Adult FAQs

General Adult FAQ's

A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects information processing. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/.

A language disorder is a type of auditory processing disorder that affects how language is processed. It can affect both what you say and/or how you understand what other people say. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/language-processing-disorder/.

It can be helpful to first assist the person in determining what his strengths are. A good starting question is, “What do you do well?” That may be a hard question for him to answer at first, but you can make suggestions based on what you know about him already. Ask him what he likes to do in his spare time, and what skills are involved in that? Is he creative? Is he a good listener? Is he reliable? Does he tell interesting stories? Is he artistic? Does he know how to build and/or fix things? Is he a good cook? Once you determine some basic areas of strengths, it may also help to set some short-term goals (one or two weeks) that use those strengths to succeed. Longer-term goals can be set later.

It may also be helpful to introduce him to some of the new, affordable (or free!) assistive technology that will help him to function better with tasks that he has difficulty with due to his learning disability. There is a lot of information about assistive technology at https://ldaamerica.org/category/technology/technology-for-adults/.

No. The GED® Test is a computer-based test, but it is not available online. You must take the test at an official Pearson-Vue Testing Center that has been approved to administer the GED® Test.

To find a testing center, call your local adult education program, or go to www.ged.com, create an account and sign in to locate a testing center near you.

Unfortunately, every state seems to handle disability accommodations differently. Some have policies mandating accommodations; others do not. The only thing you can do is contact your DMV (or whoever does the testing in your state) and ask them what accommodations you would be eligible for based on your disability diagnosis and documentation. Typical testing accommodations for paper-based or computer-based tests include:

  • Access to auditory format, either text-to- speech software or a reader;
  • Extra time to complete the test;
  • Private, distraction-free room for testing;
  • A scribe (someone to write or keyboard for you);
  • Calculator for math problems; and
  • Breaks, if needed.

You may also request other accommodations if needed and if your disability documentation supports the need.

Typical strategies and accommodations that may help adults with LD include reading out loud, audio texts, color-coding for organization, use of graphic organizers (charts, diagrams, etc.), having opportunities to re-state information in one’s own words, and one-on- one instruction in school or job training. Assistive technology (AT) is also helpful for adults with LD – at home, school, and work.

See LDA’s information about AT.

Click here for more information about adults with learning disabilities.

 

An auditory processing disorder is a condition that adversely affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed and interpreted by the brain. For more information, see https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/auditory- processing-disorder/

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that is influenced by environmental factors. Typically, people with AD/HD have developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. For diagnosis, the behaviors must be out of the normal range for the person’s age and development. According to the DSM-5, characteristics include:

  • Starts in early childhood, usually before age 12.
  • Behaviors are chronic.
  • Behaviors last at least 6 months.

For more information about AD/HD, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/adhd/.

The most important component of short-term memory is attention. You must choose to give something your undivided attention and focus if you want to remember it.

There are many strategies and assistive technology tools for helping you remember things. Here are some ideas for strategies you can:

  • Know your learning style(s), and use your area(s) of strength when you need to remember something. For example, visual learners may want to draw pictures, maps, or charts; or write the information down. Auditory learners may need to repeat the information out loud, or use a recording device to hear the information later.
  • Repetition. Once you’ve identified your preferred learning style(s), the more you repeat the information, the more you’ll remember it.
  • Mnemonic devices. For example, to remember the great lakes, many people think of “HOMES,” to remind them of the beginning letters of each lake (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
  • Chunking, or breaking the information into smaller parts to remember the parts instead of the whole. Put the parts together later to make the whole.
  • Rhyming/music/rhythm. Try remembering something by putting it in a familiar song, like the tune of the ABC song. Sounds silly, but it works for lots of people. Actually, the crazier it is, the better it works.
  • Association. Associating words or numbers with pictures can be helpful. There’s an interesting article about remembering people’s names by the association method here.
  • Write it down. Don’t lose the paper.
  • Pick one location to keep important items.
  • Make duplicates of really important items.

Click here for assistive technology and app ideas to help with short-term memory.

There should be an adult education or literacy program somewhere in your area that can help with improving reading skills.

You can search online to find directory information for local programs by looking for “adult education and literacy programs” plus the name of the town and state where you live. Also, there is information about various reading programs at https://ldaamerica.org/adult-literacy- reading-programs/.

In the meantime, it may help your daily functioning to use a text-to-speech program and/or app so you can hear printed text out loud.

You can find information about these and other helpful types of assistive technology at https://ldaamerica.org/category/technology/technology-for- adults/

Yes, there is a higher chance that your children may have learning disabilities. According to The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia, by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., and Bennet A. Shaywitz, M.D.), 27%-49% of children with dyslexia have one or more parents who also have dyslexia.

