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Requesting Accommodations on the Job

Americans Disabilities Act - ADA Accommodation If you want to request accommodations at work, you will first need to decide whether to disclose your disability. You may be concerned that by disclosing your LD your boss will lose confidence in your ability or that your co-workers will ridicule you. However, you should know that more people today are familiar with learning disabilities than ever before, and LD on the job has become more prevalent and generally accepted. But it is completely up to you whether or not to disclose, and it depends on your comfort level with your boss and your co-workers. If you decide to tell your boss about your LD and need for accommodations, this information must be kept confidential. Your co-workers are not entitled to know about your disability unless you choose to tell them. Depending on the type of job you have and your job responsibilities, you may wish to explore ways to circumvent problems without disclosing your disability. For example, you may arrange to share responsibilities with a co-worker in order to capitalize on each of your strengths. The following are some real-life examples:


The Trade-Off—Exchanging Work

  1. Frank's job requires him to do a quarterly report. Frank dreads turning in his reports because he has trouble writing. He finds it difficult to organize and outline his thoughts, so his reports are not always as clearly written as they could be. But Frank has great artistic talents. So he asked his co-worker, Janice, to help him outline and organize his quarterly reports and to review his drafts before he sends out the final copies. In exchange, Frank has offered to design the layout and format of Janice's reports.
  2. Consuela has trouble balancing the monthly budget at work. But she has great people skills. She has asked Carey to handle the budget. In exchange, Consuela has offered to make Carey's beginning-of-month sales calls to customers, telling them about the monthly specials. Carey is happy to handle the budget and not have to make those monthly phone calls.

    Sometimes, there are ways to self-accommodate besides exchanging tasks with a co-worker. Look at the following examples:


The Trade-Off — Tricks of the Trade 

  1. Frank might try to self-accommodate by asking his supervisor if he can install a software program on his computer that can help him outline his thoughts when writing. Frank can simply tell his boss that the program helps him work more efficiently without disclosing that he has LD.
  2. Sarah is expected to take minutes at the monthly staff meeting. But Sarah has trouble writing down what's been said while the conversation continues. So she has asked her boss if she might tape-record the staff meetings to be sure that she doesn't miss anything. Then she can play back the tape later to be sure her notes are complete.
  3. Micah is a machine operator and has trouble measuring to the fraction of an inch. So he developed a small card to fit in his wallet. The card had an enlarged picture of an inch on it. Micah was then able to compare the picture of the fraction on the card with the location on the ruler.

You can see from the examples above that it is often possible to make adjustments to your work that will allow you to you perform your job duties. The employees in the above instances chose not to disclose their learning disabilities at work.

Tags: college-adult