Learning Disabilities and Workforce Training

Most learning disabilities are invisible. Unless you’re a teacher or a well-informed parent, you most likely won’t recognize certain behaviors or strategies that learning-disabled students use to help them navigate the real world.

The Learning Disabilities Association of America defines a learning disability as “a disorder in one or more basic psychological processes that may manifest itself as an imperfect ability in certain areas of learning, such as reading, written expression or mathematics.» What does this mean for corporate training or human resources departments? How do you address this for an employee who may need more than a digital push out of training information?

Real Life
Changes that occur for learning disabled individuals post-secondary education is pretty drastic. They may have strategies to use but  are missing much more than that. They no longer have a support system working on their behalf, and they don’t always have other adults around them that truly understand how they struggle. Almost 20% of all Americans have some form of a learning disability but fewer than 10% ever disclose this information to a current or potential employer due to the stigma attached. As we continue to learn more about how the brain operates and learns, those statistics are likely to increase. The fear of being misunderstood, underestimated, or just plain “talked about” has led the majority of this population to hide rather than share their struggle. Conversely, unless you yourself have a disability or are the parent (or teacher) of a child with one, it is highly unlikely that you will truly understand the implications of such a disclosure. It is, however, possible to be proactive on behalf of them with slightly adjusted training materials and an informed, diplomatic approach.

“People with disabilities who have spent their lives adapting to challenges in their environment can bring productivity, ingenuity, and problem-solving skills to the workplace.» — Dr. Debby McNichols, Industry Training Magazine, 2016.

If you’re part of a human resources team, how can you possibly know what to do or how to help an employee who may need some accommodations in training or onboarding procedures if you are unaware? Yet, if you did know, or suspected, would you know what to do or where to look to help them achieve success? More than likely the answer is no. These employees can bring a lot to the table—especially since they tend to be creative thinkers. They approach most of what they have to do in an “out of the box” way of thinking that can foster a fresh perspective and innovative ideas. They solve problems in a nontraditional way, and this contributes to productivity. They can be real assets to any industry. They just sometimes need a nontraditional approach to training as well.

Where to Find Information
There are multiple public and private sector online resources. Federal and state government sites, nonprofit and industry-related sites offer much to consider in the realm of background information, solution-oriented content and even “how to’s.”  There are lots of online resources available for both the employer and the employee, because it’s a partnership and both have responsibilities towards success. Creating training content can seem daunting if you’re unsure of what is needed. Specifically, there are many professional corporate training sites that offer an abundance of resources for anyone interested in becoming better informed. One such example is eLearning Industry.

eLearning Industry has compiled a list of 10 important facts that trainers need to know as an initial understanding. It will take diplomatic communication and some leg work to help your employee get through, but once trust is established and teamwork is cultivated between you, training can be exactly what it is meant to be—meaningful and leading to growth and success.

CuroGens Learning Academy is particularly suited to assisting an HR department in designing training content aimed at learning disabled employees. We help you take your company’s own learning material and adapt it to anyone’s needs. The utilization of specific methodologies can help your corporate training endeavors yield high success rates for every employee. To find out how we can help your organization, contact us at learnmore@curogens.com.