LDA supports the idea that, “It is never too early to seek help for your child, but waiting too long could be very harmful.” For further information about characteristics to watch for at different ages, click here.

Strategies to remember information vary depending on how the information is presented – orally or written – but there are a lot of different strategies to choose from.

For remembering what you hear, it may help to take notes or make a digital recording. Most smart phones have a built-in recorder that allows you to easily record what someone is saying. For note-taking assistive technology ideas, the following resources may help:

Graphic organizers

Live Scribe – a digital note-taking device.

AudioNote – a digital note-taking app much like Live Scribe, but without the paper.

For remembering what you read, graphic organizers may again be your most useful tool available. Some people remember what they read better if they read it out loud, or re-say what they read in their own words, or discuss what they’re reading with someone else.

There are also apps available to help with memory. A good app-finder is the Tools for Life App Finder.

“Pragmatic Language Impairment” is now called “Social Communication Disorder,” and it refers to using spoken language in socially inappropriate ways. For information and resources, head over to Understood.org's article on this subject.

Many students working towards a high school equivalency diploma, including students in GED® adult education programs, may have learning disabilities, although many of those students have never been diagnosed. According to The Neurobiology of Reading and Dyslexia, by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., and Bennet A. Shaywitz, M.D., approximately 85% of people with learning disabilities have some type of reading disability. That percentage applies to all people with learning disabilities, whether or not they are enrolled in a GED®, HiSET®, or TASC™ adult education program.

So while students with learning disabilities include students with various types of learning disabilities, the most common learning disability is a reading disability.

The article on the LDA website Learning Disabilities and Social Security Disability Benefits helps to explain the qualifiers. Specifically it says...  To qualify for disability benefits from the SSA, you will have to prove that you are disabled according to their criteria. That usually means proving that you have a condition that is either listed in the Blue Book and meets the SSA’s Blue Book criteria or that you have a condition that is equal to a section in the Blue Book..  There is a section that provides an example of a diagnosis of ADHD as an adult. It says...You could receive benefits with ADHD as an adult, if you’re able to prove that you have had ADHD since childhood, and ADHD has impaired your ability to complete schoolwork and to be gainfully employed as an adult.

Please refer to the article for more details.  https://ldaamerica.org/learning-disabilities- and-social- security-disability-benefits/

A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects information processing. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/.

A language disorder is a type of auditory processing disorder that affects how language is processed. It can affect both what you say and/or how you understand what other people say. For more information, go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/language-processing-disorder/.

You may be able to find a person in your area who can serve as a job coach or mentor depending on where you live and the availability of resources in your area. Here are some resources you may want to ask about finding that kind of support where you live:

It can be helpful to first assist the person in determining

what his strengths are. A good starting question is, “What do you do

well?” That may be a hard question for him to answer at first, but

you can make suggestions based on what you know about him

already. Ask him what he likes to do in his spare time, and what skills

are involved in that? Is he creative? Is he a good listener? Is he reliable? Does he tell interesting stories? Is he artistic? Does he know how to build and/or fix things? Is he a good cook? Once you determine some basic areas of strengths, it may also help to set some short-term goals (one or two weeks) that use those strengths to succeed. Longer-term goals can be set later.

It may also be helpful to introduce him to some of the new, affordable (or free!) assistive technology that will help him to function better with tasks that he has difficulty with due to his learning disability. There is a lot of information about assistive technology at https://ldaamerica.org/category/technology/technology-for-adults/.

Typical strategies and accommodations that may help adults with LD include reading out loud, audio texts, color-coding for organization, use of graphic organizers (charts, diagrams, etc.), having opportunities to re-state information in one’s own words, and one-on- one instruction in school or job training. Assistive technology (AT) is also helpful for adults with LD – at home, school, and work. See LDA’s information about AT at https://ldaamerica.org/tools-for-life/

For more information about adults with learning disabilities, go to https://ldaamerica.org/category/ld-adhd-basics/ld-adhd- basics-for-adults/

Difficulty with spelling is one of many characteristics of learning disabilities; however, poor spelling alone does not identify the presence of a learning disability. If you are interested in determining whether or not you have a learning disability, read about the evaluation process at https://ldaamerica.org/adult-learning-disability-assessment-process/

The term “learning disability” was first used by Dr. Sam Kirk in a paper he submitted to a conference in 1963. That term was widely accepted and used in civil rights legislation and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) until 2013, when the DSM-5 replaced the term “learning disability” with “learning disorder.” However, most people still use the term “learning disability,” primarily because civil rights legislation that protects people with disabilities uses the term “learning disability.”

