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Adults with Learning Disabilities (updated April 2000)

Please provide information about adults with learning disabilities.

For a long period of time it was thought that learning disabilities were a children's issue— once the child finished school the problem would disappear. Research has shown that learning disabilities do not disappear when one leaves school and that they can occur across an individual's lifespan. Areas where learning disabilities may affect adults include: education, vocation, self-esteem, social interactions, and independent living.

Adults with LD show a wide array of critical characteristics that are problematic for them in their daily lives. First, academic skills that were not mastered during the school-age years remain difficult. Problems arise in such areas as reading, math, spelling, and writing. In each case, there can be a wide variety of reasons for lack of attainment of academic skills. In reading, for example, the reason might be poor comprehension enhancement strategies. Related to mathematics, problems evidence themselves in using math concepts and thinking in mathematical ways (either for daily use or for more sophisticated applications). Finally, in writing, whether the problem is spelling, handwriting, or written expression, there can be many reasons for apparent difficulties.

There is a high probability that the source of the problem(s) is the underlying dynamics of the learning disability: the psychological processes that have a bearing on the presenting problem. These psychological processes include cognition, perception, language, attention, motor abilities, and social skills. These processes, individually or collectively, have a bearing on academic skills, but they have equal impact on all areas of adult functioning whether at home, at work, or in the community.

Certain secondary characteristics have been found to be effective for taking control of one's life, which, in turn leads to greater possibilities of successful adaptation to adult life. One characteristic is the capacity of some adults with LD to be resilient despite past failure. In many cases, the lives of individuals with LD are punctuated with successes and failures. Those who have been able to move forward undeterred by failure (and sometimes strengthened by it) have a greater sense of inner strength and self-confidence. In essence, in tough times, they know that there are good times ahead, if they are able to stick with it. (From www.ldonline.org)

Following are links to ERIC digests, minibibliographies, frequently asked questions (FAQs), related Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

learning disabilities



EJ483439 EC608534
Psychological Adjustment and Adults with Severe Learning Difficulties: Implications of the Literature on Children and Adolescents with Learning Disabilities for Research and Practice.
Brier, Norman
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v5 n1 p15-27 Feb 1994
ISSN: 1046-6819
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJSEP94
This review of the literature on the psychological adjustment of adults and children with severe learning difficulties looks at overall adjustment; interpersonal difficulties; self-concept; difficulties with self-control; and family relationships. Suggestions are offered regarding service delivery and the design of effective treatments for adult populations.
Descriptors: Adults; Delivery Systems; Emotional Adjustment; *Family Relationship; *Interpersonal Competence; Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; Mental Health; *Psychological Characteristics; *Self Concept; *Self Control

