On Learning Differences

Vol. 1, No. 1 - Information on Learning Differences Online Fall 2002


Welcome to Visions on Learning Differences

Postsecondary Decision-Making for Adults with Learning Disabilities

Characteristics of the Gifted Post-Secondary Student with Dyslexia and/or ADHD

From Struggle to Success in College

Congratulations to the CRLA and IDA Presidents-Elect

In Memorium

Conference Information

Legislative Concerns


About the Editor

Sharing Ideas

Permission to Copy from Visions on Learning Differences

Dedication-Musical Tribute to America and World Peace

A Blessed Holiday Season to All

Please see other issues

Hilda Coyne, Editor


Welcome to Visions on Learning Differences. After five years as the Newsletter Editor for the Learning Disabilities Special Professional Interest Network of the National Association for Developmental Education, I am establishing a new online newsletter for those interested in the identification and treatment of learning differences, as well as related needs. This introductory issue presents updates on identifying and treating learning differences, teaching tips and strategies, as well as conference information, legislative issues, and more. Additionally, not only are many of our friends and colleagues leading authorities in our interdisciplinary field, they have agreed to present original materials and other outstanding articles for this publication. The further good news is that some of the articles will present seminal research.


  by Susan A Vogel, Ph.D.

Those who assist adolescents and adults with learning disabilities in transition planning to college will find Postsecondary Decision-Making for Adults with Learning Disabilities - Teacher Manual, Second Edition, © 2001, by Susan A. Vogel and Lisa L. Micou very valuable. The teacher manual is accompanied by a set of ready-to-make overheads and a student workbook that have been used in high schools across the country.

The purpose of the manual is to assist LD teachers, guidance and college counselors, and parents in becoming more effective in assisting students with LD in the decision-making process to assist them in finding the right postsecondary settings; increasing the number of career options for students with LD through advanced training at the postsecondary level; increasing the number of persons with LD whose educational attainments are commensurate with their highest abilities; and improving the quality of their lives through enrollment in appropriate postsecondary settings.

The information in this manual will assist teachers and students to understand the implications of Section 504; place institutions on a continuum; identify four types of postsecondary settings; determine students' readiness and appropriateness for a variety of postsecondary settings based on an understanding of their LD; and assist students in preparing for college interviews, in comparing the various colleges and the support services they provide, in filling out college applications, and other forms, and in compiling a Personal Transition File.

Further, the review of Section 504 and students with learning disabilities will assist in the understanding of Section 504, reasonable accommodations, and the concept of the continuum of services from minimum compliance to comprehensive LD support services.

Included in this manual as well is An Overview of Four Types of Postsecondary Settings. Then, the section on Understanding One's Learning Disability will assist students in understanding the results of assessment, their strengths, areas affected by their learning disability, and learning, teaching, and compensatory strategies. Instructors and counselors of adolescents and adults with learning disabilities will find many helpful suggestions.

Also included are extensive descriptions of WAIS- III subtests and their interpretation. Based on Dr. Vogel's and others' research, she describes some of the patterns of performance of adults with learning disabilities in general who tend to demonstrate higher scores on the Performance subtests than the Verbal subtests. Further, they perform better on the Working Memory Index compared to the Verbal Comprehension Index. They also tend to perform better on the Processing Speed Index than the Perceptual Organization Index. However, college students display a slightly different pattern. They tend to display either a higher Verbal IQ than Performance IQ or show no difference between the two IQ scores (Kaufman, A.S., & Lichtenberger, E.O. (1999). Essentials of WAIS-III Assessment. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

It is important to keep in mind that intelligence test scores and academic achievement scores are only some of the information to be used in generating recommendations regarding postsecondary decision-making. Other sources of information that are powerful predictors of postsecondary success include: number of high school courses taken in core subject areas (i.e., English, social science, math, and science), level of difficulty of those courses, study habits, and motivation (Vogel, S.A. , & Adelman, P.B. (1992). The success of college students with learning disabilities: Factors related to educational attainment. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 25(7), 430-441; Vogel, S.A., Hruby, P., & Adelman, P.B. (1993). Educational and psychological factors in successful and unsuccessful college students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice. 8(1), 35-43.

The Sample Student Profile then presents the way a student might fill out the form with the help of his or her counselor. This sample includes test results, grade point averages, a listing of strengths and special talents, areas affected by the learning disability, and vocational/career interests. The portions relating to varied student and teacher strategies were as follows:

Learning Strategies (Ways I learn best): 1) Tape record brainstorming session on writing assignment; 2) Put each idea on separate post-it or index card or use software such as Inspiration on computer; 3) Sequence into logical order; 4) Proofread papers for specific errors using log and spelling dictionary; 5) Rehearse for exams orally.

By-Pass Strategies (Ways I can compensate): 1) Maintain an individual mechanics log and spelling dictionary; 2) Use a calculator, secretary's list, or Franklin Speller at all times and use it during exams; 3) Use word processor for all written work.

Teaching Strategies (Ways teachers can help me learn): 1) Allow extended time on exams; 2) Consider content rather than mechanics and spelling; 3) Allow use of word processor, spelling, and writing tools during exams; 4) Use manipulatives to aid comprehension of abstract math concepts.

The appendices list Standardized Tests Useful in Assessment of Adults with LD, Recommended Readings; Directories; Recommended Sources of Information, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic Application Form, ACT and SAT Special Testing Application Forms, and HEATH Publications Listing with Order Form 2000. Some of their publications are available free of charge, including resource papers, newsletters, article reprints, Information from HEATH, and other publications.

These materials were dedicated to the students Dr. Vogel counseled. They were highly motivated and talented individuals with learning disabilities who wanted to continue their education beyond high school. In working with them in the exploration, preparation, application, and decision-making process and later in their postsecondary settings, Dr. Vogel identified their needs and ways to address them. These materials and recommendations for their use resulted from a collaboration with students and their families in the postsecondary decision-making process. It is her hope that as you use these materials, you will find ways to individualize, expand, and update these materials regularly, so they can serve as a valuable tool in the transition process.

Susan Vogel, Ph.D., is a Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University. She is the author of numerous publications including a handbook College Students with Learning Disabilities (2000) available from the LDA Bookstore (see below), Learning Disabilities, Literacy, and Adult Education with Stephen Reder, Ph.D., published by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc in 1998. She was the founding editor of LD Practice now part of Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, and serves as consulting editor for six journals, including the Annals of Dyslexia, the Journal of Developmental Education, and the Journal of Learning Disabilities. Currently, she directs a three-year project in the State of Illinois called "Enhancing Success for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education".

Postsecondary Decision-Making for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Teacher Manual, Second Edition, 2001, by Susan A. Vogel and Lisa L. Micou, is available from the LDA Bookstore. Please visit

How to Contact LDA
Write, phone, or email the national office:
Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
(412) 341-1515 (voice)
(412) 344-0224 (FAX)