National Center for Learning Disabilities

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Strengths vs. Challenges in the Workplace

Employment Find - Adults with Learning Disabilities Everyone brings different strengths and talents to their job. However, it is also fair to say that individuals with and without LD will find certain job-related tasks to be difficult and even problematic. The following is a list of some of the specific ways that your learning disabilities can interfere with success at work:

Common Challenges in the Workplace:

Inefficiency:

Individuals with LD may take significantly longer than their co-workers to accomplish tasks, leading to overall low productivity on the job. If you're affected by this problem:

 

  • you may be frustrated trying to keep up with your workload
  • you may worry about co-workers resenting your slow pace or ridiculing your difficulties staying organized and getting your work done

 

High Error Rate with Tasks Involving Academic Skills:

Individuals with LD may have trouble writing memos, taking messages, reading instructions, filling out forms, and making changes. If you encounter these sorts of difficulties:

 

  • you may find yourself trying to avoid tasks, especially if you feel embarrassed when your boss or co-workers must double-check and correct your errors.

 

Problems Learning a Sequence of Tasks:

People with LD may have difficulty learning and carrying out multiple-step tasks and following directions. This may be especially true when steps needs to be carried out in specific ways or in a particular order. If you're having trouble completing multi-step tasks in the right order:

 

  • you may find yourself looking for shortcuts (that unfortunately often have a negative impact on the quality of your end product)
  • the speed and the accuracy of your work will likely suffer.

 

Time Management:

Learning disabilities can have a negative impact on your ability to manage time efficiently. Some frequent challenges include:

  • having trouble planning ahead, and keeping a calendar of activities
  • arriving too late or too early for meetings
  • meeting critical work deadlines

 

Social Skills:

People affected by learning disabilities may find social interactions to be especially challenging. Common problems might be:

  • knowing what to say and how to behave when meeting people for the first time
  • helping people feel good about working with you on a team
  • engaging in small talk, and knowing how much is too much to disclose about your personal life
  • sharing information about your LD
  • making and keeping friends.

 

Strengths You Bring to the Job:

Persistence:

Self-determination is one of the most important characteristics seen in people with LD who have achieved success. It is not unusual for people with LD to:

 

  • try different approaches to solving problems, even after co-workers have given up
  • share their determination with supervisors and co-workers (often appreciated as a sign of interest, dedication, and loyalty to the company)

 

Creativity:

Individuals with learning disabilities often have great problem-solving skills and are extraordinarily creative and resourceful in the ways that they tackle problems. It is not unusual to find people with LD who:

 

  • come up with innovative and creative solutions to problems at work.
  • Are valued by team members as the one to "think outside the box" or to come up new and unusual ideas

 

Specialized Talents:

Individuals with LD often develop and rely upon unique strengths in specific abilities that help them compensate for their disability, and make them especially valued employees. These might include:

 

  • drawing and design
  • public speaking
  • mechanical activities and work space adaptation

Tags: college-adult