Yes, there are several types of learning disabilities. For more information, please go to https://ldaamerica.org/types-of- learning-disabilities/

Yes, learning disabilities are lifelong, so any learning disability diagnosed in childhood would still be present when the child is an adult. However, the learning disabilities evaluation is only valid for 3-5 years, depending on how it needs to be used. If you need to submit documentation of your learning disability to request accommodations in postsecondary school or in the workplace, you will most likely need to obtain a new evaluation of your learning disability from a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

Adult Testing FAQ's

There is information about learning disability assessment and how to find an evaluator at https://ldaamerica.org/adult-learning-disability-assessment-process/.

To request and receive job and/or testing accommodations, an adult must be diagnosed with a disability. For information about learning disability evaluations for adults, go to https://ldaamerica.org/category/assessment-evaluation/assessment-evaluation-for-adults/

Common accommodations for dygraphia include access to a keyboard for writing, dictating to a scribe, or using a speech-to- text program that allow you to speak into a microphone on your computer and the computer will type what you speak. The ACT has previously approved the use of speech-to- text during testing, but the more common request is to ask for a scribe or keyboard access.

No. However, some tests such as an MRI or CT scan may be helpful in diagnosing a traumatic brain injury or other neurological damage that may be at least part of the cause for a learning disability. Some researchers are exploring the possibility of using those types of tests as part of a learning disability diagnosis, but at this time, a learning disability can only be diagnosed with psychological testing, administered by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

The first step would be to contact your family doctor and report your problems with focusing and paying attention. It may be that you have some level of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can range from mild to severe. Most general practitioners can diagnose ADHD, and it’s usually the most inexpensive way to go.

There is an adult screening tool for ADHD developed by the World Health Organization here. You may want to print the document, fill it out, and see if it indicates a likelihood that you may have ADHD. If so, it would be helpful if you could take it with you when you visit your doctor.

A good resource for learning more about ADHD is www.chadd.org.

There are no specified tests in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the latest publication used to diagnose disorders. Rather, there is a list of diagnostic criteria that includes symptoms that have persisted for at least six (6) months, despite the provision of interventions that target difficulties with learning, including difficulty learning math.

That said, when a psychologist or psychiatrist completes a learning disability evaluation for someone who is having difficulty in the area of math, the evaluator will use a variety of tests to determine difficulties mastering all areas of math, including number sense, memorization of arithmetic facts, accurate or fluent math calculation and ability to reason with numbers. There are a number of standardized achievement tests that may be used as part of a math disorder diagnosis, but it is the diagnostician’s choice to determine which tests they choose to use during the evaluation. The diagnostician will also examine the person’s history of learning in all areas, not just in the area of math.

Yes. Postsecondary educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, are not responsible for providing learning disability assessments for their students. It is the student’s responsibility to provide the current documentation needed to request instructional and testing accommodations. However, some colleges and universities offer learning disability assessment through their graduate psychology program on a financial sliding scale. The testing is conducted by graduate students in the psychology program, then the results are reviewed and signed by one of the licensed professors overseeing the program. This type of testing can be more affordable due to the sliding scale cost. Some colleges provide testing through a comprehensive, fee-based LD support program.

Also, your local Rehabilitation Services Agency (RSA) (http://rsa.ed.gov/people.cfm, click on “State Agencies/Contacts”) may be able to conduct a free learning disability evaluation as part of their intake procedure that your college will accept as the documentation they need to grant you instructional and testing accommodations. Your RSA office would have to first determine your eligibility for their services, which is usually determined in an initial interview with an RSA counselor. Not all state RSAs offer the assessment as part of intake, so you would need to discuss that during your initial interview.

For more information about learning disabilities and postsecondary requirements, go to https://ldaamerica.org/category/post-secondary-options.

Learning disability documentation is considered current if the testing was completed within the last five (5) years. Sometimes that 5-year limit can be waived, but it depends on the age of the person, how long it has been since testing, any major life changes since the time of testing, and the reason for submitting the documentation. Once the documentation has passed the 5-year mark, it is generally up to the reviewing school or organization to determine whether or not the report should be updated.

Yes. Learning disability evaluations should include a list of all diagnosed disabilities. If the evaluations were completed within a school district, the specific educational diagnoses will be listed. If completed by someone outside of the school district, the report will include the corresponding Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Axis Codes. However, some evaluations conclude that the person has LD-NOS (Learning Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified). The LD-NOS category is a broad, catch-all category for people with notable learning difficulties that affect education and/or work, but do not fit the criteria for some other category.

