Learning disabled

Guidelines for Organizing Inclusive Adult Education and Teaching for Adults with learning Disabilities as participants in general courses or special courses in general Adult Education Centres

1.    To do when you wish to adapt your courses to include learners with learning disabilities:

a.     Check the basic condition for the courses you offer:

·        What group of learning disabled people do you want to reach?

What criteria must the learner stand up to? (e.g. shall the learning disabled learners be able to read/write given technical aid, shall he/she have some working skills necessary for the program? Can you make your courses open to people with severe or profound complex disabilities?).

Physical ability – Cognitive ability – Communication skills – Social skills

Working/studying skills (e.g. reading or fine motoric)

Need for technical aid– assistance – interpreter – peer tutor system

·        The learning place – is the location and facilities accessible for all?

Doors and thresholds, elevator, restroom, equipment, assistance in waiting time before and after lessons.

·        Announcement and registration – are your systems accessible for all?

Information in relevant placement, where and how to apply? Easy reading text or visual representation? access to assistance/consultation in the process of applying?

b.     Examine content and purpose of each course that shall be available to all:

·        What general courses can meet the will and wishes of the target group of learning disabled learners, and may be adapted without compromising the study of others?

Is there a need for a special evaluation process at the attendance?

·        Is there a need to change the purpose of the study,

or shall there be different demand on outcome or achievement for the learning disabled learners?
Will the learner get limited rights according to his achievement if it is supposed to be less than demanded of other learners?

·        Is the content relevant for learning disabled learners?

What general courses can meet the wishes of the target group and may be adapted without compromising the study of others?

What courses shall be made as special offer for learning disabled people and why?

Purpose or contents special to learning disabled people?

Extensive adaption of contents?

Extensive adaption of physical situation or teaching methods?

Extensive and profound need of support?

Bear in mind that inclusive studies for profoundly disabled people may sometimes be better reached by same location as other learners and sharing the social area even if the learning is in special facilities. It may also add to their social inclusion in general, as they will be better known by other learners in the society.

To find out if the course must be changed to include the target group of learning disabled people , ask:

Disability organisations, people first clubs, advocacy groups or focus groups of learning disabled people

Teachers/professionals/social services

Experienced administrators

To find out needs and wishes of learning disabled people for adult education ask:

Advocacy groups or focus groups of learning disabled people

Learning disabled people in sheltered workshops, day-care centers, or home services.

Disability organisations

Professionals/social services

Experienced administrators


2.    To do when you have decided to announce one or more specific courses as accessible to all: Define in more details:

·        The specific Course goals and objectives.

What goals will be adapted or changed, Skills – social gains – personal growth – empowerment

·        Content and program

How shall the content and program be adapted to the needs of the learning disabled target group?

·        Teaching methods, materials, time frames.

Light / Sound environment?

Learning material – easy read text – visual representation – larger print – color of paper – visual / tactile materials – other?

Length of lessons, intervals of break?

·        Support

Interpretation / peer mentor / teaching assistant / personal assistant?

Support at waiting times before and after lessons?

Meeting with teacher / guidance counselor?

Alternative assessment.?

·        Diploma or rights

Will the learning disabled learner get the same diploma / rights as other learners, given achievement within regular limits of outcome

Will the learning disabled learner get limited rights or special diploma according to his achievement?
Will the study make him or her easier to get work?

Other conditions of outcome for the learning disabled learner?

3.    To do after learners have registered and you actually know you have learners with learning disabilities:

·        Collect information from the learner – Only collect information relevant for the study. What do you need to know?

Communication skills – methods – technical aids – alternative or augmentative communication methods?

Social factors – skills and barriers?

Interests – pleasures – earlier experience – special wishes?

Mobility/physical challenges – Perception / study skills?

·        What achievement does the individual learning disabled learner seek? is there a leeway for individualization?

Individual adaption of goals, opportunities to choice

·        Practical adaption of the course

including form of study material and communication, breaks, duration of each class, size of group, need for assistance/tutor etc.

Teaching methods have to be related both to the purpose, the participants, the teacher and the frames in general

·        Prepare the learners – good and relevant information before the course starts

Information to the individual learning disabled learner in the form best accessible for him/her – e.g. interview, meeting before study start, visual representation, other?

