Adult Education and Intellectual and Allied Developmental Disabilities

This resource explores the inclusion of people with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities at the post-secondary level.

Roy I. Brown
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
University of Calgary, Canada
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages

People with intellectual disabilities have been encouraged to live normal lives away from institutions and in regular society. Individuals, to do this effectively, need a wide range of skills, and frequently these skills have not been learned during the normal school cycle. A number of challenging issues arise. These challenges may be best seen within the development of a quality of life approach to the field of intellectual disability. For example, one major characteristic of a quality of life approach is variability – people differ over time and differ between one another. In education it is extremely important to recognize this variability as a number of implications follow. One of the challenges is to see that during the school years individuals are prepared for life in the community, but since this is frequently either not fully attained, or individuals may be slow in terms of development, the issue of adult education becomes critical. This article explores how adult education can serve these individuals.

What the experts say

There is such a dearth of resources on adults with intellectual challenges. To find an article that has important things to say is good fortune for adult educators. This article reflects a quality of life approach to education for one of the least understood student populations.

To use the words of the authors, it is important that we look at their education across the lifespan, and the challenges that may arise from their disability and/or their environment...We need to look at variety and variability of performance, a wide range of lifelong learning which includes a definition of adult education recognizing the need to learn social and adaptive skills, skills for employment, home management, recreation and leisure along with partnership and marriage, and in some instances family life with young children...It is important to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are provided with opportunities and choices for life...that fit individual needs across the life span.

This paper is a review of the current status and particular needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This resource makes the case that this population has the need for educational services throughout their lifespan.

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