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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Natalie Bradley, South Bay Consortium on Adult Education

Specialist trains educators to better serve students with disabilities

The Challenge

Adult education teachers within the South Bay Adult Education Consortium (SBAEC) expressed a desire to better understand learning disabilities so they could improve instruction for adult learners with disabilities. More than 70 percent of the teachers who responded to a survey expressed an interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and physical disabilities, such as traumatic brain injury.

The Solution

To meet the challenge of providing training to adult educators throughout the consortium, the SBAEC drew on the expertise of a disability specialist to provide professional development to teachers. The consortium had already hired the specialist to provide services to students and educators, and the trainings allowed the consortium to gain maximum benefit.

Development opportunities included: Essential Elements of Positive Psychology (for overcoming test anxiety), The Principals of Universal Design for Learning, Teaching Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities, and Understanding Psychological Disorders. The trainings provided teachers access to the latest findings in neuroscience-based research on learning, including the multisensory approach to teaching, which involves presenting material in a manner that engages all of the senses (visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic) that allows the brain to process information in multiple ways, which has been found to enhance learning and recall. The Principals of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was the ideal next step for professional development, as the multisensory approach is one of the main principles of UDLs.


The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was presented to all participating adult schools in the consortium, and as a result, a bank of innovative teaching strategies was developed and shared in a presentation at the 2017 CCAE state conference. In addition, Natalie Bradley, disability specialist, and Rebecca Pestarino, program administrator, co-presented the disability specialist services model at CCAE, which resulted in invitations to present to other AEBG consortia.

The Data

In the first year of the project, the disability specialist has presented 16 professional development presentations to approximately 200 teachers and administrators.

Supporting Information

South Bay Consortium for Adult Education- Adults with Disabilities

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