Information for other learners at the same course?

Information for other staff at the learning place?

4.    During the course

·        The first meeting – Learning disabled learners are first and foremost learners like any other and should be treated accordingly.

A friendly welcome and good focus on the course contents is much easier if you are well prepared and have already made the necessary adaptations.

·        Preparation before lessons – you may have to make changes as the course progresses

Needs for adaption? – How do you discover if the learner’s achievement is in the right direction?

Regular revision of progress, teaching methods and teaching materials may be neccessary.

Planning how to make room for choices, strengthen self-esteem, empowerment or regular extra breaks may be important.

5.    Evaluation

·        Evaluation according to purpose of the course – What will indicate the learning disabled learners learning process?

Observations made during or at end the course?

Results regarding the participants and the goals planned?

The atmosphere, mastering, happiness, other?

·        Evaluation by the learners according to expectations.

How can the learner evaluate the course if he/she is not able to use the same methods as other learners? - Text – photos – drawings – support by technical aid as talking mats, printed material and stickers, communication tablets?

Appendix I Information about learner – Ask about what matters towards this special course. There is a lot of information that you do not need to have and therefore should not be asking about. Get to know about qualifications, abilities, necessary adaptations to make.

This is a memo. No one needs to ask about everything, but the memo shall help the teacher to consider what he/she needs to know and ask about.

Communication – expression and understanding

Use and understanding of spoken language – reading – signs - signals

Expression – speaks? – how much/clear – writes?

Other expression – gesticulation, facial, sounds, symbols, signs – how easily read?

Expression/reaction of stress – desperation?

In what situations – what triggers– how to foresee – how to prevent?

What can happen - How to react

Other reaction/expression that needs special reaction

Sounds – high pitch/other?

Visual stimuli – movements/colours/light/other?

Touch – Speech – Approach or gesticulation of teacher/fellow learner

Social factors – being able to participate in a group

Level of activity – concentration – attention

Obsessions, patterns, communication of insecurity?

interests – pleasures – what enjoys, soothes, gives security, taste

only what matter in this courses subjective/content

Perception – sight – hearing – other?

Health conditions – epilepsy – heart problem or other health condition that matters in this course

Physical disability needed to adapt to – motoric conditions

Earlier experience in relation to the course subject

Special wishes or expectations of learner, spokesman, family

Cooperation between teacher and spokesman at home/work in this course – goal, study, assessment

Other factors important in this course –

How to prepare the learner before the course – social story? letter in easy reading text? In photos? – Meeting at home or in school before the study begins?

How to meet the learner at the location? – need for visual system/constant pattern of activities/ social translator – How to secure that he knows what to do, what happens next and how the lesson ends

Appendix II Main conditions and obstacles recognized by

Learner experienced in general secondary education and in diploma university studies for people with learning disabilities, as well as special adult education courses
Project leaders in adult education for learning disabled people in general adult education centers
Leaders in special diploma studies

Peer tutor – project leaders and learner all name peer tutor as the first and most important factor in enabling a learning disabled learner to participate in studies together with non disabled learners. Peer tutor helps the disabled learner to understand the content and supports him/her in homework and projects of study. As a byproduct the tutor enables the learner to better integrate into the learning society and social activities.

Attitude of teacher – welcoming and respecting the disabled learner is vital. More important often than special adaption of content.

Adaption of the presentation of content – has often been appreciated by the nondisabled learners as well, and some teachers come to the conclusion that the study as whole has been better, without violating the content.

Introductions and presentations – for the society, both teachers/educators and learners are important to diminish insecurity.

What is the aim of the disabled learner(s) being studying at this school/organization/place/participating in the same study as nondisabled learners. – or in special courses in the same localization as nondisabled …

What is to be expected of the society, educators, consultants, learners, administrator personnel – of the disabled learners

What demands can be done, educational, social, communicational to the disabled learner

Time – Attitude of teachers and learners get more relaxed and welcoming with time and experience

Placement – Even in special courses for learning disabled people placed at general adult education center, the learning disabled learners gain inclusion by localization. They get included in the general environments participating in social areas with other learners. They also gain more inclusion in the general society by being known by more people that stop and salute and have conversation when out in the society.