RI Department of Human Services
Office of Rehabilitation Services
"Helping Individuals with Disabilities to Choose, Find
and Keep Employment"
Rhode Island Department
of Human Services
The Rhode Island
“Learning Disabilities Project”
"Your beacon to the future"
The Rhode Island Learning Disabilities Project ...
is a unique Department of Human Services intra-agency initiative between the Office of Rehabilitation Services and the RIWorks. This collaborative relationship was created to help identify parents on cash assistance with learning disabilities, and to provide the necessary accommodations and vocational training programs in order for individuals to become independent and economically self-sufficient.
What is a Learning Disability?
Although there are several different definitions of learning disabilities, it is generally understood that a learning disability is a neurological condition that affects one's ability to obtain, process and express information. This condition manifests itself across the lifespan and can affect one's ability to listen, speak, read, write or perform mathematical computations.
Prevalence of Learning Disabilities
5-15% of the general population
Some Facts About Learning Disabilities (LD)
LD can affect anybody regardless of age, ethnicity, economic status or gender.
LD can be hereditary & often runs in families.
LD is a lifelong condition that can be manifested in many different ways, and throughout ones lifespan.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and hyperactivity can and often does co-exist with a LD.
Individuals with LD can compensate for their difficulties with appropriate interventions, support, accommodations, and self-advocacy.
Who Is Eligible?
Individuals currently on RIWorks living in Rhode Island and who through screenings are believed to have a learning disability.
What Are Some of the Signs of a Learning Disability?
Receptive Language Deficits:
Difficulty in comprehending information presented orally or written
Difficulty transferring information presented orally
Expressive Language Deficits:
Difficulty in spelling and/or handwriting problems
Difficulty reading applications or forms
Reverses letters, words or phrases
Problems organizing and sequencing information
Difficulty counting money or making change
Trouble balancing checkbook
Trouble with left/right orientation
Easily distracted, short attention span
Difficulty concentrating and focusing
Memory, Reasoning, Processing Deficits:
Difficulty with short- or long-term memory
Poor reasoning and decision-making skills
Social Skills Deficits:
Indifference to self-defeating attitudes
The Steps in the Project ...
follow the 4 R's of assisting individuals with learning disabilities: RECOGNITION, REMEDIATION, REHABILITATION, and REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION. The following steps make up the project design:
1. L.D.Screening (Recognition)
Screening takes place at D.H.S. community offices and at two-week workshops. One of the screening tools used is the S.T.E.P. questionnaire. S = Did you ever STAY back in school? T= Do you have TROUBLE learning or remembering new information? E = Did you receive any EXTRA help in school? P = Do you have a PHYSICAL or mental impairment which prevents you from working?
A referral form is sent to the project manager or the ORS Liaison to initiate the application process. A clinical interview is held with the applicant where background information is obtained, including previous testing if available. Barriers to employment are identified. During the interview other screening tools may be utilized such as self-assessment, the LD checklist, or the Washington State LD screening tool.
There are several evaluations which may be used to assess the existence of a learning disability. In this project a licensed psychologist performs a clinical evaluation. The tests will typically consist of the following: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III), Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational and additional tests of cognitive processing.
4. Eligibility/Individualized Plan for Employment (REMEDIATION)
Approximately 3 weeks following testing, the participant and the project manager or rehabilitation counselor will meet to go over the results of the testing and when appropriate, discuss the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE may include adult education classes (ABE, ESL, GED training), social skills development and vocational training.
5. Job Development/LD Specific Case Management (REHABILITATION)
The IPE may also include job development services include job training, job coaching and job placement services.
The LD Project Manager, Rehabilitation Counselor or Social Caseworker will become the focal point of contact for the participant and will assist in the facilitation and coordination of ancillary supports (e.g. Family Services, Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Programs and Community Action Programs).
6. Job Retention (REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION)
A reasonable accommodation may be provided to assist an individual in the obtainment of a GED or to assist an individual in a work environment. A 90-day follow-up period follows the initial hiring date. During this time "On-the-Job-Training" or Job Coaching may continue as a support for the customer.
Individuals with learning disabilities have often been overlooked throughout their lives. Experiencing "hidden disabilities", many participants have never been identified as having a specific learning disability.
