely lacking in hand fine motor skills, so I have him working through a folding and cutting Kumon books to build those skills. I also pick up other things like lacing crafts (when I can find one that is boyish), or Pealer beads.

 

Most of all it takes time and lots of lots of repetition.

 

Heather

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I am using AAS which is going OK I suppose... what is Barton's? I've never heard of that one. Reading is my #1 concern right now. I just want him to get past decoding simple words.

 

AAS is a good program, but you have to slow it down for most dyslexic students. My 3rd dd only does 5 words with tiles a day, and then the next days writes them out. She does 4 words of review daily, so she almost does as much review as she does moving forward. While I think AAS can work for dyslexic students, I think many would benefit from Barton, which will explain things AAS does not, and will build in more review and work with nonsense words to make sure the child understands the material.

 

Barton Reading is a program designed especially for dyslexic students. It is expensive but you get a full DVD set with each level to teach you how to teach the program. It is also scripted like AAS. The author also makes herself available to answer questions, so very user friendly.

 

If I were starting out again I would use Barton, but at this point I have been doing this for years, so I just add even more O/G elements to AAS, and readers that I already own. I also have a couple other o/g manuals and use their ideas as well.

 

Heather

 

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Seriously, I would just proceed as if he does have dyslexia. You know the areas he struggles in, so pursue the materials that will help him. You are using an Orton Gillingham program with AAS, so you're on the right track there. How long have you been using it? What level/step are you on? I've got two kids who also have many of the symptoms on the list, and it was tough to get them reading (I used Reading Reflex, another OG-based system--didn't have AAS back then!). AAS is great for review because you can customize it to your kids needs. Kids with dyslexia need lots and lots of review. Sometimes people move things to "mastered" too quickly when kids really need more time. Don't feel like you have to rush ahead, spend as much time with each lesson as he needs. What are you using for reading instruction? My kids reading levels jumped 2 grades after a year with AAS, so it can help with that too. I'd encourage you to do some reading about Dyslexia so that you can continue to learn and grow as a teacher--but don't let the "idea" of it scare you. You can be a great teacher for your son. Hang in there!

 

Merry :-)

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AAS is a good program, but you have to slow it down for most dyslexic students. My 3rd dd only does 5 words with tiles a day, and then the next days writes them out. She does 4 words of review daily, so she almost does as much review as she does moving forward. While I think AAS can work for dyslexic students, I think many would benefit from Barton, which will explain things AAS does not, and will build in more review and work with nonsense words to make sure the child understands the material.

 

Barton Reading is a program designed especially for dyslexic students. It is expensive but you get a full DVD set with each level to teach you how to teach the program. It is also scripted like AAS. The author also makes herself available to answer questions, so very user friendly.

 

If I were starting out again I would use Barton, but at this point I have been doing this for years, so I just add even more O/G elements to AAS, and readers that I already own. I also have a couple other o/g manuals and use their ideas as well.

 

Heather

 

 

:iagree: I have AAS sitting on a shelf because it didn't work at all for my dyslexic kid. We're on Level 2 of Barton, and I love it. It's very easy to use. All of the multisensory activity is built into the program, so I never have to stop and think about what I am supposed to be doing... I just follow the script. There are multiple multisensory activities; it's more than just using tiles. Can you tell I can't say enough good things about Barton? :001_smile:

 

He can barely decode still despite working endlessly with me and with his teacher and a tutor when he was still in PS. He cannot spell and he could read a word (such as get or the) 10 times in the same reader and have to sound it out every time.

 

It sounds like he needs some work on his phonemic awareness (pre-reading auditory skills). If you go to http://www.bartonreading.com, you will find a student screening test that you can use for free. Based on which parts of the test a student can or can't pass, there are links to give you additional recommendations. If you give your son the test, then come here and let us know the results, we can help you decide on the next step. He may not be ready to start an Orton-Gillingham based program yet.

 

The author of Barton Reading and Spelling has a second website that is a wealth of information about dyslexia, http://www.dys-add.com. Some books I particularly like are The Mislabeled Child and The Everything Parents Guide to Dyslexia. Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz is also very popular.

Edited by LizzyBee
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My ds (8) has ALL of the dyslexia reading and spelling problems and some of the handwriting problems. I did not get him officially tested, but I read enough books and websites to come to the dyslexia conclusion. I looked into all the programs available, but I don't think some of them are worth the money they cost.