An IEP alone is not enough to get services in college. If a psychoeducational evaluation is included with it, then more than likely services can be obtained with that. Learning disabilities evaluations, including IEPs, should be valid for at least three (3) years, so if your last evaluation for your IEP was within the last three years, it should be fine. Sometimes colleges will waive the 3-year rule if the testing was last done in your later high school years. It’s always worth asking! If, however, your last evaluation was in middle school or junior high, you will probably need to obtain an updated evaluation to request accommodations in college or at work. Also worth noting is that some testing entities, such as those for high school equivalency exams, will accept learning disability evaluations that were completed within the last five (5) years.

Generally speaking, the answer is no, you’re never too old. However, as you approach your 70s, 80s and 90s, there are other factors that impact cognitive processes such as difficulty with short-term memory. Those other factors sometimes make it difficult for the evaluator to tell if the problems learning are from a learning disability or from the process of aging. One question to ask would be, “How long have cognitive processing issues been a concern?” If this is a life-long concern rather than a new one, chances are that it is not related to the aging process. However, if it is a new concern, it is more likely linked to the aging process. Another question to ask would be, “Why does this person need a learning disability evaluation?” If the person is still working and needs job accommodations, it may be necessary to obtain the evaluation and documentation needed to request accommodations on the job. If, however, the person wants to determine the presence of a learning disability out of curiosity – and not for job or testing accommodations – it would be wise to weigh the cost of the evaluation against the need to know.

You don’t have to be retested unless you need documentation for specific accommodations.  If that is the case, there may be different criteria for how current the documentation is depending on who you are requesting the accommodations from.

High-stakes testing agencies usually require LD documentation to be current within the past 5 years.  Many employers may not be concerned about how current the documentation is.  Large companies would probably adhere to the 5-year rule; small companies may not.

Learning disabilities evaluations can be pretty expensive – usually running anywhere from $800 - $1500.  So you might want to consider whether or not you actually need the diagnosis or if you’re just curious.  If you need the documentation to request accommodations at work or on a standardized test, then you might want to explore getting a diagnosis.  If you have a community mental health center nearby, they sometimes do LD evaluations on a sliding scale, which can cut your cost dramatically.  Likewise, some colleges with graduate psychology departments may also provide LD evaluations on a sliding scale. If you are unemployed or looking for a better job, you should contact your local Rehabilitation Services Agency (http://rsa.ed.gov/people.cfm, click on “State Agencies/Contacts”).

For more information about the adult learning disability assessment process, go to https://ldaamerica.org/adult-learning-disability-assessment-process/

Assistive Technology (AT) FAQ's

With all the free & cheap assistive technology available for reading and writing these days, you can provide your own accommodations at home – without any formal evaluation – and sometimes at work, depending on the accommodation needed. Here are a couple of ideas you might want to look into:

Natural Readers software is a free text-to-speech software program you can download on your computer. With this program installed on your computer, your computer will read out loud everything on your monitor after you highlight the text. This includes internet sites, email, and word processing documents. Actually, it can read anything you see written on your computer.

Prizmo is an app for your phone that lets you take a picture of what you want to read and then it reads it out loud to you. This works great for books, magazines, menus, or whatever else you need to read that’s not on a computer. You can check it out at about It costs $9.99 at the App Store. You can even create files that have multiple pages if you take multiple pictures.

GT-AppFinderFor other ideas about assistive technology that may be helpful, click here and check out Georgia Tech's TOOLS FOR LIFE APP FINDER.

Just click on the picture that looks like the one here, and it will give you information about free & cheap apps.

College FAQ's

You should discuss the issue with the college’s office for disabled student services. The processes and procedures used by colleges for providing accommodations vary greatly but all are directed towards ensuring equal access to their programs for students with disabilities. The office can guide you through the appropriate actions you need to take or they may need to intercede. You may need to utilize the college’s appeals process or file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, both of which are processes that are generally used if all other avenues have failed.   (https://www.ahead.org)

The college has the responsibility under Federal law for ensuring access to their programs and activities by students with disabilities. Often, the office for disabled student services is delegated the authority to make decisions on what is regarded as reasonable adjustments to ensure equal access because they have the knowledge, credentials, and experience to do this. The office often uses medical or other professional documentation provided by the student as a basis for making such decisions but they are not required to follow exactly the recommendations made in the documentation provided. If you feel the decision is not fair or appropriate, you may utilize the college’s appeal process or file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.  (https://www.ahead.org)

The college may very well provide you this information in the admission packet. Prior to that, you can go online to Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education’s page: http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/disability.html which provides access to the Federal law and regulations as well as some FAQ’s. You may also contact the college’s office for disabled student services which can provide you information on Federal, state, local, and campus regulations that you should know.  (https://www.ahead.org)

Generally, no, there are no Federally-funded scholarship or loan programs specifically targeted to students with disabilities. However, there may be local or regional scholarships or loan programs established by eleemosynary or charitable organizations for which you might be eligible. You should contact the Student Aid Office at the colleges you are considering; they are knowledgeable about the various scholarships and loan programs available and often can give you a list which describes the qualifications and application deadlines required for the various loans and scholarships. If you are not a client of Vocational Rehabilitation, you may wish to apply for services from VR to see if you are eligible and could receive support.

