Adults with disabilities have a right to “reasonable accommodations” in the work environment. Just as in school, some simple changes can have a huge impact on your ability to show your strengths and talents.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as:
- a documented condition that affects a person’s life “more than the average person” and
- that causes a person to do certain activities in a way that is “different from the way most people do”
This includes Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Autism and mental health difficulties, as well as physical disabilities and medical conditions.
For more information, take a look at the ADA’s website or NOLO’s website for answers to common questions.
To Qualify for Work Accommodations
- Just ask: To receive accommodations in the work place, a “plain language” request is sufficient to get the ball rolling. Ask your employer directly, or consult with HR to determine the best process.
- Documentation: Most employers will require an assessment or doctor’s diagnosis to document a disability as well as determine the specific accommodations needed. It is important that you are still able to perform the “essential functions”, or main responsibilities, of your job.
- Reasonable Accommodations: You have a right to request “reasonable accommodations”, or accommodations that allow you to do your job, without causing undue hardship to the company. This means that different companies will have different capacities for providing accommodations.
- Reveal When You’re Ready: You are not required at any time to reveal that you have a disability. In some work environments, it may be wise to wait until you have proven your value as an employee before requesting accommodations. It’s not fair, but it’s a reality. Many of my clients have made accommodations on their own first, and then asked to make them official once they have a relationship with their company.
In our work together, we can find the most appropriate accommodations for you, as well as the best way to approach your specific work environment to ensure you get what you need.
Types of Accommodations
The following list represents accommodations that have been helpful for my clients. They may be helpful for individuals with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Autism and difficulties due to Traumatic Brain Injuries.
- Use of dictation software such as Dragon Speak Naturally for writing tasks
- Books and technical manuals in audio form
- Task instructions and assignments provided in writing (e.g. via email)
- Notes taken by another employee at meetings
- Assistance with breaking assignments into smaller pieces with established deadlines
- Assignment of only one project at a time
- Substituting difficult tasks with another, equal, responsibility
- Choice to work from home or alternate schedule
- Private space or noise-canceling headphones
- Larger work space to spread out materials
- Notice of schedule in advance
- Additional time for projects or tasks
Please contact me for additional support in requesting accommodations for work that are right for you and your specific situation.