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College & Adult

Living with a learning disability (LD) is no easy task. Throughout your life, your LD accompanies you everywhere—to the workplace, the supermarket, the bowling alley…it's always there. Adults need to understand how to manage their LD and the risks and advantages of disclosing their LD status in college, at work, and beyond.

Adults with Learning Disabilities - Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Accessing Support Programs in College

Programs for Learning Disabilities - Adults with Learning DisabilitiesBeing a beginner all over again is tough - whether you're starting a new job or the first year of college. Here are some tips on finding the social and academic support you'll need.

Assessing Interests and Abilities

Career Development - Finding a CareerTaking a closer look at your interests and abilities can help you make better choices whenever you're faced with big decisions regarding the future. Before setting your goals, it's a good idea to think about what you enjoy doing most, what you're good at, and how challenges that lie ahead might impact your future. At some point you'll want to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Being a Spouse or Partner When You Have a Learning Disability

Adults With Learning Disabilities – Learning Disorders In Adults Maintaining a long-lasting and satisfying relationship with a spouse or partner is challenging enough. But having a learning disability (LD) may make it even harder. You may want the relationship to be a stronger one, but you don't know how to make that happen. Some of the behaviors associated with your learning disability may annoy your partner, and your partner's criticism of you may cause you to feel dissatisfied with the relationship.

Being Tested for LD in Adulthood

Learning Disability - AdulthoodMany who struggle to learn as adults (and who struggled in their earlier school years) aren’t aware that they have a learning disability (LD). Other adults who were identified with LD when they were children face new challenges in managing their LD in college, on the job, and in carrying out other adult responsibilities. If either scenario describes you or someone you care about, you’ll benefit from the following information on evaluating, identifying, and managing LD in adulthood.

Being Your Own Advocate

Education Advocate - What is Self Advocacy Having learning disabilities often means having special needs. As an adult it's up to you to make sure your rights are being respected and that the accommodations you need are available to you. Whether at school or at work, being an advocate for yourself means understanding your rights, understanding how you work best and working with others to ensure that your special needs are met.

Checklist for Evaluating a College

special-needs-stories-knowledge-puzzle-pieceWhether you’re applying to a two- or four-year college, there are many important factors to consider. Use the following checklist to help you determine which college will best meet your individual needs, keeping in mind the level of support your learning disability requires.

Checklist for Transitioning From High School to College

Checklist College - Transition From High SchoolAs you and your teen look ahead to college, make sure you’re both aware of key differences between high school and college: special education services and the laws that support and protect those with learning disabilities. There are no IEP’s in college!

Common Warning Signs of Dyscalculia in College Students and Adults

Math Learning Disability SymptomsIf you (or someone you care about) have always had a difficult time with math and spatial concepts, you may want to learn more about a learning disability called dyscalculia. Dyscalculia involves a range of math-related challenges. Below you’ll find a list of common warning signs of dyscalculia in college students and adults.

Common Warning Signs of Dysgraphia in College Students and Adults

Dysgraphia Warning Signs - College and AdultsHave you always had a difficult time with writing – the physical act of using a pen and pencil during writing or conveying your ideas in written formats? Or, do you know someone who might struggle with written expression? If so, you’ll want to know about a learning disability (LD) called Dysgraphia, a specific learning disability that affects writing.

Common Warning Signs of Dyslexia in College Students and Adults

Dyslexia Symptoms and Warning Signs in Adults Have you always struggled with reading, spelling or writing and wondered if you (or an adult you care about) might have a learning disability (LD) such as dyslexia? It’s never too late to seek help to discover whether LD is contributing to or underlying these problems. Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder that can impact an individual’s ability to read, write, spell and speak, as well as their social interactions and self-esteem. The following is a list of common warning signs of dyslexia in college students and adults. This list may describe struggles that have perplexed and plagued you for years!

Determining Your Marketable Skills

Job Skills - Life SkillsMany of your strengths and abilities are "marketable." This means that they are of value to employers. Your marketable skills can be applied to specific jobs. Employers will want you to have both job-specific skills and the right disposition and interpersonal skills to adapt to the workplace. Job-specific skills might include: carpentry, sewing, electrical wiring and bookkeeping. General skills could include getting along with others, being a team player, managing time, respecting diversity, organizing work, and problem-solving.

