As individuals with disabilities pursue training and work opportunities, they frequently access adult basic education and literacy services as a first step toward independence. History suggests that students with non-apparent disabilities such as learning, attention, brain injury and mental health disabilities may be unaware of their disability and the barriers it presents, especially when trying to access literacy, basic skills, and high school completion programs. These and many other factors suggest the need for adult basic education to provide access to additional resources for students who are not making reasonable progress and who might possibly have non-apparent disabilities. ABE can, through program modifications, instructional methods, and techniques address the needs of students who are not making reasonable progress. These measures include:
- Intake interview information and placement testing data
- Student-teacher meeting and brief interview so the teacher can learn students learning styles and preferences
- Monitoring progress
- Teacher-student discussion of progress, perceived or real barriers, and areas of difficulty
- Intensive screening or interviewing using an appropriate questionnaire or inventory
Documentation of a Disability
Diagnosis of a disability involves qualified professionals administering a series of medical and diagnostic assessments and protocols, determining specific diagnoses, and making recommendations of accommodations and modifications to an environment or process. Acceptance of disability documentation should be based on the determination made by a professional whose credentials and qualifications are in accordance with State laws and statutes.
For specific information regarding documentation requirements needed to qualify for GED accommodations, go to: https://www.gedtestingservice.com/testers/computer-accommodations
Students with disabilities who are seeking services through adult basic education and know what accommodations they need, have a responsibility to disclose the disability and direct requests to the first program team member they come in contact with. This may be the director, coordinator, intake person, counselor, teacher or assistant within the program. If there is a designated “point of contact” for such issues, students should be guided to request an appointment with that person to better understand what services and accommodations are available and the processes to access them. Where approval or authorization of expenditure to meet a request is required, the request should be forwarded to the appropriate person in a timely manner in an effort to provide equal access to programs and services.
- If documentation of a disability is required by the program, students are responsible to supply the documentation. Documentation must answer the following questions:
- Does a disability exist?
- If no accommodations were provided would the student be denied an equal opportunity to achieve an equal benefit (equal to that received by a student who does not have a disability) from the program activities, aides, benefits and/or services offered?
- What accommodations are needed?
If the program finds that the requested accommodation presents an undue hardship (see Classroom Accommodation chapter for more information) or safety hazard, the student should work with the program staff to identify alternative accommodations that may equally meet the request and are available.