How To Ask for Accommodations at Work
Workplace accommodations for learning disabilities are sometimes referred to as “reasonable accommodations”. Reasonable accommodations are changes in the workplace, which enable people with learning disabilities to effectively carry out their job responsibilities or tasks. At Transitions, we understand the importance of workplace accommodations, and aim to educate individuals with learning disabilities on how to advocate for their needs.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that reasonable accommodations are to be carried out by employers who have fifteen or more employees. Yet you can request accommodations even if your company employs less than fifteen people. Such accommodations should be based on the specific needs of the person with the learning disability.
Identifying the Specific Need: Workplace Accommodations for Learning Disabilities
Workplace accommodations help individuals with learning disabilities do their job well. Workplace accommodations may include making changes to one’s workspace or environment, equipment, communication styles, and/or specific work tasks. If you are learning disabled and employed, it is important to discover the workplace accommodation(s) that could best suit your needs. The process of identifying such accommodations may include:
- Pinpointing areas of strength and areas of weakness
- Identifying which workplace task is causing you difficulty
- Being specific about the nature of the issue(s) you encounter
- Determining the nature of your disability that is contributing to the difficulty
- Brainstorming possible solutions
Possible Workplace Accommodations for Various Learning Disabilities
People with learning disabilities may experience a variety of on the job problems. Yet for each potential problem, there are various possible workplace accommodations.
- Ask a colleague to read for you
- Use a reading machine
- Request oral (rather than written) instructions
- Have voice output software installed on your computer
Trouble following spoken directions
- Request written directions
- Ask colleagues to communicate important information slowly, clearly, and in a quiet environment
- Ask for a demonstration of tasks
- Take notes while being given spoken directions
- Use tape recorder to record spoken directions
Trouble with written text
- Use typewriters and/or computers
- Use voice-activated computer (a computer that types as you talk)
- Use a voice message system that allows the sending of messages to a group (rather than sending memos).
Poor spelling and/or grammar
- Install spelling and grammar check software on computer
- Have a coworker assigned to proofread your work
- Use word prediction software
- Request your work area be moved to a more secluded space (in order to minimize distractions)
- Explore the option of working from home
- Use white noise machine
Short-term memory problems
- Use tape recorders
- Create charts(also known as graphic organizers) to help track essential information
- Request extra reminders regarding deadlines and/or important tasks
To learn more about other ways to support individuals with learning disabilities or to find out more about Transitions programs, contact us at (518) 775-5384.