The Impact of Learning Disabilities on Adulthood: A Review of the Evidenced-Based Literature for Research and Practice in Adult Education

Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education, Department of Special Education and Disability Studies, Richmond, VA 23284-2020, USA.
Journal of Learning Disabilities (Impact Factor: 1.9). 11/2011; 45(1):31-46. DOI: 10.1177/0022219411426858
Source: PubMed


It is now well established that learning disabilities (LD) persist into the adult years, yet despite a developing literature base in this area, there is a paucity of evidence-based research to guide research and practice. Consistent with the demands of the adult stage of development, autonomy and self-determination are crucial to quality-of-life issues to adults in general, and specifically to adults with LD. There are many areas of functioning in which adults need to adapt successfully, such as employment, family, social and emotional, daily living routines, community, and recreation and leisure. In essence, there are a myriad of challenges and outcomes as adults navigate the trials and tribulations of LD as it manifests itself into adulthood. This review of the extant evidence-based literature seeks to discover relevant knowledge that can be shared with practitioners who serve adults with LD in a variety of professional and volunteer roles, particularly in adult education settings.

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    • "[2]) and consequently, the data regarding the prevalence of LD in the total population has also been argued. As far as is known, there is no formal up to date information about the prevalence of LD among adults however each year very large numbers of students with LD leave high school and begin their adult lives, facing a wide variety of challenges leading to a broad array of outcomes [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: 'Learning disabilities' (LD) refer to a wide group of neurological disorders caused by deficits in the central nervous system which influence the individual's ability to maintain-, process or convey information to others in an efficient way. A worldwide discussion about the definitions of LD continues while a conceptual framework for studying the diverse life outcomes of adults with LD is still missing. Objective: The aim was to review the literature on the activity and participation of adults with LD based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) concepts. Methods: "PsychInfo'', "Eric'' and "PubMed'' were searched for relevant literature according to the guidelines of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). After a three-stage process, 62 articles relevant for domains of activity and participation of adults with LD were included in the review. Results: Thirty-two articles focused on the domain of major life areas of education, work and employment and twelve articles focused on the domain of learning and applying knowledge. Limitations in activity and participation of the population with LD in these domains are recognized and discussed. Eighteen additional articles demonstrated that adults with LD confront difficulties in various life domains (e.g., communication, interpersonal interactions, mobility, and domestic life), however literature concerning these domains is scarce. Conclusions: The ICF can be useful for further exploration of activity and participation characteristics of adults with LD in various life domains. Such exploration is required in order to gain a wider perspective of their functional characteristics and daily needs.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Los casos de discapacidades temporales tampoco figuran en los censos de la matrícula y sí precisan apoyos. Por otro lado, la cada vez mayor presencia de estudiantes con dificultades específicas de aprendizaje, principalmente dislexia (Gerber, 2012) y alumnos con trastornos de la conducta no reconocidos como discapacidad pero que conllevan necesidades educativas específicas, permite concluir que el potencial de usuarios es superior a las cifras anteriormente pre- sentadas. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article attempts to determine the real situation of the support provided to students with disabilities in higher education. The paper presents an investigation into the real investment made by Spanish universities as regards their approach to disability programs and their funding sources. For this purpose, the work includes an analysis of the situation of support services, and studies the different actions that have been taken. The sample consisted of 50% of all public and private universities in Spain. The main results indicate that, although a great disparity in the funding sources of support services can be observed, the financial commitment of the universities is essential in order to incorporate them into their own programs, regardless that some complementary actions may be funded by other resources.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives It is well documented that early-learning problems and poor academic achievement adversely impact child development and a wide range of adult outcomes; however, these indicators have received scant attention among homeless adults. This study examines self-reported learning disabilities (LD) in childhood as predictors of duration of homelessness, mental and substance use disorders, physical health, and service utilisation in a sample of homeless adults with current mental illness. Design This study was conducted using the baseline sample from a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Setting Participants were sampled from the community in Vancouver, British Columbia. Participants The total sample included 497 adult participants who met criteria for absolute homelessness or precarious housing and a current mental disorder based on a structured diagnostic interview. Learning disabilities in childhood were assessed by asking adult participants whether they thought they had an LD in childhood and if anyone had told them they had an LD. Only participants who responded positively to both questions (n=133) were included in the analyses. Outcome measures Primary outcomes include current mental disorders, substance use disorders, physical health, service utilisation and duration of homelessness. Results In multivariable regression models, self-reported LD during childhood independently predicted self-reported educational attainment and lifetime duration of homelessness as well as a range of mental health, physical health and substance use problems, but did not predict reported health or justice service utilisation. Conclusions Childhood learning problems are overrepresented among homeless adults with complex comorbidities and long histories of homelessness. Our findings are consistent with a growing body of literature indicating that adverse childhood events are potent risk factors for a number of adult health and psychiatric problems, including substance abuse. Trials registration number This trial has been registered with the International Standard Randomised Control Trial Number Register and assigned ISRCTN42520374.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · BMJ Open
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