Educational Activities for Adults with Learning Disabilities

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to plan and implement educational activities for adults with learning disabilities. This includes suggested activities for varying levels of ability.

Adult Activities and Learning Disabilities

The term 'learning disabilities' is broad and covers a wide-ranging spectrum, and challenges can include difficulty with reading, writing, math, organization and functional skills. Learning disabilities affect each person differently, so it's important to plan activities according to the needs of your individual students. And when it comes to teaching adults with disabilities, it can be helpful to incorporate everyday activities into your instruction to teach everyday skills and basic academics.

When teaching adults with learning disabilities, consider the following activities for students of varying levels of ability:

Living Skills Activities


Objective: The student will create a shopping list based on personal needs and preferences and shop for those items.

Plan: Have students take an inventory of their supplies and create a list of what they need to purchase at the store. At the store, students will locate the items and place them in their cart. If transportation is an issue, you can use sale papers or catalogs and have students find the items that way. They can cut out the items' ads and glue them onto a paper shopping cart.

Modifications/Accommodations: This activity can be simplified or made more difficult by the number of items required. You can also organize the list by separating it into different categories and requiring a minimum/maximum number of items per category.

Enrichment: Use coupons for listed items. Students can seek out specific brands and/or sizes based on the coupon information.

Meal Planning

Objective: Students will plan a healthy meal using at least one food item from each MyPlate category.

Plan: Present students with MyPlate criteria and ensure that everyone has background knowledge of the food groups. Have students create a breakfast, lunch or dinner according to the MyPlate recommendations.

Modifications/Accommodations: For students having trouble with this activity, you can provide a word bank of foods to chose from. For students of higher abilities, you can have them create an entire day/week of meals.

Enrichment: Students can create a menu to showcase their meals and provide descriptive text of the meal.

Teach students the MyPlate recommendations to help them in meal planning.

Functional Math Activities


Objective: Students will create a monthly budget.

Plan: Instruct students to devise a budgetary needs list including items such as food, utilities, transportation and entertainment. They can then create a chart to show income versus outcome according to the money spent on the budgetary needs.

Modifications/Accommodations: You can provide a list of bills and income for students to chose from, allowing students to skip the budgetary needs list portion of the activity.

Enrichment: Have higher-level students create a budget using an online spreadsheet.

Creating Graphs

Objective: Students will collect data and create a bar graph.

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