The HEATH Resource Center produces a helpful guide to scholarship and other funding sources. Look for the “Financial Aid Guide” publication at https://www.heath.gwu.edu/.  (https://www.ahead.org)

You are not required to disclose your disability at any time and the college is prohibited by Federal law from asking you about a disability on the application form. If you believe your disability has had a negative impact on your grades and test scores and, thus, those scores do not truly reflect your ability to do college level work, then it might benefit you to explain that to the admission officer or committee. However, this is a personal decision that you should also discuss with knowledgeable folks such as your parents, school counselor, vocational rehabilitation counselor, or even someone at the college. Often, once a student has been accepted, the college will give incoming students information regarding the office or offices that provide services for students with disabilities as well as time frames for requesting accommodations. It is, then, up to you to contact the appropriate officials if you feel you will need services.  (https://www.ahead.org)

“Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities”            http://www.ed.gov/ocr/transition.html

The information in this pamphlet, provided by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U. S. Department of Education, explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. This pamphlet also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

Job Accommodation Network (http://www.jan.wvu.edu)

JAN, a free consulting service designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities by: 1) providing individualized worksite accommodations solutions, 2) providing technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability related legislation, and 3) educating callers about self-employment options.  (https://www.ahead.org)

The college is responsible for ensuring that their programs and activities are accessible to students with disabilities. If this means that physical modifications are needed such as a raised desk or lowered laboratory table, then the college takes care of that. Special equipment of a personal nature is not necessarily paid for by a college. However, the distinctions between modified equipment for accessibility and personal special equipment can vary so it is always best to discuss these issues with the disabled student services personnel at the college. If your daughter is a client of Vocational Rehabilitation, she should be discussing these issues with her counselor as well.

Find your state vocational rehabilitation office: http://www.workworld.org/wwwebhelp/state_vocational_rehabilitation_vr_agencies.htm

WorkWORLD™ is decision support software for personal computers designed to help people with disabilities, advocates, benefit counselors, and others explore and understand how to best use the work incentives associated with the various Federal and State disability and poverty benefit programs. It automates the computation of benefits, and takes into account the complex interaction of income, benefit programs, and work incentives.

(https://www.ahead.org)

You must make arrangements with Educational Testing Services (ETS) who administer the SAT. Usually, the high school officials who have been working with your son or the school official responsible for administering the SAT should have all the information necessary and should be assisting with the process. Of course, you could contact ETS directly to find out what would be necessary. You should plan on this well in advance of any scheduled administration of the exam.

(https://www.ahead.org)

The short answer is possibly, more than likely probably; however, you may have to pay for it yourself. Because of Federal guidelines, colleges are not mandated to provide tutorial services to ensure access to their educational programs. Often, colleges provide tutorial services to all their students and, if so, they must ensure that the tutorial programs are accessible. Because of the wide range and variety of tutorial services offered by colleges, this would be a mandatory issue to bring up to the colleges your child is considering to attend.

(https://www.ahead.org)

An IEP or 504 Plan addresses your child’s needs in the K-12 educational program. Postsecondary education is a totally different arena. Almost everything about the postsecondary system is different from what you’ve experienced before. This includes how a college may address your child’s needs for accessing its educational program and the information it needs to accomplish this. While the IEP or 504 Plan may provide the disabled student services office with some of what it will need, additional information may be required.

(https://www.ahead.org)

More than likely the office would love to have you visit and learn about their services, processes, and personnel. However, if your visit is occurring during an academic term, they may be very busy and if it occurs during the summer or between terms, they may not be in the office. Either way, it is imperative to make an appointment in advance so someone can be available to answer your questions.

(https://www.ahead.org)

If the college offers a meal plan, then it is important to discuss this issue with appropriate college officials well in advance to ensure that your child’s needs can be met under the meal plan. Often, food services on campus are contracted out to private companies and while this does not release the college from its obligations under a meal plan, it may complicate the process of informing appropriate officials of your child’s needs and implementing appropriate accommodations. If the college does not offer a meal plan of any sort and students are on their own to utilize on-campus or off-campus food establishments, then the matter is solely yours to resolve; however, it would still be worthwhile to discuss this issue with the disabled student services office on campus. More than likely, they have experiences and knowledge with this and can assist.

