What does that say?
March 2, 2006 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Help me help someone with literacy problems.

I've been asked by a woman to take her through the AA 12-step recovery programme. The problem is that she has literacy difficulties and says that she can't read the AA Big Book or 12 x 12.

I know they're available on tape or CD, so that's not a problem. She'll be able to get hold of audio copies and listen to them.

Nor do I intend to teach her to read. That's not what she's asked me for help with.

The AA programme involves, amongst other things, taking personal inventory, making a list of people harmed and various other stuff. The way I (and most people) work through this is by writing stuff down. But she won't be able to do that.

What I'd like from you good people is some pointers, tips, info, hints, whatever, on how to work through such a programme with someone who can't read.

Any experience would be welcome, this question isn't limited only to people who've worked a 12-step programme. If you have a child or sibling with similar problems, how have you been able to help them with schoolwork? Do you have a co-worker who has learning difficulties? What do you do to help?
posted by essexjan to Education (5 answers total)
She could use a voice recorder to record her lists and inventories. And, there are thousands of free literacy programs all over the country that are run by non-profits. I used to work at one, and many, many of our students were in AA. She could also talk to an AA counselor about any alternative methods that they might know of.
posted by exacta_perfecta at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2006

Response by poster: AA doesn't have counsellors, it works through individual members working with other members. The voice recorder is a great idea. She's not interested in learning to read, and it's not my business to push that on her if she doesn't want it, much as I think it would be a good idea.
posted by essexjan at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2006

Best answer: For a list of people harmed, she could perhaps create a photo album of some kind. She could use actual photos of family or friends, or use magazines to create representations (e.g. this cake from an ad represents grandma the baker).
posted by xo at 11:27 AM on March 2, 2006

Is it not practical for her sponsor to be her stenographer in this? Obviously it makes a serious obligation even more onerous but it's hard to imagine a voice record being very convenient to consult in the future and nigh impossible to amend.
posted by phearlez at 12:01 PM on March 2, 2006

Does she or her sponsor have an answering machine? Something that I do when I need to remember something, but don't have a paper or pen, is to call my voicemail and leave myself a message. That way someone else can listen in on the message and transcribe it for her.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:39 PM on March 2, 2006

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