Disclosure on the Job

Employer Disability - Employer Disability Congratulations! You’ve gotten the job. Now the question is: Do you disclose your LD or keep it to yourself? There are arguments on both sides. Many adults fear that if they disclose their LD to their supervisor, they will no longer be trusted to take on important projects. Others fear being stigmatized by their coworkers. However, you should know that more people today are familiar with learning disabilities than ever before, and LD on the job has become more prevalent and generally accepted. What is more, if you decide to tell your boss about your LD and need for accommodations, this information must be kept confidential. Your coworkers are not entitled to know about your disability unless you choose to tell them.

Dr. Arlyn Roffman on Promoting Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance in Teens

College Learning Disabilities – Transition Learning Disabilities Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities: Navigating the Transition from High School to Adulthood is the book from former National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) Professional Advisory Board member, Arlyn Roffman. In her book, Dr. Roffman offers advice, tips, and information to help families and high school guidance and support personnel understand the extra challenges posed toward students with learning disabilities (LD) as they face the already daunting task of transitioning from high school to adulthood.

Getting Access to Assistive Technology in College

Learning Disabilities College - Assistive Technologies for Students Are you a high school student who uses assistive technology (AT) in school as a way of compensating for your learning disability? Do you have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that requires your school to provide you with a personal talking word processor, an electronic keyboard, or other useful devices to help you stay organized and complete work assignments? If so, beware! Once you graduate from high school, you will most likely need to leave behind any AT equipment your school provided.

Going to a Two-Year College: Is It the Right Choice for You?

checklist-college-student-sitting-in-backgroundThere are many reasons for going to a two-year college that should be taken into consideration when deciding which direction you’d like to follow when you graduate from high school. Don’t think of a two-year college as a second-choice option or one that holds less value. Many students (both with and without learning disabilities) opt to attend a two-year community college – and benefit from the experience.

How Can I Get Work Experience? Volunteer and Paid Jobs for Teens

Jobs Internship Opportunities – Student Internship Jobs

    Whether you’re a junior or senior in high school or a new graduate making decisions about your future, it’s important to get some real work experience. A volunteer or paid job can help you “try out” a career field or job setting to see if it’s a good fit for you.

    How Can I Learn a Trade? Internships, Technical Education, and More

    Career Preparation - Learning Disabilities JobsTwo excellent ways to explore your career interests and learn a specific trade are internships and apprenticeships. Both experiences allow you to observe and assist working people. Most offer valuable training that will help you learn the skills required for a particular job or career. And if you want job-focused education after high school, consider career and technical schools.

    How to Pay for College: Financial Aid and Scholarships for Students With LD

    Scholarships For Disabled – Financial Aid Disabled Senior year of high school—time to relax, coast, wait for college, right? Wrong! You may have been accepted to your college of choice, but the work doesn’t end with an acceptance letter and a trip to the mall for new sheets and jeans. How will you finance your college education? Where and when do you begin the hunt for financial aid?

    How to Write a Cover Letter

    Cover Letters - Adults with LDWhether you’re responding to a specific job opening or simply writing to express interest in working at a company, you should send a cover letter along with your resumé. The main purpose of your cover letter is to direct the reader to your resumé, but it is also a sales pitch in its own right. Highlight in your letter exactly which skills and experiences found on your resumé make you a great candidate for the position, and why the particular job or company is appealing to you. As with your resumé, make sure you proofread your letter before sending it, and ask someone else to proofread it as well. Your letter must be free of typos and errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

    Independent Living: When to Go for It

    Living With a Disability - Adult Disabilities Living away from your family can involve moving into your own place. When you first leave home, you will likely have to share your space, or at least share common facilities (e.g., kitchen, laundry) with roommates, in a dormitory, house or apartment.

    Job Accommodations for People With Learning Disabilities

    Job Accommodations - People with LDThe term “reasonable accommodation” refers to changes in the work place that enable people with disabilities to effectively perform the tasks associated with their job. Accommodations can help people with learning disabilities do their work well, even when their disability makes the work difficult. Accommodations can include variations in: work space and equipment needed to do the task; communication of the work; the tasks themselves; and the time and place that the work is done.

    Learning Disabilities in Adulthood

    Adult Learning - Adults with Learning Disabilities We live in a world where "early" is thought to be "better," and in many ways, this mindset serves us well, especially as it applies to learning. With increasing success, we are able to focus well-deserved attention on early recognition and response to struggling preschoolers, early intervention services for young children with identified special education needs, early and well-targeted instruction to school-age students who are falling behind in skills development, and early identification of learning disabilities (LD). In an ideal world, students who struggle are able to overcome their challenges and grow to become adults who enjoy personal satisfaction, high self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and productive relationships within their families and in the general community. If only this was the case.