(https://www.ahead.org)

Housing is exactly that, an option. Many colleges and universities do not provide any housing; others have outsourced their housing to private organizations or other agencies. Others offer very limited housing and others still will provide a full-scale of choices. If the college offers housing, it must ensure that the housing is accessible to students with disabilities. It is very important to discuss your child’s needs with appropriate college officials well in advance to ensure that any accommodations that might be necessary can be handled in a timely manner.

(https://www.ahead.org)

It would be impossible for anyone to rank colleges and universities in such a way. First, as you may already have learned years ago, the term learning disability is a catch-all phrase that describes a vast array of major impediments to learning. Under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, each college and university is required to provide academic adjustments (i.e., accommodations) to ensure that students with learning disabilities can have access to their programs. However, there are many colleges and universities that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide a variety of programs and services to better serve students with learning disabilities. If you believe your child would benefit from a more intense program of services, it will be necessary to research the various colleges and universities providing these services to determine which best fits your child’s needs. Two sources for finding this information include: The Princeton Review K&W Guide for Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD. ISBN 037576495X Peterson’s Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders. ISBN 0768912687

(https://www.ahead.org)

Colleges and universities are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations for students with diagnosed learning disabilities.  For information about your rights and the responsibilities of both you and the college, go to https://ldaamerica.org/category/post-secondary-options/ 

Here are some other resources that may help you look at other options:

Of those three laws, the ADA would be the most likely to protect an individual with a disability at a sorority.  Although it would seem that sororities at public universities are subject to compliance with Title III of the ADA, there is actually an exemption for that compliance for private clubs, and most sororities do meet the criteria to be considered private clubs.  Physical access to a sorority house may be mandatory if the house is on property owned by the university.

But even without considering the ADA exemption, the ADA applies to “qualified individuals” with disabilities.  To be a “qualified individual” in a sorority, the student must be able to carry out the essential requirements of the program, with or without reasonable accommodation.  The sorority is not required to lower standards nor fundamentally alter its program, so it would not be expected to lower the GPA requirements for a person with a disability.

If you have met with the Student Support Services (ADA) office and provided them with their required proof of current disability documentation, the college is legally required to provide reasonable accommodations as needed according to your disability documentation.  If those accommodations have already been approved by the college, but you are not given those accommodations as agreed, you generally have the right to take legal action to ensure that the college is in compliance with the federal laws that protect students with disabilities.

For information about rights and responsibilities for both you and the college, see https://ldaamerica.org/rights-and-responsibilities-of-college-students-with-learning-disabilities-ld/.

An accommodation is a change to the environment; e.g., a private room for testing, a change in testing format, the use of assistive technology, etc.  A modification is a change to the content of the curriculum or the testing, or a change to what the student is expected to learn; e.g., fewer questions on a test, shorter assignments, or how test results are interpreted.

Prisoners with disabilities are protected by § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a), and by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et seq. The Rehabilitation Act was created to apply to federal executive agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons, and to any program that receives federal funding. The ADA was created to regulate state and local government programs, even those that do not receive federal funding. Title II of the ADA states that "no qualified individual with a disability shall...be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity." The United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Goodman & United States v. Georgia that prisoners can sue for monetary damages if they are being discriminated against due to a disability.

However, prison officials are not required to provide accommodations that impose “undue financial and administrative burdens” or require “a fundamental alteration in the nature of [the] program.”  Prison officials are also allowed to discriminate if the disabled inmates’ participation would pose “significant health and safety risks” or a “direct threat” to others.  Finally, some courts have said that prison officials can discriminate against disabled prisoners as long as the discriminatory policies serve “legitimate penological interests.” (Above information retrieved on 05/02/16 from https://www.aclu.org/files/images/asset_upload_file735_25737.pdf ).

The bottom line seems to be that prisoners with learning disabilities do have the right to request reasonable accommodations; however, the prison officials may impose some parameters on how those accommodation requests are approved and/or applied.

Yes, if your child wants you to be there.

Access to a keyboard and/or a speech-to-text program like Dragon Naturally Speaking may be effective solutions, but using speech-to-text may not be possible for note-taking during class.  It should be very helpful for writing papers, though.  You can find out more about Dragon at http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm. You can also check your computer’s list of accessible programs; most have a speech-to-text program already installed on your computer that you don’t have to pay for.

