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Disclosure under WIOA: What Can I Ask?

Hello, LINCS Community Members-

A member sent me the following comment and question.  In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (ADEAM), I'd like to hear how your program addresses the issue of disability identification with your learners.  

I recently completed the legal Issues module for Learning to Achieve.  Within the module it states that it is illegal to ask if a student has a learning disability.  In my state, we used to ask this question, then changed it to a statement letting students know that, if they needed modifications they had the right to ask under ADA.  (This is not verbatim, but gives you the idea.) . 

Now, with the WIOA legislation, we have to check all that apply under barriers to employment, and disabled is one of the check off boxes.  Is this still asking, or it is a means of self-disclosing?  I could not find the answer in the ADA legislation, previous or new.  Any insight would be realty appreciated!

In what ways are you providing learners the opportunity to disclose?  What language are you using to assess 'barriers to employment'?  


Mike Cruse

Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator


Caitlyn Pisarski's picture

Thanks Mike for sharing this question. Currently in Michigan we rely on the "barriers" boxes that allow students to self-disclose as having a learning disability, among other challenges. In addition to this (because many students may not check the box for a variety of reasons), we use a one-on-one interview after the assessment to learn more about each student. This includes asking an open-ended question about their previous school experience, which often leads to self-disclosure about IEPs, special education classes and other information that helps us better meet their needs.

I'm interested in learning more from other programs about how they address disclosure and what questions are legal in the adult education setting.




Southwest Solutions Adult Learning Labs

Jeri Gue's picture


This is a great question and I appreciate that you are sharing it in this COP.  As programs, we need to determine the barriers our students face.  However we also need to be federally compliant in how we obtain this information.  Delaware follows the same procedure as Michigan, allowing students to "check the box" if they choose to self-disclose in that format.  There is also the individual discussion that takes place during orientation.  Some students may be more comfortable self-disclosing at this time. 

I am also interested to learn how other states are addressing the legal issue of identifying students with disabilities.