Audience Adaptation, according to our textbook, is the process of changing your

Audience Adaptation, according to our textbook, is the process of changing your delivery of technical information to better match the background, knowledge, and needs of your intended audience (McMurrey, 2019, para. 12).
In particular, when writing for non-specialist audiences, technical writers can take advantage of various different “controls” that can help them adapt complex texts into material that non-specialists can understand and use.
For this week’s concept worksheet, your task is to use these “controls” to make a difficult, complex text more understandable and useful to a non-specialist audience.
Begin by reviewing the Audience Adaptation section of this week’s reading.
Pick five different controls to help you adapt the text below.
Copy the text into a document and revise, change, and improve it using the controls you’ve chosen. When your revisions are complete, the text should be greatly improved and far more useful for a non-specialist audience. This may include significant simplification and shortening of the existing text.
Finally, write a 2-3 paragraph reflection that explains which controls you used and how they helped the text become more understandable and useful for a non-specialist audience.
Text to be adapted: Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought that changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain. Previously healthy neurons stopped functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus and cortex, the parts of the brain essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
There are ten symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease: Forgetting recently learned information that disrupts daily life. This includes forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. This is different than a typical age-related change of sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.
Challenges in planning or solving problems. This includes changes in an individual’s ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. For example, they may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. This is different from a typical age-related change of making occasional errors when managing finances or household bills.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks. This includes trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list, or remembering the rules of a favorite game. This symptom is different from a typical age-related change of occasionally needing help to use microwave settings or to record a TV show.
Confusion with time or place. This includes losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. Individuals may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. This symptom is different from a typical age-related change of forgetting the date or day of the week but figuring it out later.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Vision problems that include difficulty judging distance, determining color or contrast, or causing issues with balance or driving can be symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This is different from a typical age-related change of blurred vision related to presbyopia or cataracts.
New problems with words in speaking or writing. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue, or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object, or use the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”). This is different from a typical age-related change of having trouble finding the right word.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. They may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses. This is different from a typical age-related change of misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.
Decreased or poor judgment. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money or pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. This is different from a typical age-related change of making a bad decision or mistake once in a while, like neglecting to change the oil in the car.
Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, he or she may withdraw from hobbies, social activities, or other engagements. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite team or activity. This is different from a typical age-related change of sometimes feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.
Changes in mood and personality. Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, with friends, or when out of their comfort zone. This is different from a typical age-related change of developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
There are three stages of dementia: early, moderate, and advanced. Early stages of dementia include the ten symptoms previously discussed. Patients with moderate dementia require additional assistance with reminders to eat, wash, and use the restroom. They may not recognize family and friends. Behavioral symptoms such as wandering, getting lost, hallucinations, delusions, and repetitive behavior may occur. Patients living at home may engage in risky behavior, such as leaving the house in clothing inappropriate for weather conditions or leaving the stove burners on. Patients with advanced dementia require full assistance in washing, dressing, eating, and toileting. They often have urinary and bowel incontinence. Their gait becomes shuffled or unsteady. There may be increased aggressive behavior, disinhibition, or inappropriate laughing. Eventually they have difficulty eating, swallowing, and speaking, and seizures may develop.
There is no single diagnostic test that can determine if a person has Alzheimer’s disease. Health care providers use a patient’s medical history, mental status tests, physical and neurological exams, and diagnostic tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. During the neurological exam, reflexes, coordination, muscle tone and strength, eye movement, speech, and sensation are tested. Mental status testing evaluates memory, thinking, and simple problem-solving abilities. Some tests are brief, whereas others can be more time-intensive and complex. These tests give an overall sense of whether a person is aware of their symptoms; knows the date, time, and place where they are; can remember a short list of words; and if they can follow instructions and do simple calculations. The Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) and Mini-Cog test are two commonly used assessments. During the MMSE, a health professional asks a patient a series of questions designed to test a range of everyday mental skills. The maximum MMSE score is 30 points. A score of 20 to 24 suggests mild dementia, 13 to 20 suggests moderate dementia, and less than 12 indicates severe dementia. On average, the MMSE score of a person with Alzheimer’s declines about two to four points each year.
During the Mini-Cog, a person is asked to complete two tasks: remember and then later repeat the names of three common objects and draw a face of a clock showing all 12 numbers in the right places with the time indicated as specified by the examiner. The results of this brief test will determine if further evaluation is needed. In addition to assessing mental status, the health care provider evaluates a person’s sense of well-being to detect depression or other mood disorders that can cause memory problems, loss of interest in life, and other symptoms that can overlap with dementia. Diagnostic testing for Alzheimer’s disease may include structural imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). These tests are primarily used to rule out other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s but require different treatment. For example, structural imaging can reveal brain tumors, evidence of strokes, damage from head trauma, or a buildup of fluid in the brain.
-Text adapted from Nursing Fundamentals under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,Links to an external site. which allows remixing, transforming, and building upon the original.
Open Resources for Nursing (Open RN). (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Disease. In K. Ernstmeyer & E. Christman (Eds.), Nursing Fundamentals. Chippewa Valley Technical College. to an external site.