 

 

I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a multi-sensoral approach to reading and writing for him. In only 2 months, his reading and writing have skyrocketed to slightly above grade level. I still worry that it may plateau, so we keep plugging on and he enjoys it all immensely. If you're set on buying a program, maybe you can try some of what we're doing in the meantime:

 

  • Phonics and sight-word flash cards. Make a game out of it and have him write out the ones he misses on a dry-erase board. Ds would do sentences and alphabetical order with the words he missed
  • Hooked on Phonics Master Reader. This CDRom program is challenging, but effective. For ages 7-11.
  • Cursive writing or calligraphy practice. Learning a new way to write is so fun - especially with special pens. Let him read to you and keep a list of the words he misses. We did this with Owl at Home.
  • Copywork. One sentence of a really great poem. We use children's poetry books and we're using Mother Goose this month. Read/sing a bunch of Mother Goose rhymes together, then let him copy some. Copying something when you know what it says (or singing it in your head) is great for word recognition.
  • Make word projects. Create your own Old Maid cards with funny rhyming names for the characters. Let him write the names and draw the pictures. Then play.
  • Math. Is he good at math? Find some basic word problems to do. We use Teaching Textbooks Math (CDRom program) and I love that he enjoys following along with the lecture (on the screen and in the workbook).
  • Give him a few catalogs and tell him to write out his Christmas list (or just a list of everything he wants). Watch how fast he grabs that pencil. :D
  • Cooking. Find a good cookie recipe and let him help by reading you the ingredients. Let him do most of the prep work. This also works with food shopping. Writing out the list, using the list to find things, etc.
  • Close-captioning. I sometimes put the close-captioning on his favorite tv stations.
  • Car games. Start with "A" and find words that begin with each letter of the alphabet as you drive around town. My kids loved this and asked to play this for months.
  • Read to him a lot and let him follow your finger as you read.
  • Don't make any of these seem like "work". Have fun together with it and be extremely proud of the small accomplishments.

 

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Wow thank you so much for all the fabulous suggestions. I am going to go look into Barton's and have him take that test.

He "knows" the first 26 phonograms in AAS but implementing them is another story. We're only on step 12 right now so not too far into it. I could still get my $ back at this point if I decide it's not for us.

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OK first there's no way I can afford the Barton's :(

Secondly he passed the A & C But not the B. No matter how much I explained the clapping I couldn't get him to pass it?? Is that normal for dyslexics? My younger daughter could do it no problem after a short explanation.

He really has a good grasp on phonics because I just kept drilling phonics into him before I realized his problem was something more.

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OK first there's no way I can afford the Barton's :(

Secondly he passed the A & C But not the B. No matter how much I explained the clapping I couldn't get him to pass it?? Is that normal for dyslexics? My younger daughter could do it no problem after a short explanation.

He really has a good grasp on phonics because I just kept drilling phonics into him before I realized his problem was something more.

 

Keep in mind that if you want to use Barton, you only have to buy one module at a time, and the modules have a very good resale value. I think most people are able to sell their modules for $50-$75 less than the new price.

 

Not being able to clap syllables is common with dyslexics. We just kept practicing until my dd could do it. Others might have specific suggestions to help.

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OK first there's no way I can afford the Barton's :(

Secondly he passed the A & C But not the B. No matter how much I explained the clapping I couldn't get him to pass it?? Is that normal for dyslexics? My younger daughter could do it no problem after a short explanation.

He really has a good grasp on phonics because I just kept drilling phonics into him before I realized his problem was something more.

 

 

Heart of Reading is a yahoo group dedicated to struggling readers. There are a lot of Barton users who sell their levels on there. There is also an authorized used sales person on ebay. Authorized means you are registered with Susan Barton so you can by extra tiles, otherwise you can't purchase the tiles as she only sells the to people who have bought the level.

 

Like Elizabeth stated most people who use Barton's sell one level to pay for the next.

 

Wilson Reading and Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) are two programs I have also heard very good things about. I don't think either have as good a support as Barton. PAF is used in a dyslexia school in New York, so if you live in the area you can go visit and see it implemented. I have a friend using it with good results. With Wilson the person I know who has used it says you need the videos.

 

There are other programs as well, Recipe for Reading, Horizons Reading, SPIRE, Seeing Stars (which works on "seeing" letters and words in the child's mind, which some kids lack), though the last two I think are limited on the amount of hands on activities they use. I think Seeing Stars is actually meant to be used with LiPS (I have the Seeing Stars manual and it references LiPS), which has a lot more hands on activities. I own LiPS but I haven't seriously gone through the learning to read section to see if it would be a viable stand alone reading program. That part of the manual looks a little skinny to be a full program, KWIM? Probably more than you need to know, but I am kinda working through this stuff too.

