See also Appendix F of this report for a recommended list of books and reference materials to read, many of which are available through the Tri-County Literacy Network. In addition, Appendix F lists those books and resources available through AlphaPlus.
"To identify barriers to participation for people with developmental disabilities and to develop an action plan to address these issues."
The barriers to participation for people with developmental disabilities seemed to fit into two distinct categories that could be classified as local/ regional in nature or more universally prevalent. Examples of local barriers were such problems as the availability of transportation and day care, lack of program selection at appropriate times, and availability of volunteers who were able to deal with clients with developmental disabilities. As such, the solutions to these issues were usually dealt with on a local basis relevant to the specific situation.
An example of a more universally prevalent barrier is the eligibility criterion used to determine access to formal literacy programs. Here the solution is not so readily determined. The issue appears to be that the intended purpose of literacy programs is viewed differently by literacy practitioners and developmental support workers.
For the latter group, a literacy program may be both viewed and used as an opportunity for social interaction. In contrast, literacy practitioners would regard this particular use as being in direct conflict with the ministry's mandate that literacy programs only be used to develop measurable outcomes and goals directly related to reading, writing or mathematics. As a result, developmental support workers may perceive some literacy program eligibility criteria as being exclusionary rather than inclusive in nature.
Arriving at a viable solution is further complicated by the fact that some adult learners have had prior negative school experiences. In an attempt to alleviate anxiety and generalization to new learning, many programs and agencies have been using smaller learning groups, more inclusive self-directed learning, one-on-one teaching, and age relevant material. It was also noted that some adult learners with developmental disabilities felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when programs were offered in a college setting.
Those adults with developmental disabilities who are able to participate in mainstream literacy programs should do so preferably in a non-segregated program.
The development of a specific action plan to address these concerns was proposed; however, available time and resources limited what could be accomplished. Instead, the "Next Steps" document is again used as a means to follow up with suggestions for further action.
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