For note-taking in class, you may want to check out the “Live Scribe” pen, which allows you to take notes, draw pictures, and digitally record what the teacher is saying – all at the same time.  It also instantly syncs with your laptop so you have a digital version of what you’ve written.   For more information, go to https://www.livescribe.com/en-us/.

There’s also an app called “AudioNote” that does much the same thing and is much cheaper.  See http://luminantsoftware.com/iphone/audionote.html.

One last idea is to use a graphic organizer approach to writing reports, papers, etc.  For more information about various types of graphic organizers and resources, see https://ldaamerica.org/graphic-organizers/

No, there is no legal action you can take at this point. Schools are required to provide “reasonable” accommodations upon request.  If you didn’t request any accommodations, they’re not responsible for the academic problems you had when you chose not to request any assistance.  So, they can’t undo the work and/or tests you’ve completed in the past that have made you subject to dismissal.

That said, you can take your current documentation to the Student Support Services (or ADA office) office at your school and see what steps you may be able to take to request and receive accommodations at the school in the event that you are allowed to re-do assignments and/or tests to improve your enrollment status.

Take a copy of your evaluation documentation to the school’s ADA office (sometimes called Student Support Services), along with a letter from your doctor that explains what medication you’re taking and how that medication will help you meet the program goals without interfering with any of the required tasks during training.  If all your paperwork is current – probably needs to be within the last 3 years – then you may be able to get an exception from the school for taking the medication.

However, if your training program is part of a military organization, you may not be able to receive an exemption.  The Armed Forces are not required to grant accommodations, such as extended test time, on the qualifying test. Further, military regulations provide that academic skills deficits that interfere with school or work after the age of 12 may be a cause for rejection for service in the Armed Forces. These regulations also provide that current use of medication, such as Ritalin or Dexedrine, to improve academic skills is disqualifying for military service.

You do not have the right to be automatically reinstated to any program if you were ineligible due to test scores, etc. that were impacted by an undiagnosed learning disability.  What you can do, however, is meet with a counselor at the program to review your learning disability evaluation and determine whether or not you may be able to enroll again, this time with instructional and testing accommodations.  You will most likely have to re-take any classes and tests that you previously did not pass.  Different schools have different policies regarding reinstatement, so this is something you’ll have to work out with the specific program in which you were enrolled.

The first step is to choose your college carefully, making sure that there is a good support system in place for students with learning disabilities.  The student services support office should work with you to make arrangements for effective and appropriate instructional and testing accommodations throughout your college experience.

There are many articles about this and other information about how to succeed in college as a person with a learning disability at https://ldaamerica.org/category/post-secondary-options/.

According to Robin L. Schwarz’s article, Learning Disabilities and Foreign Language Learning, “Policies on waivers from foreign language requirements vary enormously. Every school has its own set of requirements. Some require full documentation of a learning disability with findings pointing to the deficits which are associated with foreign language learning problems; others might require a score on the Modern Language Aptitude Test ( MLAT).

Unfortunately for the LD student, many schools, especially colleges, may require evidence of having attempted a foreign language and failed…Students and families asking schools for accommodation on this issue need to be well-versed themselves and prepared to provide literature or at least reference to literature that will inform the school of this problem. Even better, when possible, parents or adult students should discuss the problem with a school before enrolling, to be sure that the problem can be dealt with.”

There is a list of available scholarships for people with learning disabilities here. For more information about financial aid for college students with learning disabilities, take a look at our resource here.

Employment FAQ's

Legislation was passed that exempts the Armed Forces from the ADA. The Armed Forces are not required to grant accommodations, such as extended test time, on their qualifying test or as applies to service, so yes, having a learning disability would be a big problem. Also, military regulations provide that academic skills deficits that interfere with school or work after the age of 12 may be a cause for rejection for service in the Armed Forces.

Specifically, Members of the Armed Forces are appointed to a specific rank or grade under the authority of Title 10, United States Code. As such, they are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act (see 42 U.S.C. Sections 12111(5)(B)(i) at http://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm#12111 and 12131 at http://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm#12131). Discrimination in DoD civilian positions is governed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which generally applies the same standards for employment as the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, this policy does not apply to “uniformed members of the military departments,” only civilians. The military exception to the Rehabilitation Act is articulated in case law interpreting the statutory language. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and DoD regulations explicitly exempt military positions in the DoD from disability anti-discrimination policies and procedures. DoD physical requirements for military positions affirmatively discriminate on the basis of disability, and the courts have interpreted the military’s statutory authority to prescribe physical standards as overriding the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.