ED409691 EC305739
Learning Disabilities and Employment.
Gerber, Paul J., Ed.; Brown, Dale S., Ed.
1997; 400p.
ISBN: 0-89079-717-X
Available From: PRO-ED, 8700 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin, TX 78757-6897; telephone: 800-897-3202; fax: 800-397-7633 ($36).
Document Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Document Type: BOOK (010); COLLECTION (020)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Texas
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC97
This book provides information on preparing individuals with learning disabilities for the challenges of employment and outlines the rights of those with learning disabilities in the workplace. Introductory chapters in Part 1 include: "Life after School: Challenges in the Workplace" (Paul J. Gerber); "The New Economy in the 21st Century: Implications for Individuals with Learning Disabilities" (Dale S. Brown); "Legal Rights of Adults with Learning Disabilities in Employment" (Patricia H. Latham and Peter S. Latham); and "The Employment Outcomes of Youth with Learning Disabilities: A Review of Findings from the NLTS" (Jose Blackorby and Mary M. Wagner).
Part 2 focuses on training persons with learning disabilities for employment and includes: "Effective Practices of Transition from School to Work for People with Learning Disabilities" (Thomas E. Grayson and others); "Community College Programs: Their Role in Preparing Students with Learning Disabilities for Employment" (Rhonda Repp); "Four-Year College Programs: Effective Practices for Developing Employment Skills" (Joan M. McGuire); "Students with Learning Disabilities in Graduate or Professional Programs: Emerging Issues on Campus and Challenges to Employment" (Loring Brinckerhoff); "Vocational Rehabilitation: Current Practices for Work Preparation" (James R. Koller); and "Preparation for Employment: Counseling Practices for Promoting Personal Competency" (Craig A. Michaels).
Part 3 highlights workplace issues and includes: "Persuading Employers to Hire People with Disabilities" (Richard G. Luecking); "Employment Testing and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Court Cases Regarding Learning Disabilities" (Ernest Biller); "Job Accommodations: What Works and Why" (Nancie Payne); "Psychosocial Issues of Workplace Adjustment" (Lynda Price); and "Technology in the Workplace for Persons with Learning Disabilities: Views from the Inside" (Marshall H. Raskind and others). Part 4 describes the experiences of people with learning disabilities in the workplace and includes: "On the Front Line: Thoughts from Persons with Learning Disabilities in the Workplace" (Henry B. Reiff); "Slow Words, Quick Images--Dyslexia as an Advantage in Tomorrow's Workplace" (Thomas G. West); and "Lifespan Employment and Economic Outcomes for Adults with Self-Reported Learning Disabilities" (Stephen Reder and Susan A. Vogel).
Descriptors: Accessibility (for Disabled); Adjustment (to Environment); Assistive Devices (for Disabled); *Civil Rights; *College Students; Community Colleges; Counseling Techniques; Court Litigation; Dyslexia; *Education Work Relationship; *Educational Strategies; Employer Attitudes; *Employment; Graduate Study; Higher Education; *Learning Disabilities; Occupational Tests; Secondary Education; Skill Development; Technology; Transitional Programs; Vocational Rehabilitation
Identifiers: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Attitudes toward Disabled

EJ483438 EC608533
The Adult with Learning Disabilities: An Overview.
Gottesman, Ruth L.
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v5 n1 p1-14 Feb 1994
ISSN: 1046-6819
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJSEP94
This literature review focuses on the outcome of childhood learning disabilities, adult symptomatology, and the educational and vocational status of adults with learning disabilities. It concludes that learning disabilities are life-long disabilities and that childhood deficiencies in reading, language, memory, attention, visual perception, and social-emotional adjustment tend to persist.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement; *Adults; Employment Level; *Individual Characteristics; *Learning Disabilities; Outcomes of Education; Outcomes of Treatment; *Persistence; *Symptoms (Individual Disorders)

EJ543900 CE530820
MATILDA: The Development of a Learning Disabilities Screening Device for Adult Basic Educators.
Grubb, Robert E., Jr.; And Others
Adult Basic Education, v7 n1 p23-38 Spr 1997
ISSN: 1052-231X
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJOCT97
Describes the field testing of the Mississippi Assessment Technique for Identifying Learning Disabilities in Adults (MATILDA) with 97 inmates, 50 undergraduates, and 8 students diagnosed as learning disabled. Reports how the test can be used as a preliminary screening device in adult basic education.
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education; *Adult Students; *Learning Disabilities; *Screening Tests; Test Construction

EJ483441 EC608536
Assessment of Adults with Severe Learning Disabilities.
Hagin, Rosa A.; And Others
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v5 n1 p35-41 Feb 1994
ISSN: 1046-6819
Language: English
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141) Journal Announcement: CIJSEP94
Assessment models used with school-age samples require modification for use with adults having severe learning disabilities. At Fordham University's Comprehensive Learning Program, a screening session determines the mutual suitability of the client and the program being offered; subsequent comprehensive assessment of cognitive, educational, emotional, and motivational factors is then carried out for intervention planning.
Descriptors: *Adults; *Evaluation Methods; *Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; *Models; Screening Tests; Student Evaluation
Identifiers: *Fordham University NY

