Learning Disability Designee Resources

Find slides and handouts from past trainings: LD Designee Training Archive

Learning Difference and Learning Disability


Using Person First Language



Responsibilities of the LD Designee

Connecting Staff with Training on Disabilities and Learning Differences

Online Learning Disabilities Training Materials from Ontario

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program: Disability Etiquette

Disability Resources for WIOA Practitioners

The Designee’s essential role is to make sure that the public service (education) which is offered by the organization is accessible to all in accordance with ADA statute. The Designee makes sure that non-discrimination notices are posted in public spaces and included in handbooks etc., and that students are informed of their right to request reasonable accommodations necessary for them to access the service. Also, the Designee is the listed person to contact for assistance in securing disability accommodations.

For more detailed information read: 5 ADA Administrative Requirements
Adult Educator Handbook of Rights and Responsibilites from the Division of Adult Studies at the University of Kansas is an excellent resource that includes checklists to assist the work of the designee.)

Because learning disabled students are by definition challenged in some aspect of accessing education, and because adult education sees a high rate of these students (with or without documentation of a diagnosis), public adult education institutions must use systematic methods to assist students to identify barriers to their learning and find accommodations. In effect, for adult education to be accessible, the first step must be to verify whether the student is able to access the means of learning. For this reason, in addition to verifying basic ADA compliance, the Designee role is to improve the accessibility of education to learning disabled students from beginning to end of service delivery.


Below is a proposed set of 5 Elements for Screening for LD. It is in a early stage of development, and if you have critical feedback, please share it with Beatrice McGeoch (beatricemcgeoch@gmail.com) If there is a general agreement on the system, elements 1, 2 and 5 can be implemented relatively easily. 3 might take 2-4 months to develop, and 4 would likely take 3-8 months. Revision and approval of the proposed elements will be happening from April 29 until mid-June 2016.


1) Inform Learners of their Rights and Responsibilities

In addition to required ADA notices of non-discrimination, the first information and orientation sessions a program gives should include an explanation of the rights and responsibilities of adult students. Explanation should highlight the legal difference between child and adult students, and should prepare adults to work with staff to identify the means of representation, expression and engagement that work best for them.

Chapter 16-63 of RI Statute concerns Adult Education

Within the statute, the Adult Education Bill of Rights further defines learner rights.

On the federal level, funding for Adult Education is set out in the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act


2) Provide Early Opportunities to Disclose and to Request Accommodations

The first detailed application or intake form that a student completes when joining a program should include a section or question that provides an opportunity for the student to disclose a disability and request accommodations.

3) Student Identification of Class Success Strategies,

Short checklists or questionnaires could be written that would spark student understanding that it is their responsibility to be ready to actively participate in class.

Checklists would have to be developed at a few reading levels and translated for the lower levels. They would focus on adjustments that is inspired by longer student self-checklists from Bridges to Practice (Bridges-student-self-check-appendix_B). Programs also can use a more thorough process such as Powerpath (http://www.powerpath.com/). Copies of student self-assessment should be kept in program file, shared with teacher, and reviewed each session.

4) Teacher Identification of Student Instructional Needs Using Content and Level-Specific Checklists and Tools

These checklists would also need to be developed using parts of existing checklists and input from experienced teachers. They would correspond to the type and level of class the student was entering. The goal is to create short tools that give student and teacher some pointers about what type of instruction will work best before entering class.

5) Regular Review of Student Progress to Confirm or adjust Class Placement, Instruction and/or Accommodations

One on one meeting between teacher and student after first 12-20 hours of instruction to confirm or adjust Class Placement, Instruction and/or Accommodations. Meeting outcomes should be signed and dated by both teacher and student, and documented in student file. The question of how the student can best access the education that is offered should be regularly revisited, at least once per session and more if teacher and student agree it is necessary. If teacher and student realize that the student is not progressing toward their goal, then more in-depth screening and the possibility of evaluation should be pursued.

One resource for working with a student to identify accommodations that might work is the Procedural Guide to Accommodating Adults with Disabilities published by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning Division of Adult Studies. This older screening protocol might also be useful: Bridges-Practitioner-Screening-Protocol

For English Language Learners, try Empire State Screen for Spanish Speaking Adults (use these instructions: Empire State Screen instructions these resources from the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State (LDANYS http://www.ldanys.org/index.php?s=4&b=13&p=16)


Documenting Disability for Testing

Finding old records:

A student may find documentation of diagnosis and/or information about accommodations that they have had in the past when they request a COMPLETE copy of their educational record from the last district that they attended. Programs can use the worksheet attached here to support students seeking their records:


The Student General information about the adult learning disability assessment process can be found here:Adult Learning Disability Assessment Process . The result of a 3 year project at the University of Kansas full manual can be found here: UKansas ACC Guide

Accommodations for the GED:

To apply for accommodations on the GED exams, start here. Before applying for the accommodation of extended time on a GED exam, a student can take a GED Ready (practice exam) with extra time. GED Ready can only be purchased to run with extended time by calling 1-800-392-6433. GED extended time accommodation will be 125%, 150% or 200%. The most common accommodation is 125% time, but since students do not know what kind of time that they will get, they should purchase a GED Ready at 200% time, then time themselves as they take the practice test.

Paths to Diagnosis in RI

When an adult student in RI needs a professional to diagnose or determine the nature of their learning difference, there are a few paths to pursue: individual health care, ORS and the URI Psychological Consultation Center.

In theory, an adult student should be able to access evaluation for a condition that significantly impacts their life functioning by asking for a referral through a primary care physician. Anecdotal reports on the success of this path vary greatly, but a student with the ability to self-advocate and a supportive physician might try this path. Some programs keep a list of doctors who have worked with past students successfully.

If the adult student is interested in finding or keeping a job and their educational difficulties are the barrier, the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS)  is an option. Fill out the application, which is on the website, and send it in. Once the application is submitted, you will be assigned a VR Counselor and they will determine if an evaluation is the best next step for you on your path to employment. If you have questions, go to the Learning Disabilities Project contact information to connect the student with a VR Counselor who is experienced in Learning Differences.

From the ORS site: “To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, you must – 1) have a physical, intellectual or emotional impairment which is a substantial barrier to employment, and 2) require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment, and 3) be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your vocational rehabilitation office will presume that you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.”

If the adult student does not have employment as a goal, but needs more detailed information and a professional diagnosis (for ex: when transitioning to college), the URI Psychological Consultation Center in Kingston offers complete evaluations at a reduced rate. The full 3 day evaluation and preparation of written documentation is $495 (as of spring 2016) and can be paid in 2-3 installments. RIDE support should be requested if the URI path seems the only option and the fees are a barrier to student access.

Transition for LD Students into Post-Secondary and Employment

Post Secondary:

Colleges and universities make accommodations for disabled students when students work with a student services office to request accommodations before classes start. Students with documented disabilities should be referred to these offices as they are transitioning from adult education.

CCRI Disability Services for Students


Rhode Island College Disability Services Center


URI Disability Services for Students



The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) released an InfoBrief  in 2004 on working with disabled youth and adults in the workforce development system. Here it is in English and in Spanish