They Speak for Themselves

By: Learning Disabilities Association of America

For years organizations, professionals, parents and others have spoken for adults with learning disabilities. Of the few programs and support services provided for adults with learning disabilities, only a small percentage demonstrate a true understanding of the needs of this population. In order to provide a format for adults with learning disabilities to communicate, LDA published a survey questionnaire in the spring 1994 Newsbriefs. The results of this survey have been published in They Speak For Themselves. Some of these results are presented in the graphs below. The complete booklet may be obtained through the LDA national office at the address below:

Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234

The survey was designed to obtain a complete description of the impact of learning disabilities on the lives of these adults. It asked about age, education, vocational history, mental and physical health, income, living arrangements, and interactions with the justice system. It also included questions concerning the incidence of learning disabilities or other disabilities in other members of the family. Participants had the option of remaining anonymous and of providing additional comments. These comments, which provided insight into the concerns of adults with learning disabilities and their parents, added an unexpected dimension to the survey.

It must be noted that the survey was not a random sample of the population of adults with learning disabilities. The survey was distributed through LDA's national publication Newsbriefs. The respondents were knowledgeable about learning disabilities and were motivated enough to belong to a national organization concerned with learning disabilities. It is not possible to know to what extent these responses reflect the total population of adults with learning disabilities.

Click to see Figure 1. Age First Diagnosed

Click to see Figure 2. Postsecondary Education

Click to see Figure 3. Income Distribution

Click to see Figure 4. Job Satisfaction

Click to see Figure 5. Areas of Difficulty

A Survey of Adults with Learning Disabilities LDA, 1996 (Shoestring Press)