WIA Community Conversations Summary - Learning Disabilities

WIA Community Conversations Summary

Learning Disabilities

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Learning Disabilities Questions

  • What do you see as some of our greatest challenges in serving adults with learning disabilities? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?
  • How might WIA reauthorization support improving services to adults with learning disabilities?
  • What qualified support services do adults with Learning Disabilities need to help them be successful in the classroom?


  • Understanding and recognizing the extent of Learning Disabilities in adult education and literacy.
  • Properly reporting numbers of students with Learning Disabilities
  • Understanding how the disability impacts learning and employment and being able to use the most appropriate accommodations
  • Providing appropriate assistive technology
  • Understanding the difference between a ‘teaching disorder’ and a disability
  • Failure to address LD as a ‘disability’ as per civil rights laws
  • Failure to work with other state agencies to develop a more global approach
  • Students with undiagnosed LD in adult ed. They do not understand their disability, how it influences their learning, and the services for which they may qualify.


  • A universal Design approach that deemphasizes the need to prove the disability, and provides needed disability support based on performance, rather then documentation.
  • Avoiding the “teacher” focused top-down approach to a “learner focused” bottoms up approach
  • Funding relevant research on effective strategies or accommodations
  • Training those who work with adults with LD on the nature and impact of the disabilities in adults, their legal rights, and ADA, etc.
  • Instead of just remediation, use compensatory education for students with LD
  • Adopt specific credentialing in the area of disabilities for teachers in the adult education field
  • Train staff to understand what the assessment means so that appropriate accommodations or strategies can be implemented
  • Train counseling staff to assist in educational accommodations

WIA Reauthorization Support

  • Funding for virtual literacy technology centers
  • Funding for a new national center on LD and adult literacy
  • Funding for an independent, random selection study of adult learners in the adult literacy system to determine the true incidence of learning disabilities.
  • Support from OVAE to hold states accountable for addressing LD issues
  • Support from OVAE in requiring all states to have LD Plans/Policies
  • Professional Development on all aspects related to Learning Disabilities
  • Adequate funding for those programs specifically serving adults with LD or any disability
  • Affordable and professional screening services to determine risk for Learning Disabilities
  • Allowing for more instructional time, increased technology and curricular supports, specialized instruction, counseling, and a method of acknowledging gain not necessarily noted via the current NRS system.
  • Training on how to accommodate those with learning disabilities in both work and post secondary education programs;
  • Support Services
  • Provision and training on assistive technology and accommodations
  • Adequate assessment of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to understand how the learning disability impacts their learning and employment