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Learning Disabilities

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Welcome to the Learning Disabilities page at the Resource Center! We hope that you find this page to be a wealth of information on learning disabilities and, specifically, how learning disabilities affect our adult literacy learners. It is estimated that anywhere from 50-80% of learners in adult literacy programs cope with learning disabilities, so chances are that you will have or have already had a student who is learning disabled.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view archived copies of Progress; Acrobat is a free download that will allow you to view and print PDF documents.

Associations

Learning Disabilities Association of America
LDA is the largest non-profit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities and has over 200 state and local affiliates in 42 states and Puerto Rico.
Learning Disabilities Worldwide
Learning Disabilities Worldwide (LDW) works to enhance the lives of individuals with learning disabilities by increasing awareness and understanding of learning disabilities through their multilingual media productions and publications that serve populations across cultures and nation.

Websites

National Center for Learning Disabilities
NLD provides essential information to parents, professionals and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and programs to foster effective learning and advocates for policies to protect and strengthen educational rights and opportunities.
LD Online
LD OnLine.org is the leading information service in the field of learning disabilities, serving more than 200,000 parents, teachers, and other professionals each month.
LD Resources
The LD Resources web site has been providing information for people with learning disabilities and people who work with people with learning disabilities since 1995.
AssistiveTech.net
The mission of this organization is to provide access to information on Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public.
Minnesota Adult Basic Education Disabilities Website
The Minnesota Adult Basic Education (ABE) Fully-Accessible Online Disability Resource Guide is designed to equip ABE managers, teachers, volunteers, and tutors to empower, educate, and improve the lives of their students with disabilities.
Renton Technical College's Universal Design for Learning Website
The website is full of wonderful information about UDL as well as learning disabilities, assistive technology, and learning styles.

Publications

The State of Learning Disabilities 2011
This publication clarifies what a learning disability is and explains the common misperceptions associated with LD. 
Taking the GED Tests: Requesting Accommodations
For our students with learning disabilities or ADD/ADHD, accommodations on the GED may be the only path to success. Neil Sturomski of GEDTS outlines the process of filling out the forms for requesting accommodations on the GED.
Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act and Section 504
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was passed by Congress in December 2008 and became effective January 1, 2009. This significant piece of legislation corrected what Congress considered to be a departure from the intent of the original ADA (passed in 1990) brought about by several narrow interpretations of the law through Supreme Court rulings. These rulings weakened the law and made it difficult for people with disabilities to receive the protection the law intended.
Report by the GAO May Open the Doors for LD Accommodations in Testing
A new study done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) could pave the way to making the request for accommodations for students with learning disabilities easier. The GAO found that almost all of the testing companies that they studied did not change their accommodations requesting procedures at all in response to the broadened definition of a disability.
SABES Field Notes Issue on Learning Disabilities
Find a wealth of information in SABES's Field Notes newsletter with a focus on learning disabilities. Find articles from that explore SMARTER teaching methods, graphic organizers, and much more.. (.pdf)
Focus on Basics Issue on Learning Disabilities
This issue of Focus on Basics looks at the topic of learning disabilities through the lens of adult literacy educators. (.pdf)
Toolkit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities
This Toolkit addendum focuses on universal design for learning (UDL). UDL is a framework for designing educational environments that help students engage in learning to increase knowledge and skills.
Learning to Achieve: A Professional’s Guide to Educating Adults with Learning Disabilities
This companion guide to the training is a stand-alone resource for professionals who work with adults with LD and haven't taken the Learning to Achieve training. (.pdf)
Reasons for the Misidentification of Special Needs among ELLs
To ensure that misidentification does not occur, the authors of Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners: Delivering a Continuum of Services propose a different approach to assessment and service delivery for ELLs that can overcome many of the problems in traditional assessment and remediation directed toward this student population.

Strategies/Resources

Assistive Technology Tools: Reading
Tools to help facilitate decoding, reading fluency, and comprehension.
Cognitive Instruction Strategies Website
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has built a website devoted to Cognitive Strategy Instruction. While it is geared mainly to children, many of the strategies are also applicable to adults.
Learning Disabilities and English Language Learners
Colorin Colorado, in conjunction with Reading Rockets, has made available a webcast about instructing English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities. While the webcast is geared to K-12 students, it has relevant information and application for the adult literacy educator and learner.
Executive Function Disorder
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) says that executive function is a term used to "describe a set of mental processes that helps us connect past experience with present action." People with executive function problems have difficulty with managing time and space. They also show weakness with "working memory" (or "seeing with the mind's eye"), which is an important tool in guiding one's actions.
Accommodating Math Students with Learning Disabilities
In this article, we will look at some common profiles of learners with learning disabilities and strategies you can use in your math class to meet their specific learning needs
Making It Stick: Memorable Strategies to Enhance Learning
Read Making It Stick: Memorable Strategies to Enhance Learning for an overview of how memory works and tips on using repetition, imagery, and patterns to help students improve their memory.
Memory Tips
While geared to helping students in schools study for exams, this article from LDOnline offers some practical tips for helping students with learning disabilities/difficulties use memorization to aid in retention.
Helping Students Understand What They Read
Regina Richards, writing for LDOnline, outlines steps that all teachers can take to help their learners better understand and comprehend what they are reading.
Bookshare
Bookshare 's goal is to raise the floor of access so that people with print disabilities can obtain a broad spectrum of print materials at the same time as everyone else.
Self-advocacy in the Workplace
An important skill for our learners with learning disabilities is the ability to self-advocate in the workplace. Without effective self-advocacy skills, our learners may not be able to successfully disclose their disability and ask for the accommodations that they need in the workplace.
The Media Library of Teaching Skills
The Media Library of Teaching Skills (MLoTS) project, a free web-based library of short digital videos of adult education classrooms and tutorials.
The Adult Literacy Education Wiki
On this wiki, you can view summaries of scheduled discussions that take place on the Learning Disabilities listserv

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The Literacy Institute @ VCU  |  Contact Us  |  © 2012 VALRC. All rights reserved. Updated: 07-22-14
The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.