Adults with Learning Disabilities Chapter 13
Characteristics of Youth and Adults with Learning Disabilities • Approximately 16% of students with learning disabilities attend a 2year or 4 year college after high school. • A percentage significantly lower than the general population of high school graduates. • Sitlington (1996) indicated that many students with learning disabilities have significant difficulties in adjustment to adult life.
Academic and Cognitive Outcomes • Reading levels of adolescents with learning disabilities seems to peak at around fifth or sixth grade level and improves very little there discrepancy is still fairly large for most youth with learning disabilities • Johnston (1984) discussed deficits in reading comprehension, written work and verbal language problems that continue to plague adults the learning disabilities after the post school transition period.
Emotional and Social Outcomes • Research has shown that in almost every area, students with learning disabilities, in general, demonstrate more social emotional problematic outcomes than those without disabilities. • demonstrate lower self-concept and higher external locus of control • may have more legal problems • Studies document higher levels of substance abuse problems among students with learning disabilities • Most recently studied variables in the social-emotional domain are depression and suicide
Post High School Vocational Outcomes • Research has documented that students with learning disabilities often enter the workplace after high school, but in minimum wage jobs and end to remain in those jobs longer prior to moving up • Research has suggested some gender inequity that further hampers the early career development of young women with learning disabilities. • Finally, in spite of federal mandates to develop reasonable workplace accommodations based on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, research has shown that employers do not have much information about either the requirements for accommodations or the specific accommodations that may be required for employees with learning disabilities
Learning Disability Characteristics during the Transition Period • Vocational outcomes present the brightest picture of post school success among the several types of outcomes measured.
Vocational Opportunities • Data from a number of follow-up studies of graduates of secondary programs with learning disabilities indicated that between 55 and 70% of those graduates are employed.
Vocational Opportunities for Adults with Learning Disabilities • Results from a study of graduates of special education programs in Colorado indicated that 43% of students with mild disabilities earned approximately the minimum wage and 33% had never received a salary increase • This seems to indicate that individuals who are mildly disabled ten to obtain jobs that offer very little advancement and poor future earnings potential.
Content of Vocational Programs • In order to identify the reasons for rejecting job applicants after the initial interview. • Of the 10 most common reasons, 9 related to interpersonal skills of the applicants.
Vocational Programs for Youth With Learning Disabilities • Students who have learning disabilities do not participate in vocational education as frequently or as intensively as they should • 2% of the students enrolled in vocational programs are disabled, though 10% of the school populations have a disability. • Perhaps one reason for this lack of participation in vocational programs is a lack of coordination between the special education teachers and the vocational teachers
College for Students with Learning Disabilities • Federal law, beginning with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1977 and continuing with the more recent Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, requires institutions of higher education to provide reasonable accommodations that will help students with disabilities attain a college degree.
College for Students with Learning Disabilities Cont… • Approximately one-third of students with learning disabilities receive any type of postsecondary education at all. • That study revealed that 16% of students with learning disabilities attended a 2 or 4 year college • 16% attended vocational schools.
College-Bound Adults with Learning Disabilities • The problems that many teachers note concerning organization of assignments and scheduling are still very much in evidence among college students with learning disabilities. • 35 college students with disabilities to identify some barriers to their success in college.
College-Bound Adults with Learning Disabilities Cont… • Four general types of barrier were reported • Attitudinal barriers • Lack of student support services offered by their college • The need for financial resources that can be extended into a longer than traditional time frame • The need for self advocacy skills to be able at a minimum to describe their disability to others.
College-Bound Adults with Learning Disabilities • Students with learning disabilities who succeed in college tend to use strategies that compensate for their learning disabilities in some fashion. • For example, some students kept a daily/weekly assignment schedule; others completed all homework assignments read assignments aloud, and highlighted textbooks or purchased textbooks that were previously highlighted. • In math classes, the students with learning disabilities tended to rely on more help from instructors and friends in the class.
Services Offered by Colleges • Some research on instruction in college classes has suggested that college faculty frequently fail to provide instructional accommodations to students with learning disabilities • College faculty may need additional in-service training in order to understand what accommodations may be necessary for students with learning disabilities.
Services Offered by Colleges Cont… • Student support services and assessment services are the easiest for colleges and universities to provide, and many schools have programs of this nature • Students require tutors for particular courses, and some colleges may have guidelines for provision of tutoring without cost for students with learning disabilities • Assist in time management skills • Programs should be prepared to meet with a student on a regular basis throughout the first year of the program
Services Offered by Colleges Cont… • Assessment Services • Many colleges and universities offer assessment and remedial recommendation services for students with learning disabilities. Administrative Support • some schools allow students to take less than the required minimum number of hours each semester without sacrificing full-time student status.
Services Offered by Colleges Cont… • Support for College Faculty • One of the toughest issues facing proponents of programs for college students with learning disabilities is the cultivation of empathy on the part of the college faculty • College faculty should be offered support for modifying their classes in order to accommodate these students. • College faculty who lecture frequently could easily incorporate participatory organizers and outline suggestions into the lecture classes. Study guides for upcoming test also help many students with learning disabilities to focus their study time.
Self Determination and Self Advocacy • With this growing emphasis on self determination and self advocacy in mind • College students with disabilities themselves have indicated that they feel a need for self advocacy, this may be one reason that students with learning disabilities who enter college often do not successfully complete either a 2 or 4 year college program. • Recent training research has shown some wage discrimination against individuals with learning disabilities and self advocacy training would be one way to combat such inadvertent discrimination
Self Determination and Self Advocacy • Although 90% of the young adults with learning disabilities thought that their disability affected their job performance in some way only 30% disclosed their disability to their employer.
Teaching Tips: Self Advocacy Skills for Adults with Learning Disabilities • Knowledge of what a learning disability is and what it involves • Knowledge of legal rights under PL 94-142 (IDEA), section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act • Understanding of the available support services at the agency, the work environment, or the school • Determination of reasonable accommodations that may make success more likely • Understanding independency versus dependence versus isolation • Practice in self-advocacy through role-play and coaching through a self-advocacy situation.
Transition Planning for Young Adults with Learning Disabilities • First, almost all programs for secondary students with learning disabilities implement a school to work transition planning team • Next, teachers may wish to consider some type of informal assessment to assist with transition planning