 

Heather

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Wow thank you so much for all the fabulous suggestions. I am going to go look into Barton's and have him take that test.

He "knows" the first 26 phonograms in AAS but implementing them is another story. We're only on step 12 right now so not too far into it. I could still get my $ back at this point if I decide it's not for us.

 

Definitely return it if it doesn't work out for you. However, I'd also encourage you to email them and describe what you're struggling with in the program & what isn't working for you, for ideas to help. Lesson 12 isn't very far into the program. Does he understand segmenting? Does he hear--and can he correctly say--the vowel sounds? Sometimes mistakes are a matter of not hearing the sounds correctly (we worked a lot on short e vs. short i. And for some reason, u's really stumped my oldest!). When you say he isn't implementing, does that mean within the program, or in writing he's doing outside the program, or in reading...?

 

Syllables were a tough concept for my kids. Here is an article on Syllable Types that has some great information on how to explain syllables to your child. But if your child is still having trouble with this concept, here are some game-like approaches you might enjoy.

 

First, make sure your child understands what a syllable is. A syllable has only one vowel sound. It can have zero, one, or more consonant sounds, but must have only one vowel sound. (There can be more than one vowel in a syllable, as with vowel teams like the ‘ee’ in meet, when two vowels stand for one sound.).

 

Here are some activities that might help your child identify syllables:

 

 

  • For each syllable, jump in place. "Di-no-saur" would be three hops. "Happy" would be two hops. Model this for your child several times per day: first you do it and then he does it. Or make it a game: you say a word for him to hop, and then he says a word for you to hop.

 

 

  • Compare syllables to beats in music. Let your child clap hands, snap fingers, or beat a drum with every syllable.

 

 

  • Sing simple songs with a STRONG BEAT that your child knows. For example, Yankee Doodle. For each beat in the song, clap. "Yank – ee - Doo- dle - went - to -town -a -ri - ding - on- a -po -ny." Each of you could also beat out the rhythm on a homemade drum (box and spoon, or oatmeal container and chopsticks). Call it music class, and work on it a little each day. Make sure you pick songs where only one syllable is sung per beat.

 

 

  • Play “going to the zoo.†Each person takes turns calling out animal names and then you can all hop, beat, or clap to the syllables.

 

 

  • Tape written syllables onto blocks and have them build the word with the blocks. Then they can “see†how many syllables are in the word by counting the blocks. Make sure they also say each syllable as they place the blocks, because the goal is for your child to hear the syllables.

 

 

  • Use compound words. Clap once for “hot,†then once for “dog,†and then put it together and clap “hotdog.â€

 

  • Try clapping this rhyme with your children. Tell them ahead of time, “On some of the beats, there is more than one syllable. Some of those syllables snuck in without permission! Listen carefully for the sneakers and see if you can ‘catch’ them, and tell me how many there are.â€

Clap the four beats as you say, “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.†Stop at the end of this phrase and ask your children if they caught any sneakers. If they guess part or all of them, praise them & see if they can tell you how many. You could say, “That’s right, “buckle,†and “my†too! I said all of that during only one clap! How many syllables is that? You count two? Let me try…’buc-kle-my…’ I count THREE! Those sneakers! Let’s try the next line!â€

 

Three, four, shut the door (“shut the†has two syllables on one beat)

Five, six, pick up sticks (“pick up†has two syllables on one beat)

Seven, eight, lay them straight (“seven†and “lay them†both have two syllables on one beat).

Nine, ten, a big fat hen. (“a big fat†has three syllables on one beat)

 

Some children confuse the idea of “sounds†with “syllables,†and will tell you how many sounds a word has. If that happens, say, “You’re right, ‘cat’ has 3 sounds. A syllable is different from the sounds though. A syllable is a group of sounds put together in one beat.†Then demonstrate by clapping with the Yankee Doodle song slowly to show them the chunks.

 

This is a hard concept for some children, so don’t lose heart, your child will get it!

 

Merry :-)

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Is Phonics Road to Reading or SWR good for dyslexia? I have a daughter that has auditory processing issues and I was thinking of trying one of those as a preventative measure. Are they OK for that purpose?

 

I am not familiar with Phonics Road to Reading, so I can't speak to that one. WRTR and SWR modify Orton Gillingham methodology for neurotypical kids. They retain some elements of OG methods, but not all. So, imo they are not suitable for most dyslexic kids.