    Life Skills Program

    Post Secondary Education - Life Skills Program Some people with learning disabilities need more intensive services than a community college, university, or vocational-technical school can offer. Life Skills programs are post-secondary educational programs that help young people learn skills needed for independent living.

    Managing Money When You Have LD or ADHD

    job-interview-man-in-suitLiving independently—managing your life on your own—is probably one of your major goals. One key aspect of independent living is managing your money: budgeting, controlling spending, balancing your checkbook, saving for major purchases, paying bills on time, banking, estimating costs and so on. Many people with learning disabilities (especially those with the math LD “dyscalculia” or ADHD) find that managing money is among the most difficult problems they face.

    Military Programs

    Jobs for the Military - Military Career You may be interested in the highly structured and physically active life offered in the military. Because military training involves programmed skill development with lots of practice and repetition, it may be a good option for people with certain kinds of learning disabilities. However, you'll want to be sure to carefully consider the impact your LD could have on your training decisions (for example, if you have difficulties with hand-eye coordination, you might want to steer clear of explosive and demolition training).

    On-the-Job Accommodations

    Job Accomodation - Workplace RightsAs a person with learning disabilities, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations at work. A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job, your work environment, or the way things are usually done that allows you to perform job functions. In other words, an accommodation can remove or lessen the barriers to your job performance that are caused by your disability. There are three things you must do to get accommodations on the job:

    Parenting with Learning Disabilities

    Children with Special Needs - Disabilities in Children For adults with reading, writing, or math learning disabilities, or those who have trouble staying organized and remembering things, parenthood can mean facing your learning challenges in a new way. Your struggle with these problems may affect your home life and even your child's behavior.

    Preparing for a Job Interview

    Adults with LD - Preparing Job InterviewIf you have been called for a job interview, congratulations! Your resume, letter, or phone call has gotten the employer interested in you. Your interview will allow the employer to get a better sense of whether you’re a good fit for the job. The interview is also your opportunity to learn about the job responsibilities and expectations, get a sense of how it might be to work for this employer, and discuss ways you could be a valuable employee. From the interview, you’ll determine if the job is right for you. You’re also likely to better understand how your learning disability might or might not present challenges in this job and workplace.

    Preparing for Post-Secondary Education: College Versus Vocational Training

    How Can I Get Work Experience? Volunteer and Paid Jobs for Teens When parents begin planning for their child’s transition from high school to post-secondary education, it is important to remember that the concept of post-secondary education is not synonymous with college. There are many venues where education can occur, many of which do not involve a traditional four-year university.

    Protections During a Job Interview

    Job Interview - Adults With Learning Disabilities The same laws that protect you from discrimination on the job also protect you during an interview. At a job interview, the prospective employer is not permitted to ask if you have a disability. You may want to wait until after you are offered a job to disclose your learning disability and your need for accommodations.

    Questions Employers Might Ask at the Job Interview

    How to Do An Interview - Interview Skills

    Employers use job interviews to get a better sense of whether the applicant is a good fit for the job. The interview is also an opportunity to learn about the specific job responsibilities, the employer, and the work climate. It is an opportunity for you to determine if the position is right for you. It is also a chance to determine what challenges you might face because of your learning disability at this potential place of employment.

    Requesting Accommodations on the Job

    Americans Disabilities Act - ADA Accommodation If you want to request accommodations at work, you will first need to decide whether to disclose your disability. You may be concerned that by disclosing your LD your boss will lose confidence in your ability or that your co-workers will ridicule you. However, you should know that more people today are familiar with learning disabilities than ever before, and LD on the job has become more prevalent and generally accepted. But it is completely up to you whether or not to disclose, and it depends on your comfort level with your boss and your co-workers. If you decide to tell your boss about your LD and need for accommodations, this information must be kept confidential. Your co-workers are not entitled to know about your disability unless you choose to tell them.

    Resumé-Writing Basics

    Adults with LD - Resume Writing Basics A resumé is a one- or two-page summary of your skills, achievements, education, and work experience. You send a resumé when you are applying for a specific job or when you are inquiring about openings at a company.

    Risks and Rewards for Adults with LD

    Adults With Learning Disabilities - Risk And RewardsLearning disabilities can affect skills in listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, mathematics and reasoning skills that adults must use every day in fulfilling their roles as family members, employees and citizens. They may occur with, and be complicated by, problems in attention and social skills.

