Learning disAbilities Newsletter
Serving Those Who Learn Differently
Vol. 17 No.3 June 2000
Center for Alternative Learning
6 E. Eagle Road
Havertown, PA 19083
San Antonio Meeting
On April 10 and 11, Dr. Richard Cooper was invited to participate in a U.S. Department of Education meeting on the screening and diagnosis of learning disabilities in Spanish speaking adults. This two day meeting, in San Antonio, Texas, identified two problems 1) an insufficient number of bilingual professionals trained to diagnose learning disabilities and 2) little research on the effectiveness of screening instruments on Spanish speaking populations. A number of screenings for learning disabilities, that are available in Spanish, were reviewed by the 30 participants. Four screening instruments were selected to be included in a field test to identify the effectiveness of the screenings in determining who should be referred for further testing. The C-SIP (Cooper Screening of Information Processing) is one of the screening instruments that will be field tested in a number of states to determine how reliable it is in identifying individuals who should be referred for testing to diagnose a learning disability.
The C-SIP in Spanish is now available for review. Dr. Cooper is seeking help with the translation to include language that represents different Spanish speaking backgrounds and countries. If you feel that you could be of assistance by reviewing the translations and making recommendations for adding synonyms in Spanish, contact our office.
One of the requirements for inclusion in the national study on Spanish speaking learners is to shorten the C-SIP so it can be administered in 15 minutes. This presented a problem because, the Cooper Screening is not only a screening instrument for learning disabilities but it is also an instrument for identifying learners strengths and weaknesses as a diagnostic teaching tool. In order to meet the requirement for a short screen and the benefit of the longer form, Dr Cooper has reformatted the screening so the short and long version are combined in the same document.
Single copies of both the English and Spanish version of the C-SIP are available free of charge from Learning disAbilities Resources. Multiple copies of the Screening in English are available for .0.20 per copy. Multiple copies of the Spanish version will be available after June 30th, when the final revisions are completed. A computer program for scoring the Cooper Screening is currently under development and should be available in September. For more information about the Screening instrument contact Dr. Cooper at our office.
The most popular new training session Dr. Cooper offered this year has been Writing Techniques for Adults with Weak Language Skills. In this session, he discusses issues of avoidance, the structure of language, and writing exercises that he has found effective with individuals with various levels of writing skills.
One adult educator in Reading, PA wrote in response to the training session that she was perplexed by individuals who could not express themselves in writing. "This session provided me with techniques which I can use immediately with several of my students who have not been able to improve their writing skills."
Dr. Cooper has placed the techniques he describes in this training into a workbook. This workbook describes a number of writing exercises for individuals with limited writing skills and includes worksheets for the students to use. He also has a video that explains the concepts in the workbook. Both the workbook and video are available through the Learning disAbilities Resource Catalog.
The Pegasus Group
The concept of learning disabilities and differences changes as we learn more about how people learn. One thing about a learning disability or difference is that it does not have to hold the person back. Individuals with learning differences can be found working in any career. Over the 18 years he has worked with both children and adults with learning disabilities, Dr. Cooper, who himself has a learning difference, has encountered many educators who have learning problems. Some have reported that their learning differences affect their career as educators.
To meet the needs of educators with learning and attention differences, Dr. Cooper is initiating a new organization: The Pegasus Group. This organization will begin as part of the Center for Alternative Learning and, after it has grown, will become an independent organization. The concept of this new group of educators with learning differences is to provide a network of educators, a support system for those having difficulties, and a forum for information sharing. The organization will operate primarily on the Internet at www.learningdifferences.com/pegasus. There is a $15.00 fee to become part of the Pegasus Group and gain access to the organization page on the Centers web site. Individuals who do not have access to the Internet can participate and receive information through regular mail.
NAASLN The National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs officially has a new home. Its administrative office is located at the Lynn Boggs Literacy Center at Loyola University in New Orleans.
The new mailing address is:
6363 St. Charles Ave., Box 63
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone 504 864-7041
Visit the associations web site at NAASLN.org
For those newsletter readers who have not received a copy of the 2000 Learning disAbilities Resources Catalog, please phone our office and we will send one immediately. We would be pleased to send multiple copies to anyone who would like to share the catalog with friends and colleagues. Anyone who would be willing to distribute copies of the catalog to local schools, please contact Scott in our office at 1-800-869-8336.