The Learning Disabilities Project has in its first year provided numerous individuals with learning disabilities on public assistance their first clear picture of why they have had difficulty in obtaining, processing or retaining information throughout their lives. For some individuals this self-understanding has been a revelation, for others a confirmation of suspicions held for many years, and for many it becomes a catalyst on their road to independence and economic self-sufficiency.
For more information, contact:
(401) 421-7005 ext. 348 (V); firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Human Services
Your beacon to the future
Blackstone Valley Chapter Arc provides Adult Basic Education, instruction for adults with developmental disabilities.
Blackstone Valley Community Action
Offers GED and ESL instruction.
Bristol Warren Adult Education
Provides ESL, GED, and a continuing Adult Education Program.
CCRI offers academic accommodations for all students with a documented disability. Accommodations include, but are not limited to: tape recorded lectures, extended time, alternate format for exams and use of adapted computer equipment.
Access to Opportunity
Access to Opportunity is a grant-funded retention
program that provides support services to first-generation, low-income
students and students with disabilities.
The REACH program is sponsored by CCRI and the RI Department of Human Services and provides services to FIP (Family Independence Program) participants who are interested in attending post secondary education. REACH offers informal academic LD assessment, TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) testing, ESOL, GED Preparation, and remediation with one-to-one tutoring available tailored to the student’s individual learning needs. REACH services are also available at CCRI’s Newport site…contact the Knight Campus for details.
Cranston Adult Education
Offers ESL and GED programs for adults.
DaVinci Center for Community Progress
Davinci Center provides classes in ESL, GED,
and job readiness skills and career counseling to the general public.
Dorcas Place provides specialized classroom and one-on-one tutoring instruction from basic literacy through GED preparation. Work readiness, job placement, and supportive social services are also available for learning disabled students.
Elmwood Community Center
In addition to classroom training, business mentors are matched with participants and assist individuals with employment opportunities, interview techniques, provide internships, and career counseling.
Family Outreach Center, Inc.
A comprehensive agency with three components: licensed childcare, pre-GED, and GED and ESL education programs.
Federal Hill Tutorial Center offers services for adults with learning disabilities at no cost.
The Genesis Center provides education and support services to immigrant and refugee families. Classes include ESL, GED, Computer and pre-employment training.
Institute for Labor Studies and Research
Provides ABE, ESL and GED preparation and job specific instruction to employees of sponsoring companies using a cooperative labor/management mode.
Provides ESL classes and individual tutoring for all levels of language learning.
International Institute of RI
The International Institute offers ESL and GED programs.
Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA)
The LVA utilizes volunteers to provide individual tutoring to students in eight locations. Some sites have tutors trained in the “Wilson Reading System”, a phonics-based approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling skills to adults with dyslexia and LD. They also provide statewide literacy information and referral services.
Adult Correctional Institute (401) 462-2538
* * *
One Reservoir Avenue
175 Main Street
4808 Tower Hill Road
470 Metacom Avenue
1330 Main Street
219 Pond Street
Offers job placement services, GED testing, employment counseling, training and referrals.
Provides ESL, GED preparation and Citizenship classes.
Project LEARN provides individual instruction to adults with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities. Certified instructors utilize the “Wilson Reading System”, a highly structured, multisensory, phonemic approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling.
Offers pre-GED, GED, ESL, pre-vocational, and job readiness classes.
Providence Housing Authority
Offers social services, job counseling, job placement, referral, academic advising and GED testing.
Rhode Island Outreach Programs
Provides computer assisted English language
learning (CAELI), and computer assisted literacy and math (CALM) skills
The Swearer Center offers innovative, community-based programs to fill gaps in existing services, including the following:
PIE (Partners in Education)
PIE is a tutoring program serving women who are unable to attend traditional adult education courses due to lack of transportation and childcare. While not specifically designed for individuals with LD, the one-to-one tutoring that is provided by volunteers in the student’s home may be useful to individuals in need of adult basic education or GED preparation.
Swearer ABE Program
Swearer’s Adult Basic Education program provides individual tutoring to adult learners in various locations in the Greater Providence Community. The instruction is not LD-specific, but individuals with LD may find the one-to-one approach helpful.