    Strengths vs. Challenges in the Workplace

    Employment Find - Adults with Learning Disabilities Everyone brings different strengths and talents to their job. However, it is also fair to say that individuals with and without LD will find certain job-related tasks to be difficult and even problematic. The following is a list of some of the specific ways that your learning disabilities can interfere with success at work:

    Stress in Children and Adolescents: Tips for Parents

    Stress in Children - Tips for ParentsWhat Is Stress?Everyone is affected by stress and reacts to it in different ways. Stress is a way that our body responds to the demands made upon us by the environment, our relationships and our perceptions and interpretations of those demands. We all experience both “good stress” and “bad stress.” Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work.

    The Effective Job Search

    How to Look for a Job - How to Find a Career

    To identify jobs that use your skills and abilities, try the following:

    1. Check the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This guide allows you to explore information about many different careers.

    2. Read the "Help Wanted" ads in newspapers to find jobs that might tap your strengths and skills.

    3. Talk with people in the workforce who have interests and strengths similar to yours. Ask them about their jobs. You might even be able to spend a few hours "shadowing," or following them at work. This will give you a good sense of what their jobs are like.

    4. Volunteer to work in a job area that interests you. This might be a good way to find out more about a specific occupation firsthand and determine if it is right for you.

    Tips for Successful Living

    Success With Learning Disabilities - Tips for SuccessAdults with learning disabilities can make successful life adjustments and lead fulfilling lives. Here are some words of advice from successful adults with LD who have overcome obstacles and achieved success in school, at work, and in the community.

    Tips for Workplace Success

    How to Find the Right Job - Finding the Right Job You’ve gotten a job. Congratulations! Here are some suggestions for working around your learning disability so you can become a productive, valued worker.

    Tips to Help Your Teen or Young Adult Manage Stress

    Stress Management in College | How to Reduce Stress in Young AdultsA survey by mtvU and The Jed Foundation found that 63 percent of college juniors had been so stressed that they couldn’t get things doneat some point during the preceding three months.

    You can help by acknowledging signs of stress in your children, understanding the causes and helping them determine the best course of action to reduce or redirect it. Fortunately, it’s possible to manage and maintain stress at relatively healthy levels. Here are some approaches to discuss with your child:

    Transition to School and Work


    What is Transition Planning?

    Transition planning is a process that should help ensure your child's happiness, success, and satisfaction after high school and onto further work, future education, and adulthood.

    Transitioning to College and Beyond

    Transition Disabilities - College Transition


    Authoritative research-based data on successful transition to post-secondary school and work settings for adolescents and young adults with LD. Information must apply to all post-secondary students (regardless of school location, graduation status, prior school experience, parental expectations, and socio-cultural factors), and address issues including: academic achievement, social-emotional development, work-related competencies, and family involvement.

    University Programs

    Learning Disabilities College - Learning Disabilities University College offers a wide range of potential benefits to all students. For some, a two-year or four-year college or university program may lead to a career-entry job. For others, a college degree may lead to graduate school or professional training. Your experiences both in and out of classes can help set a career course for you.

    Where to Look for a Job

    Where to Find a Job - Adults with LDIt used to be that job seekers would simply open their local newspaper, search for openings in the Help Wanted section, and mail out a slew of resumés and cover letters to potential employers. But that approach is rarely effective these days. The vast majority of job listings can now be found only online, and most employers encourage, or even require, applicants to send their resumés and cover letters electronically. (If you don’t own a computer, you will likely find one that you can use at your public library.)

    Where to Seek Help If You Suspect You Have LD

    Adults with Learning Disabilities - Do I Have LDThere is only one way to know for certain if you have a learning disability: through a formal evaluation by a qualified professional who has been trained to identify learning disabilities. Such professionals may be clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologists or learning disabilities specialists. It is essential that the professional have training and direct experience working with and evaluating adults with learning disabilities.

    Your Job Search: Filling Out a Job Application

    Job ApplicationMany employers will ask you to complete a job application. Your application gives the employer important information about you, including your contact details (address, telephone number, email address, etc.), education, skills, and job history. Sometimes you’ll fill out the application online and then submit it online. Other times, especially for smaller companies, you’ll print the application, fill it out in black or blue pen, and then mail or fax it to the employer. You may also visit a business and fill out an application there. However, it’s reasonable to ask if you can take an application home to complete and return later. That allows you to take your time and check your work.

    Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Adult with LD

    Adults With Learning Disabilities – Rights And ResponsibilitiesIf you have current documentation of your learning disability, you likely have the right to:

    • Participate in educational programs without discrimination.
    • Receive reasonable accommodations in courses and examinations.
    • Receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace (required if there are fifteen or more employees).