ONLINE COURSE: Learning to Achieve Accommodations Discussion Thread

This thread is intended to provide a place for users who have completed the Learning to Achieve: Accommodations course with a space to reflect on the course content. The course content was updated in early 2019 and will be made available in spring 2019. Please stay tuned for the launch of the updated course. 

We hope you enjoyed the Learning to Achieve: Accommodations course. Please use this thread to share:

Of all the concepts and ideas discussed in this course:

  • Which were new to you?
  • Which ideas stood out as most important for you and your practice in supporting adults with LD in your classroom?
  • What are some specific strategies from this course that you feel you can readily incorporate to help your adult students with LD?

What other strategies or resources have you used in providing accommodations for your adult students with LD, and how effective were they?


As a middle school classroom teacher, I have had many years of experience with accommodating learners' specific needs. However, I had not given much thought to these issues in respect to adult learners. I recognize the validity and necessity of providing for all students regardless of age. I am currently providing tangible hands - on lessons for those students who need to see the lesson in "action"; particularly in learning Math concepts. Individualized instruction benefits a variety of learners. 

I find that adult learners are more reluctant to ask for accommodation than younger learners. I think that it is important for the instructor to form a relationship with the student in order to gain additional knowledge about their learning needs. One thing that we do not think of as an accommodation many times, is that a paper-based test, maybe an accommodation for a student. Many of our older students are not computer literate or confident enough to test digitally.


a. The the concepts that were new to me were the detailed explanation of LD and the actual "whats" and "whys" of the disability. Many times we provide accommodations/materials for our students because that is what we are instructed to do but the full disclosure of background, details, and relationship of why we are doing it is not truly explained. 

b. The idea that stood out as most important, for my practice in supporting adults with LD in my classroom, is that of self-determination. The concept of helping students find and grow that self-determination will allow them to foster a stronger growth mentality and stronger will to succeed. 

c. The one specific strategy I am ready to incorporate to help my adult LD students is that of active monitoring of those students. Through accessing their needs constantly, I will be able to find out which accommodations suit them to their specific needs (i.e. change of read aloud presentation, change of way the instruction is presented).  This not only allow me to help pinpoint their true weaknesses but will also allow me to foster their strengths. 


I actually learned a lot from this training. I knew about disabilities and that there were accommodations out there but it was interesting to learn about all the various accommodations available. It was interesting to also read the information about the steps to access accommodations. I am excited to see how I can encourage the distance learning company I work for to incorporate more accommodations for students into our program.

As a previous public school teacher and now an adult education instructor, I see that accommodations for both age groups are necessary. In order to successfully reach the student it is important to evaluate the student individually and in a group setting to gain knowledge of the students learning style. It is important to use all learning styles inside your classroom to benefit not only the LD student, but the regular education students.

Universal Design is a reminder of how curriculum can be presented in ways to meet all learning styles.  Time prevents our program from doing every learning style every day.  However, reminding ourselves that we need to meet all learning styles is a way to be more creative (interesting) in our presentations.  

Universal Design of setting and presentation tools helps all those who might not have yet disclosed their learning needs.

Universal Design has an appeal for use in the adult learner classroom. Students regardless of ability could benefit and utilize tools or functions that best serve their learning styles. However, for some students not comfortable with sharing LD it would help them in the short term but not develop the need for self-disclosure or advocacy. Accommodations are important and many of our adult students don't utilize them enough. 

I am a fairly new ABE instructor.  I have dealt with LD and other disabilities with elementary, middle, and high school aged students for many years.  I can see that many of my students now could have benefitted early on from some accomodations and extra help.. If they had the help early on, they might not be with me trying to get a GED.

I have heard about all of these accommodations in the past one way or another but not as fully covered as this course. I'm a TABE tester and we have a list of the different accommodations which can be used for testing. During regular teaching sessions, however, I've not used accommodations as frequently as I could have. I can see where things like reading a text while students follow along, or allowing extra time for in-class work to be completed can be profitable for a student's interest and motivation. I plan to use accommodations as often as I can in my classes this fall. Thank you all for hosting classes that are meaningful!