 

I used SWR for a year with my mildly dyslexic dd before I knew she was dyslexic. She made very little progress and it was the year she began pulling her hair while calling herself stupid.

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Is Phonics Road to Reading or SWR good for dyslexia? I have a daughter that has auditory processing issues and I was thinking of trying one of those as a preventative measure. Are they OK for that purpose?

 

They are stronger than most programs' date=' but still have issues that might make them difficult to use with dyslexic students.

 

I prefer the use of tiles because it adds both a hands on and a visual element (especially for your child, given the auditory issues). O/G programs generally cover one rule or one new letter sound at a time, where both PR and SWR will cover a variety of sounds and rules on one spelling list.

 

For example in AAS you cover how c can say /s/ or /k/. You learn the rule, c says /s/ before e, i and y. And you learn that you first try C when you run into the /k/ sound at the beginning of a word. Then you have a spelling lists where all the words start with the /k/ sound and the child has to apply what they have just learned. (BTW this is the sample for book 1 on up on the website if you want to see what it looks like). With SWR the first list will have short vowels, open vowels, and the 3rd sounds of vowels as well as the doubling l rule, c says /s/ before e, i and y and the Y standing in for the final sound /i/. You can see the first list here on CBD. That is a lot to cover.

 

My oldest two were 3rd grade when they started SWR, and both did fine with it. They both were already reading well. My 3rd dd I tried to start her on it last year in 2nd. She wasn't reading fluently, and it totally overwhelmed her. She was in tears daily, and was convinced she was a horrible speller. I bought AAS for her and it made a huge difference! She enjoys AAS. Then all the other kiddo's thought it looked like more fun and switched over. My oldest does still want to go back to SWR and finish the lists, but use more of the AAS methods of review with it.

 

The other differences is SWR doesn't teach syllable rules. It has the child clap syllables, but not the rules so they can decode words they don't know. SWR uses the trial methods of just trying the different sounds possible. Most o/g programs also use units, which is common words groups like -ont, -ang. This requires more memorization up front but increases fluency and decoding later on. Last most o/g programs include nonsense words, so the child has to apply the rules in a situation where the word is not familiar. This makes sure they really own the rule. Though AAS has neither nonsense words nor units work. It is sort of mid road between full o/g programs and SWR/vertical phonics programs (it is also mid way in price, which is why I use it).

 

They are strong programs, and your dd might do well with them. If you can manage it I would look at something along the lines of Barton Reading, Wilson Reading or AAS instead. There is less chances of having problems, IMO.

 

Heather

 

Edited by siloam
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So All About Spelling sounds like it might be a better choice for a child with possible dyslexia? It's hard to sort out because each program (of course) says they are the perfect choice for children with dyslexia. It's good to hear what works for parents.

 

I've read Overcoming Dyslexia and it does seem like my child has the preliminary issues that lead to dyslexia later on. I am really trying to find a program that will avert that tendency. Thanks so much for your advice. I will definitely look into AAS. Barton just seems too expensive.

 

I will be interested in hearing what the OP ends up using too!

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So All About Spelling sounds like it might be a better choice for a child with possible dyslexia? It's hard to sort out because each program (of course) says they are the perfect choice for children with dyslexia. It's good to hear what works for parents.

 

I've read Overcoming Dyslexia and it does seem like my child has the preliminary issues that lead to dyslexia later on. I am really trying to find a program that will avert that tendency. Thanks so much for your advice. I will definitely look into AAS. Barton just seems too expensive.

 

I will be interested in hearing what the OP ends up using too!

 

I would choose AAS over a vertical phonics program....actually I did. :D

 

There are programs in between Barton and AAS. AAS doesn't have an integrated reading program. Wilson' date=' Preventing Academic Failure, Seeing Stars, and Recipe for Reading are all recommended on my o/g yahoo group. Of those I would recommend Wilson first because it uses tiles and taps where with the other programs the main hands on method is writing and a few use air writing. Those run around the $500 range for a full program, usually that goes through 12th grade reading, not just 3rd grade phonics.

 

AAS is nice through because you can buy one level at a time, and the cost of each level isn't out of this world. I am myself at a cross roads trying to decide if I want to mash together my LiPS, Seeing Stars manual, AAS levels and various readers into a program or if I want to buy and official program that coordinates it all for me. Decisions, decisions....

 

Heather

 

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I am sticking with AAS for the moment. I want to at least get a little more into it after putting out the $$ before I discount it.

If I find we cannot get where we need to be with what I have now I will consider Barton's. It's just SO pricey I want to try other routes first.

Thank you so much for all of your support!

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