There is a link from the Coast Guard which has a synopsis of all the relevant sections of the USC, any executive orders, etc. at

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg00/cg00h/History/EEOLaws.asp

So basically, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 exempts the federal government from complying with disability law based on its fundamental definition of "employer." Any compliance with disability law by the armed forces is by choice, so for example, they have chosen to make all new construction wheelchair accessible. Likewise, they have chosen to adopt policy/procedure that does not allow for accommodations on the ASVAB. But it's their choice.

Effective job accommodations for any disability, including dyscalculia, must be determined based on the individual’s areas of strengths and needs. However, typical job accommodations for dyscalculia include the following:

  • Use of a calculator for all math-related tasks. Types of calculators may include:
    • Talking
    • Fractional
    • Statistical
    • Scientific
    • Construction (e.g., “Jobber 6”)
  • Using talking tape measures or talking scales
  • Using pre-measurement guides or jibs

There is a lot of information about learning disabilities in the workplace at https://ldaamerica.org/category/workplace-issues/. Another good resource is the Job Accommodation Network at http://askjan.org.

There is information about learning disabilities and employment at https://ldaamerica.org/category/workplace-issues/

Depending on how old your son’s learning disability evaluation is, he should have the right to request reasonable accommodations to help him succeed in his job. Employers vary regarding how current they ask LD documentation to be, but if it’s was done within the last 5 years, it should be current enough. Some employers will accept older evaluations if the person was an adult when he or she was last tested.

Choosing reasonable and effective job accommodations varies depending on the individual’s areas of strengths and needs. For example, if your son has strong visual skills, it might help him to have written directions and/or flow charts for multi-step processes. If, however, he does better with listening than reading, it might be more appropriate to have an auditory recording of the steps that he can listen to as he works.

There are ideas for assistive technology that may help him at https://ldaamerica.org/category/technology/technology-for-adults/. Also, you may want to explore the information at the Job Accommodation Network at http://askjan.org/ JAN also has a toll-free number so you can call and speak with a job accommodation expert about ideas for effective and appropriate accommodations. That number is 800.526.7234.

Yes, you definitely need a written release of confidential information signed by your son before you can discuss any disability-related information with his employer. A better approach, of course, is for your son to self-advocate for his needs himself, or at least be with you when you meet with the employer. There is more information about self-advocacy in the workplace at https://ldaamerica.org/self-advocacy-in-the-workplace-requesting-job-accommodations/

There are a number of articles about learning disabilities in the workplace at https://ldaamerica.org/category/workplace-issues/. Also, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at https://askjan.org/ has online information as well as a toll-free number you can call to speak with a disability expert about jobs and disabilities.

It’s important to choose a career or job where you can use your strengths more than your areas of challenges. The ADAAA protects people with disabilities in the workplace, however, so with the right job accommodations in place, you should be able to find a good match with your strengths and interests.

There are a number of articles about learning disabilities in the workplace at https://ldaamerica.org/category/workplace-issues/. Also, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at https://askjan.org/ has online information as well as a toll-free number you can call to speak with a disability expert about jobs and disabilities.

Students with a Certificate of Completion should be eligible for many of the same employment opportunities as student with high school diplomas, but a good job fit would be something where the student could use his areas of strengths as much as possible. It’s also important to determine appropriate job accommodations and strategies for the more challenging areas.

A good resource for help finding the right job for people with disabilities is your local Rehabilitation Service Agency (RSA) program. Click here for information about RSA and how they can help.

To find your local VR program, click here and choose “State Agencies/Contacts.” Each state’s VR contact information is listed.

You can find more information about Certificates of Completion vs. high school diplomas here.

There is detailed information about disability disclosure in the workplace at https://ldaamerica.org/self-advocacy-in-the-workplace-requesting-job-accommodations/

ESL FAQ's

Strategies that are helpful for non-ESL students with learning disabilities are usually appropriate for ESL students with learning disabilities, too.  Real-life, experiential, hands-on learning; graphic organizers; using the student’s learning strengths; accommodating the individual’s disability as needed; and the use of assistive technology when possible.

Executive Function FAQ's

Traditional strategies for improving executive functioning include the use of graphic organizers, daily and weekly planners, color-coding and other organizational tools, and allowing extra time to complete tasks. Also, sports and exercise have recently been shown to improve executive function skills such as focus, working memory, and cognitive flexibility.

There are also many assistive technology applications available to assist with executive functioning. Smart phones have calendars with a system of reminders built-in, as well as digital note pads to help with memory and organization. Additionally, there are many apps available if you search online for “executive functioning apps.” Two good places to begin searching are the “Tools for Life App Finder” and the app finder at Learning Works for Kids.