Coming from elementary education to adult education it is interesting to see the same struggles children have still prevalent in adult learners. I am most familiar with setting and scheduling accommodations as giving students more time on assignments and other testing locations is common in elementary education.  Something new that I would like to utilize more would be e-text and speech to text software. 

This was quite interesting, especially that students are encouraged to be their own advocate in order to be successful. I believe using Universal Design will help all learners in education, as well as society as a whole. 

I am new to adult education but have experience teaching younger children, including those with LD. Sadly, only a few "qualified" for services, however I did use many of the suggestions that were shared. There were a few that I were unfamiliar with and will find helpful with those that I work with. It is helpful to learn about different approaches to follow that may be helpful for others to achieve their goals.


While most of the content is common sense, this is the first LD training I've had so it is all new.  I anticipate learning ways to assist my SNAP E&T participants through better intake assessments.

This may be a repeat of what I submitted earlier, but I don't see my comment, so here goes. A new concept that was of use to me is the idea of testing ELL students for LD through rigorous evaluation conducted by a bilingual professional. But I also fear that such may not always be an option at AACC, given our small staff. A strategy that I have always known but that bares repeating is that of teaching from multiple approaches to cover a variety of learning styles. A new strategy I might try is to allow the students who have trouble reading the use of sticky notes to mark their place as they work through a question/essay.

The course offered great information in an organized manner.  Something new to me were the self-determination, self-disclosure, and self-advocacy.  Being aware as a teacher can help me communicate with the adult learners.  Ideas that stood out to me were universal accommodations can be used by all and are unassuming, as well as the great resources available.  A specific strategy is get to know your students in order to maximize the effectiveness of the accommodations.  One strategy that has been effective is the physical environment of room. Wearing earmuffs/headphones reduce noise distractions.  

I wasn't aware of the bookshare ( website available to those with print disabilities.  Some of the material was a review of accommodations but I wasn't aware that they could be grouped into four main categories. I am challenged from this presentation to put more effort into creating universal design in lesson presentations.

I was thrilled to find the various resources included within the training material. Many will require a more in-depth look, but I am excited about the possibility of better assisting my learners.

I found it interesting that adult students with LD have three essential steps to gain access to accommodations. My background is in K-12 public school. Accommodations are parent driven. In Adult Ed, I feel that some adults might not want to ask for accommodations. I have used different fonts for students whom I had suspected had undiagnosed dyslexia. It did seem to help with reading and comprehension. The other accommodations were familiar to me, and they would not be a problem to provide should they be needed. I have not had an adult with LD that I am aware of.

As a former public school teacher, this material was familiar, but I did not know that adult learners must self identify. I can understand how that might be very difficult for ELLs to advocate for themselves. I have had an adult student in the past with what I suspected was dyslexia. I changed the font on the handouts I created and tried them out on my dyslexic husband first. After a lifetime of struggling, he was successfully able to read a paragraph and understand it with little difficulty. Different fonts really helped my student even though she was undiagnosed and not willing to be evaluated. I have also used straight edges with student who lose their place when reading. All of the strategies were a good refresher.

I was not aware of the types of accommodations available for adult students.  I am now taking a different look at my students and finding out if they have any specials needs to succeed in class.

was not aware of a few the accommodations that were presented in this session.  I plan to revisit my students to see what their needs in the classroom to help them succeed.

This module reminded of some of the accommodations that can be used with adults. I used quite a few of these as Elementary teacher, but did not think of these being used for adults.  

New to me:  the three essential steps each individual must take to gain access to accommodations: (1) self-determination, (2) self-disclosure, and (3) self-advocacy.  

Idea that stood out:  Universal Design for Learning benefits ALL learners, not just LD. 

Specific strategy to implement:  emphasize to LD students what the three essential steps are (above) and their importance.   

I am fairly new to Adult Education. I can readily incorporate a variety of Presentation Accommodations and Setting Accommodations (changes of location). Universal Design was new to me. Ideas that stood out as most important are utilizing Presentation, Response, Scheduling and Setting Accommodations. 

