The NAASLN Logo
From On the Cutting Edge, The Newsletter of the National Association
for Adults with Special Learning Needs, Autumn 1997
You may have noticed the NAASLN logo and wondered what it means. It is important, in a competitive society — even in education, to identify an organization in a distinctive way that is easily remembers. The NAASLN logo focuses on the need for adult learning programs in the United States.The logo circle shows that the United States is an emerging lifelong learning society and that learning never ends. The NAASLN crossbar represents adult learning and its connection to lifelong learning. The target shows the wide diversity of adults with disabilities within the population of over forty million Americans without a high school diploma, who learn best in learner-centered programs.
The colors black and red indicate that NAASLN is an association of action, change, and stability, committed to building a coordinated and integrated system of lifelong learning for adults in the United States.
The NAASLN logo will identify NAASLN as it grows and provides membership activities and services to its members.
Why Was NAASLN Formed?
On December 3, 1982 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992) to improve the lives of more than 500 million people in the world who are disabled as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment. The proclamation asserted that people with disabilities are entitled to the same rights as ALL other human beings and prominent among these rights is equal opportunity for education and lifelong learning.
The United States has taken major steps to meet the educational needs of its 37 million Americans with disabilities including adults with special learning needs. Indeed, we are witnessing an ever increasing awareness and interest among educational service providers throughout the United States in serving adults with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing; blind or sight impaired; mentally ill and mentally retarded; mobility impaired; learning disabled; and those with other disabilities that may interfere with the learning process.
The First National Congress for Adults with Special Learning Needs, held at Gallaudet University in October, 1987 was a milestone event in this effort. This Congress was designed to address the needs of those adults whose special learning need in some way prohibited them from fully participating and benefiting from the lifelong learning opportunities enjoyed by other adults in our society. The outcome of the Congress was a nationwide commitment for developing a system of lifelong education which is fully accessible and responsive to the needs of ALL adults and which is designed to enhance their quality of life.
The theme of the Congress was “Empowering the Adult with Special Learning Needs: A National Challenge”. It was an invitational, working, and problem solving meeting of national experts representing an extensive network of adult education professionals, policy makers, family members, and organizations concerned with lifelong learning for adults with special learning needs. It was an historic gathering, the first of its kind in any country in the world.
The Congress focused on the following questions:
► Who are adults with special learning needs?
► How do adults with special learning needs learn as adults?
► How do we develop and plan effective adult education programs?
► Who cares about adults with special learning needs?
The culmination of the Congress was a formal declaration which was adopted by acclamation and called for a continued commitment and a program of action for the adult and continuing education community to address the special learning needs of adults well into the 21st century.
What began as a dream in October, 1986 has become a reality! The First National Congress for Adults with Special Learning Needs has become the foundation on which to build and move the adult and continuing education community forward to improve programs for adults with special learning needs. In August of 1988 The National Conference on Adults with Special Learning Needs was held at Gallaudet University and addressed the theme, “Building a Consensus of Understanding: Lifelong Learning for Adults with Special Learning Needs”. These two meetings brought together over 300 professionals from 34 states, Guam and Canada. The effort continued with the 1989 National Conference on Adults with Special Learning Needs which was held at City of Industry, California from August 9-12, 1989. The theme of this conference was “Building Bridges” and focused on the coordination of services, liaisons and networking which enhanced services require.
One major outcome of this conference was the inauguration of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs.
The Original Mission and Purposes of the Organization
The mission of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs, which will be an associated organization of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) is to create, establish, and foster an effective national and international coalition of professionals, advocates, and consumers to provide opportunities under the umbrella of lifelong learning for adults with special learning needs primarily in non-formal settings.
The Purposes of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs
A. To provide national and international leadership by advancing the education of adults with special learning needs so that their educational goals will be met.
B. To unify the adult education profession by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of those who serve adults with special learning needs.
C. To encourage research and development, and to communicate the results of that research to the profession and to the community at large.
D. To encourage the development of exemplary adult education programs, approaches, techniques, methodologies and materials.
E. To facilitate and promote the national and international exchange of information and knowledge between adults with special learning needs and adult educators who can assist these adults in meeting their adult education goals as lifelong productive members of society.
F. To serve as an advocate for adults with special learning needs, and to encourage the development and dissemination of publications, research, methods, materials, resources, and programs.
G. To conduct, sponsor or otherwise facilitate professional conferences, symposiums, workshops/ seminars, staff development and training activities which will provide the association membership with an opportunity to develop and provide programs for adults with special learning needs.
H. To promote adult basic education/literacy, English as a Second Language, and GED preparatory programs which assist adults with special learning needs to benefit from lifelong learning opportunities in non-formal settings.
I. To represent and communicate the interests and needs of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs to its members, American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), other professional organizations, legislative bodies, community and business organizations and the nation at large.