ED399386 CE072458
Teaching Adults with Learning Disabilities. Professional Practices in Adult Education and Human Resource Development Series.
Jordan, Dale R.
1996; 145p.
ISBN: 0-89464-910-8
Available From: Krieger Publishing Company, P.O. Box 9542, Melbourne, FL 32902-9542; ($21.50).
Document Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Document Type: BOOK (010)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Florida
Journal Announcement: RIEFEB97
This book is designed to show teachers how to reach out to adults and adolescents with learning disabilities and employ specific strategies for helping them to compensate for the disabilities and acquire literacy skills. The ways in which specific differences in brain structure inhibit the mastery of reading, spelling, handwriting, phonics, and arithmetic are described. Chapter 1 introduces learning disabilities and provides general information about what is known about learning disabilities in adults. Topics covered include the following: definitions of literacy, workplace literacy skills, causes of learning disabilities, how the brain processes language information, and types of learning disabilities. The following 10 chapters are paired, with one chapter describing a specific learning disability and the following one offering strategies for compensating for that disability. The disabilities covered in the chapters are as follows: visual perception deficits, visual dyslexia, auditory dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia, and attention deficit disorders. The final chapter outlines the challenges and the hope for persons with learning disabilities in the work force in the future. An appendix describes medications for attention deficit disorders.
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education; *Adult Literacy; *Attention Deficit Disorders; Cognitive Processes; *Dyslexia; Educational Diagnosis; Hyperactivity; *Learning Disabilities; *Literacy Education; Perceptual Impairments; Reading Difficulties; *Teaching Methods; Writing Difficulties

EJ479403 EC607963
When Academic Assistance Is Not Enough: Addressing the Mental Health Issues of Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities.
Price, Lynda A.; And Others
Journal of Learning Disabilities, v27 n2 p82-90 Feb 1994
ISSN: 0022-2194
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJUL94
This article addresses theoretical and practical issues in the provision of mental health services to address psychosocial problems of secondary and postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Examples are offered of case studies and interventions from two federally funded research/demonstration projects at the University of Minnesota: the Learning Disabilities Transition Project and Project Extra.
Descriptors: Adolescents; Case Studies; Delivery Systems; Demonstration Programs; Emotional Problems; Interpersonal Competence; *Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; *Mental Health; Mental Health Programs; Postsecondary Education; *Psychological Patterns; Research and Development; Secondary Education; *Student Adjustment; Transitional Programs
Identifiers: Psychosocial Factors; University of Minnesota

ED401686 EC305177
Assistive Technology: Meeting the Needs of Adults with Learning Disabilities. Riviere, Adrienne
Academy for Educational Development, Inc., Washington, D.C.; National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center, Washington, DC. 1996
Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. for Literacy, Washington, DC.
Contract No: X257B30002
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIEAPR97
This monograph briefly describes a sampling of tools and technologies that can be used by adults with learning disabilities to improve their functional capabilities in employment, educational, or personal settings. Stressed is the importance of evaluating each technology in terms of the individual's unique profile, the function to be performed, and the particular context in which the technology will be applied. The assistive technologies are grouped according to the following functional areas: (1) organizational skills, memory, managing personal information, time management, and staying on task, through use of such devices as beepers/buzzers, tape recorders, and index cards; (2) auditory/listening management through use of pressure-sensitive paper for classroom note-taking, a laptop computer for notetaking, and books on disc; (3) visual processing through use of tape recordings, large print materials, and computers with voice output capabilities; (4) math assistance through use of color coding of columns, hand-held talking calculators, and special-feature calculators; (5) reading assistance through use of optical character recognition systems with speech synthesis, books on tape, and online services; and (6) written language assistance through use of spell checkers, grammar checking and proofreading programs, and speech-to-text programs. Also briefly covered is use of technology to foster independence, the multimedia approach, use of telecommunications for distance learning, and sources of various services and resources.
Descriptors: Adults; *Assistive Devices (for Disabled); *Communication Aids (for Disabled); *Computer Oriented Programs; Input Output Devices; *Learning Disabilities; Listening Skills; Mathematics; Memory; Organization; Reading; Self Management; Tape Recordings; Technological Advancement; Time Management; Visual Perception; Written Language

EJ481537 EC608455
A Review of Learning Strategies for Adults with Learning Disabilities Preparing for the GED Exam.
Westberry, Susan J.
Journal of Learning Disabilities, v27 n4 p202-09 Apr 1994
ISSN: 0022-2194
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJAUG94
This literature review considers instructional and testing strategies for General Education Development (GED) adult students with learning disabilities. The GED test is described, and specific instructional strategies from the literature are identified for the areas of writing skills, science, social studies, literature and art, and mathematics. Several intervention models are also noted.
Descriptors: *Adult Education; Adults; Equivalency Tests; *High School Equivalency Programs; Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; *Learning Strategies; Teaching Methods; Teaching Models; *Test Wiseness
Identifiers: *General Educational Development Tests