The most interesting and relatively new topic to me was the Universal Design.  This has been presented in the past as a method to planning curriculum.  The text presented here really focused on how planning with varied flexible interventions helps all learners.  As to the accommodation being used in the past and current use, the Read Aloud accommodation is supported within the Burlington English, BE, online materials.  The ESL student's language acquisition is supported by this feature within the BE Readers.   

It is important to remember that not all learners will have a professional educational evaluation on file, but might still need the use of accommodations.  It is important to help adult learners know what resources are available to them if they would need these resources for learning purposes.  

What stood out to me is the three steps each individual must take to gain access to accommodations, 1. self-determination, 2. self-disclosure, and 3. self-advocacy.  This truly can empower someone to make sure they get the necessary accommodations to succeed in their education goals.

One of my goals now is to make sure I can provide students with reasonable instructional and testing accommodations.

I am new to adult ed, but I have taught high school math for 8 years.  Just about everything in the Accommodations module was familiar to me, but I appreciated the more detailed information on universal design for learning. 

As a parent of students with learning struggles, I am passionate about helping everyone access the tools to improve their lives, in this case, the GED. I strive to help all students learn the material in ways that are meaningful to them and that produce the intended outcomes of passing the test and accomplishing their goals.

I am relatively new to Adult Education but have worked in Elementary Education (Special Education) specifically. Of all the concepts introduced within the lesson, the Universal Design was new to me. The inclusivity of all students so as not to make any one student feel singled out is an appealing concept that I feel I could definitely utilize. I would readily use the Accessing Accommodations strategy as it promotes self advocacy and that is important for any student. I already use presentation, response, and setting accommodations with my daily work. I will continue to learn more and utilize these concepts and strategies to make my program even better.

I have found it challenging to help some adult students with disabilities to advocate for themselves in scheduling exams with their approved accommodations. With one service they must call and leave messages and have someone call them back before they can schedule an official with the extra time, breaks, and private room. I wish scheduling was simpler than the current process. Students who get confused about complicated processes often end up more frustrated and it's not always feasible for them to make the necessary arrangements during class time or with the aid of an instructor due to when these services might call them back. I hope this process can improve in the future. I did appreciate the part in this module about the need to train students in using their accommodations or assistive devices. I have found that even though students have approved extra time, they often won't use them during testing and we have to keep explaining the benefit to them and their potential scores.

I found the variety of resources available for the array of learning disabilities to be heartening. I am further heartened that I will be able to share the types of accommodations available to assist my students.

I have been fortunate to have gotten some professional development through Special Services of my previous K12 school on the different types of accommodations.  I understand the importance of advocating for oneself and disclosing any important information that can be helpful in attaining the correct accommodations.   I am hopeful that I will be able to learn any software permitted at my job to give the instruction needed for digital access to those who require it.

Since I came to adult ed from public education, I do not know that any of the topics were brand new information, but they were certainly a great refresher for information I learned in that setting. I think working with students to accommodate them and promote learning for all styles is a great way to boost self confidence and help students feel seen and heard in the classroom.

Of all the concepts and ideas discussed in this course:

  • Which were new to you?
    • I am more clear as to the steps associated with evaluating an adult learner.
  • Which ideas stood out as most important for you and your practice in supporting adults with LD in your classroom?
    • I am a graduate of the ESL Institute and the instructors did an excellent job helping us develop and feel comfortable with strategies to be used with an adult learner.
  • What are some specific strategies from this course that you feel you can readily incorporate to help your adult students with LD?
    • At the ESL Institute, we learned about the importance of building background knowledge, using visuals, purposefully teaching vocabulary, and the other 12 strategies listed.

What other strategies or resources have you used in providing accommodations for your adult students with LD, and how effective were they?

I am unaware of any student that has been tested and diagnosed with a learning disability.  I feel that as long as I offer a variety of strategies and supports, all students have the same access to learning.  I will not overlook the needs of my students regardless of the challenge.


AS I look at this, I can only think of the self determination, self disclosure.  To me the adults who come to our center that are the most focused and determined become successful quicker than those who rely on their weakness as an excuse .  So, for me and my teacher's motivation to succeed, positivity, and just teaching the student they never fail in adult education, they may have learned 100 ways things don't work, they they are always learning.