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Adults with {Dis}abilities: Featured Instructional Resources

Professional Development

Learning events on this page have been selected to be responsive to the requirements stated in Adult Education Director’s Memo #62-23 for current grantees. See also our Science of Reading page. More events will be added as they become available.

Strategies and instructional approaches that are designed for adults who have disabilities benefit ALL adult learners. Learn more about how you can incorporate some of these approaches into your instruction through free professional development and training.

VALRC Professional Development

Check out our Events Calendar for updates on scheduling!

Stay tuned for offerings around Trauama-informed Practice! These can count toward the Disabilities professional development 10-hour requirement. 

  • {Dis}abilities and the Adult Learner Online Course: This 6-week course will help you discover the keys to strengthening your work with adults who have {dis}abilities. Through multimedia presentations, interactive project assignments, and discussions with your peers and an experienced facilitator, you will: a) learn how to plan and adapt appropriate instruction for adults with both learning and other physical {dis}abilities; b) identify and begin to collaborate with local organizations and state agencies that offer supportive services and resources for adults with {dis}abilities; and c) experience different {dis}abilities through simulation activities. Each week’s lesson addresses a topic in adult education pertaining to learning {dis}abilities. Course activities include readings, assignments, and discussions.
  • Five Components of Accessibility: In this self-paced tutorial you will learn about the five main components of accessibility. These components include: color-contrast, hyperlinks, alt-text, tables, and headings.
    1. Session 1: Introduction to working with adult learners who have disabilities   It is important to keep in mind that learning disabilities are life-long. Children with disabilities grow-up to be adults with disabilities. Additionally, many adult learners go undiagnosed. Learning disabilities affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. This session focuses on how adult educators can help their learners by better understanding the different characteristics of learning disabilities, implementing universal designing for learning (UDL), and utilizing partnerships.
    2. Session 2: Instructional strategies for working with adults with disabilities  Disabilities can occur across the lifespan, affecting academic performance, work, and daily living. Individuals with disabilities can have challenges with learning but can exhibit strengths in some areas. This session will provide instructional strategies for working with adults with disabilities, with a focus on incorporating evidence-based strategies into reading instruction.
    3. Session 3: Making Content Accessible  Creating accessible content can feel overwhelming at times, but it is important to remember that not everything has to be done at once. A scaffolded approach to learning and implementation can make the process more manageable. Even a few key changes can make a difference. In the beginning, the aim is not perfection, but improvement. This session covers some of the main accessibility barriers such as headers, images, and hyperlinks.

Other Professional Development Providers

The offerings below come from outside the VALRC. Please consult the registration page for contact information and additional information about these offerings.

The goal of these seven modules is to help address barriers in adult education professional development, providing a more accessible resource that models Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and helps adult educators better meet the needs of diverse learners. Each of the seven modules is expected to take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete, and you will need a free LINCS account to access the modules.
  • Windmills 2024: Windmills is a disability awareness training that uses participation and discovery as learning vehicles to understand the culture of disability in the workplace by helping to change attitudinal barriers & creating new perspectives on the unique abilities of individuals. Click on the link to the flyer ( Windmills 2024) to learn more about each session and to register for each webinar. Register HERE for all winter/spring sessions. 
  • VDOE, Dyslexia Training: The Virginia Department if Education has developed a free online Dyslexia Awareness Training Module. This training will provide awareness on the definition, indicators, evidence-based interventions, and accommodations for dyslexia.
  • Workforce GPS: Effective Communication and Access for Job Seekers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: This webinar is a presentation of the best practices, resources and technology available at the American Job Centers for job seekers who are deaf or hard of hearing. REGISTER HERE.
  • edWebinars: Search this site for curated webinars and online professional learning communities on a range of topics related to education. Use the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner to find options for working with adult learners who have disabilities.

Inclusive Virginia: This website provides adult education program leadership, staff, and instructors with information, instructional strategies, resources, and accommodations for providing access to effective adult education for all learners seeking adult education opportunities. Featured content includes: {Dis}abilities, Universal Design for Learning, and Trauma-Informed Practices

*Please note that the information provided on this site is to help educators support learners with varying needs. Educators, unless certified to do so, are not qualified to diagnose {dis}abilities and should not attempt to do so.

Learning to Achieve: A Professional’s Guide to Educating Adults with Learning {Dis}abilities: 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.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): This website provides an overview of UDL guidelines and how they apply to various aspects of learning.

Accessible Content: This site has demos for what accessible vs inaccessible content looks like and why content needs to be made accessible. It also includes step-by-step tutorials, accessibility guidelines, and even templates for you to use.

For more resources related to working with adults with {dis}abilites, please search the VALRC Resources Collection.

For more information about current VALRC offerings, visit our Events page. To request a training that is not currently scheduled, email vdesk@vcu.edu.

For more resources related to working with adults with {dis}abilites, please search the VALRC Resources Collection.

If you have a resource you would like to share related to the topic of working with adults with {dis}abilities, please share them here!

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