Travelers Aid of Rhode Island
Provides ABE, GED preparation to homeless and those in transition.
Tri Town Community Action Agency
Offers job related instruction and career counseling services.
University of Rhode Island –
College of Continuing Education
LEAP is a course designed for adults who wish to pursue a college degree, but require skill enhancement in reading, writing and computers.
Urban League of Rhode Island
Offers job related instruction, vocational planning, and career development services.
Warwick Area Adult Learning Center
Provides ABE, GED and ESL literacy services as well as vocational training for adults who qualify.
The Education Exchange
Provides personalized instruction in small group settings for ESL, GED, basic literacy, ABE, External Diploma Program , and Wilson Reading Program tutoring for adults with language learning difficulties to residents in Washington County.
West End Community Center
Offers alternative educational programs for
Centers at a Glance
An Even Start in Newport – (401) 845-8579
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA Hotline provides information and assistance regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and can answer questions about how the ADA protects individuals with learning disabilities.
Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy
RI Disability Law Center
This organization provides legal assistance or aid for people with special needs or disability-related issues.
The Governor’s Commission on
CHADD provides information and support groups for those with ADD/ADHD.
Rhode Island Legal Services
Legal services provided in certain family, housing, elderly, health and public benefit cases.
Rhode Island Parent Information Network
Many adults with LD, ADD/ADHD, or dyslexia also have children with these problems. RIPIN is a non-profit organization that provides information, training, referrals, support, and networking services to parents who may need assistance in getting appropriate services for their children.
LDA is a national organization promoting public awareness, advocacy, educational intervention, employment opportunities and related services for adults and children with learning disabilities.
Rhode Island Department of Human Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) assists eligible individuals with disabilities choose, prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment. Applications can be completed by mail or by attending a group orientation session. The FIP/ORS “Learning Disabilities Project” helps identify parents on FIP cash assistance with learning disabilities and provides needed services in order for them to become economically self-sufficient. As with other ORS services, individuals need to have a goal of employment to participate. Call Lynn Landi at (401) 421-7005 x348 for more information.
Goodwill provides vocational evaluation, vocational assessments, job placement and other employment-related services to individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
People In Partnerships
PIP is a vocational training and placement program with programs in Child Care, Certified Nursing Assistant, Food Service, Housekeeping/Maintenance, Human Services, and Office Assistant/Computers.
Division of Adult Education and Literacy
ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career,
and Vocational Education
International Dyslexia Association
Job Accommodations Network (JAN)
LD Online: Learning Disability Resources
Learning Disabilities of America (LDA)
Literacy Resources/Rhode Island
National Adult Literacy and Learning
Disabilities Center (NALLDC)
National Institute for Literacy
LD Assessment and Accommodations
Contact: Bob Mason at
The RI Department of Education and URI Testing Service have entered into a cooperative agreement to provide psycho- educational evaluations for economically disadvantaged students enrolled in adult education programs in RI. First priority is given to students in programs that receive funding from the RI Department of Education. Adult education program staff make the request for testing in writing. Contact Bob Mason at the RI Dept of Education for details of the referral procedure.
Individuals who believe that they have a learning disability, which substantially interferes with their ability to get or keep a job and want assistance may be eligible for an LD assessment and accommodations through ORS. Applicants who receive FIP (Family Independence Program) cash assistance for themselves and their children may contact the ORS/FIP Learning Disabilities Project – Lynn Landi at 421-7005 x348 for more information. Individuals not on FIP can contact the ORS Intake at (401) 421-7005 for more information on applying for services. Vocational accommodations, which may be provided, include assistive technology devices such as spellcheckers, tape recorders, etc.
DHS does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, age, religion or sex in acceptance for or provision of services, employment or treatment in its educational and other programs and activities. For further information about this policy, contact: the Community Relations Liaison Officer, (401) 462-2130 or TDD (hearing impaired) (401) 462-6239.
If you need this in an alternate format (i.e.,
Braille, diskette, cassette), please contact Sharon DiPinto at (401) 421-7005
This resource was compiled
Inquiries may be directed to: