Have you seen this sign around town? Just to be clear, I am not poking fun about the language-based learning disability dyslexia itself, which affects so many children and adults. It's this sign.
First, reading letters out of order is one possible (though not universal) manifestation of dyslexia. So who exactly is this sign meant for? Someone who may have trouble processing language, and they’re supposed to read it while driving by? And read and memorize a 10-digit phone number that isn’t 888-888-8888?
And why is Dyslexia in all caps like you’re shouting? I’d think you’d want to go for a more subdued and professional approach.
I wanted to know what was up with these signs – I see them everywhere around Columbia, Maryland – so I Googled them. It turns out they are advertising assessment and therapy for one of the many franchise clinics of the Dyslexia Institutes of America (DIA) (http://www.dyslexiainstitutes.com/).
So the way to attract potential patients is by posting road signs the same way you would advertise an open house in real estate?
If you are considering contacting them, I encourage you to check out their web site and ask for the staff credentials. Why? Here are the requirements to open a franchise (pulled from their own web site http://www.dyslexiainstitutes.com/franchising.php):
"You do not need highly specialized training and are not required to diagnose or prescribe treatment for your clients. Each Clinic simply have on staff a director, either full or part time who is a certified teacher, preferably (sic) with experience in Special Education. As your service provider, we will prepare all client assessment results and therapy prescriptions for you. Your clinic will interview and test new clients, and administer and monitor their ongoing treatments.”
So at a minimum, they need to hire a part-time teacher, preferably with experience in Special Education. OK…what about training? Here’s what every new franchise receives:
“A two-week training period is provided for all new franchises. During this training you will learn management, operations, marketing, testing, and therapy procedures of the clinic. You will be given hands-on training and observation in therapy procedures and diagnostic testing. Manuals for operating the clinic will be provided for you.”
Wow, a whole two weeks and a manual. So you don't need 5 to 7 years of graduate school or an internship like a clinical psychologist. That's convenient!
If you’d like more concrete information on Dyslexia, here’s the web site for the International Dyslexia Association (IDA): http://www.interdys.org/index.htm
Let’s just hope someone doesn’t start franchising assessment & treatment clinics for depression and anxiety. I can see the signs now: “Depressed??? Worried??? Pissed??? Call Depression Institutes of America RIGHT NOW before something really bad happens.”