Issues facing Adult Literacy Learners

Guest Blog Post by: Shelley Lavoie

Common Issues facing Adults with Learning Disabilities.

Life can be challenging for everyone. If you are an adult with a learning disability, daily routines can become problematic and lead to extra frustrations. Lack of academic skill acquisition causes issues well into adulthood. For those who struggle with low literacy levels, life can seem confusing and overwhelming on a daily basis. For those that don’t struggle, it is hard to comprehend the daily difficulties it creates. The act of buying groceries becomes an embarrassing ordeal in the grocery store. Imagine buying your groceries by the pictures on the product, or never trying anything because you couldn’t read the label, or mistakenly buying cottage cheese instead of sour cream.

As a result of the unsuccessful literacy attainment, people start to believe they are stupid, and develop a low self-concept which is reinforced many times a day. This may lead anxiety and emotional issues! Many of the adults I work with had very painful experiences during the school years and few successes which leave emotional scars. I think this is the toughest part of my job as Adult Literacy Instructor! Breaking those self-deprecating thoughts and helping people realize and focus on their strengths after years of feeling inadequate is a daily struggle. With the introduction of learning strategies and assistive technology to people who have never used them, people realize that there is help and that they are able to complete tasks independently. This is my favourite part of my job, when people begin to see new possibilities for themselves!

Lack of effective communication and social skills look differently in adulthood than they do in children and adolescents, but they definitely do persist into adulthood. These issues may lead to problems personally and in a work environment.

Organization is another issue that persists into adulthood. It is critical that people develop routines, implement strategies and practice the skills they need in order to be successful in their endeavors, whatever they may be.

The Windsor Public Library Adult Literacy Program supports adults who want to improve their reading, writing, and numeracy skills to achieve goals of Employment, further education and training, or independence. If you have any questions regarding Adult Literacy Program at the Windsor Public Library, I can be reached at 519-255-6770 x 4444.

Remember, it is never too late to find success! Celebrate your uniqueness and find a way that works for you!