Online Course - Module #3:  Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities

Introduction

Experts in the field agree that approximately 10% of the general population have some sort of learning disability. Of the number of adults who attend adult literacy classes, we know the percentage rises to between 30% and 60%. Instructors in Literacy and Basic Skills programs recognize that learners who have learning disabilities face tremendous challenges when they want to upgrade their literacy skills, and instructors want to know how to be more effective in offering the right kind of help.

A recent Learning Disabilities Training Needs Survey showed that many LBS practitioners put these three training priorities at the top of the list:

    • to be able to identify the various types of learning disabilities,
    • to be able to use a quick screen method for assessing for suspected learning disabilities,
    • to know what strategies and accommodations are best suited to various learning disabilities.

Module 3 is designed to help literacy practitioners increase their knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities and become more effective with adult learners who have these challenges.

About This Course

Learning to work effectively with adults who have learning disabilities is a primary concern for most LBS Practitioners. If practitioners can be clear about what a learning disability is, are more aware of how learning disabilities manifest themselves in a learner’s behaviour and academic performance, learn what strategies and accommodations are successful, develop skills for helping learners find the strategies that are right for them, then learners will be more successful and will become more independent when faced with learning something new in day-to-day life beyond the classroom. This course lays a good foundation for understanding different learning disabilities and how they affect literacy learning and helps develop skills for selecting appropriate strategies for particular LD difficulties.

The course is organized into six units of study. You will find main course notes, links to additional readings and online resources, and opportunities to pause for self-reflection. Guided reflection through questions and journaling will help you focus on the impact these materials have on your own thinking, and what implications follow for day-to-day teaching practice.

Objectives and Outcomes

The purpose of this training is to improve your effectiveness in working with learners who have learning disabilities. The assumption is that if you:

  • are clear about what a learning disability is,
  • are more aware of how learning disabilities manifest themselves in a learner’s behaviour and academic performance,
  • learn what strategies and accommodations are successful,
  • develop skills for helping learners find the strategies that are right for them,

then learners will be more successful and will become more independent when faced with learning something new in day-to-day life beyond the classroom. The outcomes for this training, then, focus on increased knowledge and skills development.

Upon completing this course, you can expect to be able to demonstrate:

  • basic knowledge and understanding of a wide range of different learning disabilities and the issues that accompany LD in adult education; 
  • a better understanding of how particular learning disabilities can affect people’s daily life and learning;
  • some concrete ways for identifying possible learning disabilities in LBS learners;
  • appropriate strategies that will help learners who have visual, auditory and organizational learning disabilities, an ability to consider the needs of adults with various learning disabilities when planning the program and making decisions on how you will deliver training.

 

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