Tic Tac Toe Math
As the interest in alternative instructional methods grows, Dr. Cooper has established a program to certify Tic Tac Toe Math trainers. The certification process involves a test and a demonstration to insure that the person certified as a trainer knows the Tic Tac Toe Math, (Single, Double and Multi-digit Grids and how to use it for multiplication, long division, fractions and percentages). We are planning an advanced certificate for trainers who know the Tic Tac Toe Cube.
Individuals certified as Tic Tac Toe Math trainers will be licensed to sell the Tic Tac Toe Math materials. For information about this program, contact our office at 1-800-204-7667.
Center For Alternative Learning
There are two new services available through the Center for Alternative Learning: one for non-profit agencies and the second for employers.
1. Partnering for Literacy: A Fund Raising Program:The first of the new services is a fund raising partnership designed to assist local agencies raise money to support their literacy efforts. This program is available to any non-profit organization in the country that would like to sponsor training about learning disabilities and literacy. Dr. Cooper, whose training about this subject has been growing in popularity will assist the local agency to set up a fund raising event. This program for non-profit agencies involves a partnership between the Center for Alternative Learning, the local non-profit agency and sponsors.
2. LLWD (Learning, Living, and Working Differently) During the 18 years that Dr. Cooper has been offering services to individuals with learning differences, problems, and disabilities, he has assisted hundreds of both employers and employees deal with the difficulties caused by the learning problems. Two examples demonstrate how learning differences can affect job performance. The first was a welder who frabicated equipment. He occassionally put doors and gauges on backwards. Dr. Cooper assessed the welders learning problem and recommended that he use a Polaroid camera, copies of the plans and a binder with clear document pockets. The welder was instructed to take a picture of a completed product and store it and a copy of the blueprint in the binder. When in doubt about future projects, he would refer to the pictures and plans of similar products he had previously produced.
The second example was a young woman who was hired as a clerk for an insurance company. She had to process incoming inquires about insurance and forward the inquires on to the appropriate department. After her 90 day trail period, she still had an unacceptable error rate. Dr. Cooper was asked to evaluate the situation. He found that this employee has a visual tracking problem that was causing her errors. He developed an assistive devise for her to guide her eyes and her error rate dropped to acceptable levels. These two examples demonstrate the type of assistance which employers and employees can receive through the LLWD program.
This new program systematizes the services that Dr. Cooper has offered over the years. LLWD will provide the following services to employers:
1) Assessment of workers suspected of having learning or attention problems
2) Consultation about accommodations in the workplace
3) Training about learning and attention differences for Human Resource personnel
4) Training on working with individuals with learning and attentnion differences for supervisors and managers.
For more information about the LLWD Program contact us at 1-800-869-8336.
by Dr. Richard Cooper
Last spring Dr. Cooper made a presentation aboutAttention Differences or ADHD to a group of parents and professionals at the DuBois Campus of Penn State University. This year, a neighboring community asked him to make the same presentation. On April 19th he returned to that part of the state to conduct a day long presentation at the Riverside Intermediate Unit in Clarion, PA.
On April 25, Dr. Cooper made a full day presentation to faculty and students about the , Characteristics of Learning Differences and Alternative Instructional Techniques at Cumberland County College, Vineland, NJ
During the month of May, Dr. Cooper assisted the Long Island, New York, team to present Bridges to Practice. He was asked to participate in the training to provide the participants with answers to their questions about learning disabilities which are not covered by the materials provided in the Bridges resources.
In April Dr. Cooper made a number of presentations at the Ohio Adult Education Conference. His presentations were so well received he was asked to come back on June 1st and provide training about alternative instructional techniques to Ohio adult educators who had received Bridges to Practice training.
On June 2, Dr. Cooper made a presentation about Reading Techniques to the Montgomery County Literacy Program in Clarksville, Tenn.
For the sixth year in a row, Dr Cooper will again make five presentations at the Kansas Adult Education Summer Institute on June 28, 29 and 30, in Manhatten, KS.
