Learning Disability Designee Resources

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

Overview of the LD Designee Role

Download this printable pdf compilation of LD Designee Role and Materials that includes a detailed role description, calendar and ideas for staff training.

The Learning Disability Designee’s essential role is to coordinate program efforts to make the public service (education) accessible to all in accordance with federal ADA statute (see 5 ADA Administrative Requirements). 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 the accommodations necessary for them to access the service. The Designee is the contact person for assistance in securing disability accommodations.

Designee tasks that address general ADA compliance include, but are not limited to:

  • Checking physical accessibility of building and classrooms at least yearly using ADA accessibility standards.
  • Ensuring that up to date non-discrimination notices including Designee’s contact information are included in student materials such as handbooks and are posted in public areas.
  • If organization has a facilities transition plan, knowing what the plan is, and whether it is moving forward.

The LD Designee is responsible for coordinating the efforts within their program and between programs to make the public service of education accessible to all adults who seek it in the state. Designees gather documentation of requests for accommodation and of the accommodations that are provided. Designees also make sure that compliance plans are moving forward and ask RIDE for assistance when necessary. The Designee is responsible for understanding how their program process incorporates the 5 screening steps.

Required Public Notices of Non-Discrimination

ABE programs must establish and post a public notice that a) informs students, employees, and the general public that all programs, activities, and employment opportunities are provided without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, and disability, and b) provides the names(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the (LD Designee) ADA Coordinator(s) responsible for Title II (ADA), Title VI (race, national origin), Title IX (gender), and Section 504 (disability).

It is recommended that the public notice be posted in at least three of the languages most widely spoken by the student body, and it is required for all programs regardless of number of employees.

A word file containing the federal sample public notice.text for ADA public notice

Pawtucket Adult Education shared a Spanish translation of the notice. AVISO BAJO LA LEY Sample ADA Notice in Spanish

The notice provided in the federal toolkit is written at a reading level appropriate to a graduate student.

The following version was edited by Beatrice McGeoch (RI Adult Education Learning Disabilities Specialist) to be more readable by our students. The edit still lands at about 12th grade level. It may go lower once you have replaced “[name of public entity]with your program information. THE SIMPLIFIED TEXT HAS NOT BEEN FORMALLY REVIEWED, PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION BEFORE USING IT.12th grade language notice of nondiscrimination

You can test readability of text using this web site: https://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp

Dept of health and human services requires a similar notice under Affordable Care Act, but it includes interpretation services. For making a translation, language might be used from:

http://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/translated-resources/

For general ADA information in Spanish: https://www.ada.gov/t2hlt95_spanish.htm

Resources to Check Accessibility of Physical Building and Web Communications

All programs should have a completed physical accessibility checklist on file. New construction should be ADA compliant, but objects may have been arranged in a way that obstructs routes, and programs should regularly check that their facility is meeting the standard. If the checklist can not be found, or if your program has moved to a new location use this 2010 ADA checklist developed by the New England ADA Center.

If your program creates or updates a web page, there are communications guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guidlines (WCAG). This printable WCAG2-at-a-Glance or this set of easy checklists Easy Checks for Web Accessibility can assist a DIY effort to publish an accessible web page.

Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on Testing for Web Accessibility Compliance.

Resources for Staff Training on Disabilities and Learning Differences

Learning to Achieve materials are available for online training and can also be delivered as workshops. Please contact the LD Specialist if you are interested in this possibility.

Online Learning Disabilities Training Materials from Ontario

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program: Disability Etiquette

Disability Resources for WIOA Practitioners

Adult Educator Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities 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.

Legislation governing Adult Education:

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

Valid Screening Tools

Every program should have a screening tool that they use to help struggling students determine whether a professional evaluation of their difficulty is warranted.

For English Language Learners, try Empire State Screen for Spanish Speaking Adults (use these instructions: Empire State Screen instructions  from the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State)

This older screening protocol might also be useful: Bridges-Practitioner-Screening-Protocol

Longer student self-checklists from Bridges to Practice: Bridges-student-self-check-appendix_B.

Copies of student self-assessments should be kept in program file, shared with teacher, and reviewed each session. If the results of a screening tool indicate that there might be a learning disability, the student should be provided with options for pursuing evaluation. Goodwill Industries to can bring extra support to individual students at any program by request.  Their staff are certified in the delivery of Powerpath (http://www.powerpath.com/). Download their  “Request for Support (to be added by Sept 21)” form and fax it to Goodwill.

This info sheet from the Learning Disabilities Association of America summarizes helpful information for an adult seeking evaluation: Adult-Learning-Disability-Assessment-Process-pdf

 

Preparing for Classroom Accommodations (see also Resources for Teachers: Differentiation and Accessibility )

If a student requests an accommodation that requires text formatting or technology outside of what your program is capable of, please contact the LD Specialist for assistance.

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards: Best Practices for Educators

National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) Many large publishers prepare digital versions of their text books that are ready to reformat for a students’ specific needs. If you need to provide an accessible version of a text book (for ex: large print, braille or text-to-speech), search this data base to find an adaptable version. If a student needs access to a text book that is in NIMAC, contact the LD Specialist to help coordinate the process with TechACCESS RI.

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:

Student-How-To-Find-Records-June-2017

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

In RI, an adult student has three possible ways to connect with a professional evaluator to determine the nature of their learning difference: through individual health care, through the Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) and through the URI Psychological Consultation Center.

PLEASE NOTE: If student is under 22, local school districts have an obligation to evaluate a person for possible disabilities if the person has not graduated, and is suspected of having a disability. This responsibility is identified in Federal legislation; it is not a state or local option. Please contact RIDE for assistance promptly if you believe a student meeting this condition may be enrolling in your program.

An adult student may 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 (or with a family member as advocate) 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 students with disabilities 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

http://www.ccri.edu/dss/

Rhode Island College Disability Services Center

http://www.ric.edu/disabilityservices/

URI Disability Services for Students

http://web.uri.edu/disability/

Employment:

JAN        The Job Accommodation Network website includes extensive information to support individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

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