ED393966 CE071211
Adult Learning and Multisensory Teaching.
Winters, Clyde A.
1996; 16p.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Illinois
Journal Announcement: RIESEP96
A study compared the effectiveness of the multisensory and auditory teaching methods on the promotion of memory among adults with learning problems. Subjects were 10 adult learners with learning problems, aged 19-31, from an adult basic education program in a large urban area. Two lists of nouns were prepared, each containing 10 words. The lists were taught to the test subjects using first the auditory teaching mode and then the multisensory teaching mode. An analysis of the results demonstrated a positive correlation between the multisensory teaching method and adult learning. An examination of the mean scores for each teaching trial/experience indicated that learning from the multisensory and auditory teaching approaches was significantly different across each teaching trial. This finding and other information permitted the conclusion that these two teaching approaches were never equivalent in student learning. The t-test scores for the first, second, and third trials all showed significant difference in the rate of learning between the auditory and multisensory teaching methods. This seemed to indicate that the multisensory teaching approach encouraged the test takers to learn more holistically and recall more words than the use of any single sensory teaching method. A 2 x 3 FANOVA (factorial analysis of variance) illustrated that the multisensory effect showed statistically significant differences. The retention rate for subjects was systematically higher during the multisensory trials.
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education; *Adult Learning; Adults; *Aural Learning; Comparative Analysis; *Learning Disabilities; *Learning Modalities; Learning Problems; *Multisensory Learning; *Teaching Methods

ED387989 EC304343
Adults with Learning Disabilities: Definitions and Issues.
Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC. National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center.
1995; 7p.
Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. for Literacy, Washington, DC.
Contract No: X257B30002
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIEMAR96
This fact sheet provides a definition of learning disability (LD) in adults; a list of common elements found in many useful LD definitions; and a list of areas in which LD may affect life situations of adults. The background of the concept of "learning disability" is briefly reviewed, followed by the definition of the Interagency Committee on Learning Disabilities, which was selected for use by the National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center because it reflects current information and issues associated with LD, allows for the presence of learning disabilities at any age, and has wide acceptance in the LD community. Highlights of the definition are pointed out, as are common elements in a variety of LD definitions. Definitions adopted by the U.S. Office of Education in 1977, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, and the Rehabilitation Services Administration are also provided. Finally, a brief discussion identifies areas in which LD impacts adults, including self esteem, education, vocation, social interactions, and independent living.
Descriptors: *Adults; *Definitions; *Learning Disabilities; Quality of Life; Symptoms (Individual Disorders) Identifiers: Interagency Committee on Learning Disabilities; National Adult Literacy and Learn Disabil Ctr

ED387988 EC304342
Screening for Adults with Learning Disabilities: The Role of the Practitioner in the Assessment Process.
Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC. National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center.
1995; 9p.
Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. for Literacy, Washington, DC.
Contract No: X257B30002
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIEMAR96
Target Audience: Practitioners
This guide is intended to help the literacy practitioner in the identification of adults with learning disabilities. These adults have worked diligently for a year or more to improve comprehension skills, writing and spelling, or work skills, yet, have made little progress. The role of screening as only the first step in a process involving a formal assessment by a qualified professional, is stressed. First, a set of questions to be answered by the literacy practitioner as he/she observes the individual is provided. Next are lists of typical characteristics of individuals with vision/hearing and/or auditory/visual processing problems. Following this is a list of typical problems in three areas of academic performance: reading, expressive language, and mathematics. A list of behavior patterns and psychological manifestations indicating the possibility of a learning disability is also provided. Finally, other means of information gathering such as reviews of records, a screening interview, a screening questionnaire, and a screening tool are suggested.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement; Adult Basic Education; *Adults; Auditory Perception; Behavior Patterns; *Disability Identification; *Educational Diagnosis; *Learning Disabilities; *Literacy; Observation; *Screening Tests; Visual Perception

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