Employability Skills and Writing Techniques for Adults with Weak Language Skills are the topics Dr. Cooper will present at the Pennsylvania Corrections Education Conference on August 17
Upper Darby Teacher Trainer Courses: Teaching Math to Children with Learning Differences, July 11,12 & 13 and Teaching Reading and Writing to Children with Learning Differences August 8, 9 & 10.
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Pennsylvania Statewide Staff Development Project
It has been a busy spring for Dr. Cooper as he traveled the state conducting training sessions for adult education teachers and volunteer tutors. Included among the topics that he offered through the Statewide Project on Learning Differences, Dr. Cooper conducted two new activities in five of the PDC regions: Accommodating Adults with Learning Disabilities and the Forum on Learning Differences. Participants at both these activities recommended that some of the information presented in the training to adult education practitioners be distributed through this newsletter. Hence the new sections that follow.LD Forums
The Forum provided teachers, administrators, tutors or support staff an opportunity to discuss the issues and concerns they have about adult students with learning differences. The concern about how to obtain diagnostic testing for individuals needing accommodations on the GED was raised at each of the forums. Suggestions about how adults can be tested included the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation or private psychologists. It was pointed out that not everyone can receive services from OVR and private testing is expensive. Many adult educators who attended the Forum mentioned the need for early identification of individuals with learning differences. An intake process which uses a screening to identify learning problems was recommended.
If you were unable to attend the LD Forum when it was held in your region, you can still contribute by mail or e-mail. We invite your comments on individuals with learning problems in adult education and literacy programs. To help you organize your comments, questions and concerns, refer by number to:
4. GED Issues
7. Staff Development
The most common question asked at the Accommodations Training was whether the Adults with Disabilities Act applied to adult education and literacy programs and how. The ADA states that organizations cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities. Since it is the mission of most adult education and literacy programs to serve the most educationally needy, there should be little concern that programs are not complying with the law. However, if a program denies access to an individual with a disability, the staff of the program should check that they are doing so in compliance with the law. Adult education teachers and tutors in Pennsylvania can contact Dr. Cooper at 1-800-869-8336 to inquire about accommodations, alternative instructional techniques. or to ask questions about their students.
Newsletter available by e-mail!
As part of the Statewide Staff Development, the Center is beginning to disseminate this newsletter via e-mail. It will be sent by e-mail to all the adult education and literacy programs in the state and to adult educators and volunteer tutors who request the newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail, please send us a message at email@example.com.
Pennsylvania Staff Development Training Sessions Offered This Spring
April 18 North Central Professional Development Center Lock Haven
Learning Differences 6:00 - 9:00
April 24 Hiram G. Andrews Center Johnstown
Multi-Level Classroom Techniques 9:00 - 12:00
Employment Skills for Adults with Learning Differences 1:00 - 4:00
April 27 North Central Professional Development Center Scranton
Forum on Learning Differences 9:00 - 2:30
April 28 Philadelphia Professional Development Center Philadelphia
Forum on Learning Differences 9:00 - 3:30
May 4 North Central Professional Development Center Nanticoke Accommodations for Adults with Learning Disabilities 10:00 - 3:00
May 6 Philadelphia School District Adult Education Philadelphia
Teaching Adults with Learning Differences 9:00 - 4:00
May 9 Abington Literacy Program Abington
Teaching Adults with Learning Differences 10:00 - 3:00
May 12 Southeast Professional Development Center Philadelphia
Forum on Learning Differences 9:00 - 3:30
May 13 JCCEOA Punxsutawney
Reading Comprehension and Accommodations 9:00 - 3:00
May 19 Southeast Professional Development Center Lebanon
Teaching Reading to Adults with Learning Differences 9:00 - 3:00
June 5 Community Action Southwest Waynesboro
Employment Skills for Adults with Learning Differences 1:00 - 4:00
June 16 Intra-region Conference Southwest & Northwest PDCs Mars
Questions and Answers on Adults with Learning Differences 9:00 - 12:00
June 21 Lutheran Settlement House Philadelphia
Teaching Answers on Adults with Learning Differences 9:00 - 2:30
July 12 &14 Southeast Professional Development Center Conference Malvern
Writing Skills for Adults with Weak Language Skills 1:30 - 4:15
Reading Strategies for Adults with Learning Differences 9:00 - 10:15