Insight & Growth            
Cultural identity

Adults with Learning Disabilities


Everyone at times has trouble remembering names, following directions, or balancing a checkbook.  However, for some adults, problems in learning and applying information interfere with their lives on a daily basis.  They may not be aware they have a learning disability, and struggle for years without understanding the reason for their difficulty.   

Discovering that the cause of their problems is a learning disability often brings great relief.  As they gain an understanding of their disability, they are able to address the problem, find ways to work around the disability, and ultimately find success in life.    There is no single indicator of a learning disability, but some warning signs may be a reluctance to take on reading or writing tasks, memory problems, easily confused by instructions, or poor organizational skills.  Adults with a learning disability typically have average to above average intelligence, but their achievement falls short of their ability    

One of the most important factors in coping is to reinterpret the situation in a positive way.  Typically, this involves recognizing the disability, accepting it, understanding the disability and its implications, and taking action.  Although adults with a learning disability often experience challenges with education, career, and social situations, they also develop strengths such as creative problem-solving, an outgoing personality, strong compensatory skills in other areas, persistence, and empathy for others.   

Many adults who suspect they might have a learning disability have found it valuable to obtain a comprehensive assessment from a psychologist that identifies their specific learning disability, offers specific coping strategies, recommends accommodations, and provides documentation that will help them in becoming an effective self-advocate.     

Adults with a learning disability who have overcome obstacles and become successful in school, at work, and in the community, have found these strategies to be helpful:    

  • Recognize and accept the fact that you have a life-long disability
  • Make education and career choices based on strengths and accomplishments
  • Request accommodations in a direct manner without excuses or feeling guilty
  • Accept that some tasks may take you longer than others to complete
  • Explain to your partner and family how the disability impacts your daily life
  • Understand and value your unique strengths, talents, and abilities
  • Build a support network and develop positive self-advocacy skills

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