ENews: Volume 8, Issue 2, Second Quarter, 2010
The JAN E-News is a quarterly online newsletter of the Job Accommodation Network. Its purpose is to keep subscribers informed about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities.
An e-mail announcement is sent to an opt-in list when a new issue is available. Please use the links at the end of this document to subscribe or unsubscribe.
JAN Launches AskJAN.org
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
April is Autism Awareness Month
One in a Million: Employees with Rare Conditions
Mobility Enhancing Devices, Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
Report from CSUN
JAN Releases New Resources
JAN Exhibit and Training Schedule
- JAN Loses Friend
- Subscribe to JAN Newsletter
- JAN Launches AskJAN.org
- April is Alcohol Awareness Month
- April is Autism Awareness Month
- One in a Million: Employees with Rare Conditions
- Mobility Enhancing Devices, Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
- Report from CSUN
- JAN Releases New Resources
- JAN Exhibit and Training Schedule
- JAN Loses Friend
- Subscribe to JAN Newsletter
JAN launched AskJAN.org on March 31, 2010. The revamped Website gives an up-to-date feel with new features and accessible communication tools. Focusing on providing quality electronic services promptly to customers, JAN's Website visitors can enjoy a new Training Hub and Newsroom area for access to JAN Consultant trainings, interviews, and quotes.
Did you know there are easy ways to communicate with JAN? Just look in the footer of every JAN Webpage so you can follow JAN on all the social networks or initiate a quick live chat with JAN staff via your browser. Other new Website features include JAN's Newsroom and Ready-to-Publish "Drop-In" Articles for Publications and easy Link to Us and How to Use this Site tools.
Want to learn more about Website accessibility? JAN provides technical assistance on how to make Websites accessible. Dive into the details with Recipe for Success: Website Accessibility and JAN's Accommodation and Compliance Series: Tips for Designing Accessible Webpages. For other timely and related resources:
- Read the newly released Business $ense JAN: Practical Solutions — Workplace Success " Whoever coined the adage 'nothing good comes for free' didn't know about the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)."
- Access the April US BLN Biz2Biz Report article Information Technology Accessibility: A New Era Emerges.
- Listen to an audio transcript of JAN discussing Social Networking Sites & Accessibility: Implications for Employers in the ADA Audioconference Series Archives.
Access more technical resources on JAN's A to Z: Online Applications and Web Accessibility.
- Beth Loy, Ph.D., Principal Consultant
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) would like to recognize April as Alcohol Awareness Month by sharing with its community some known facts about alcoholism and employment. The latest statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (2009) estimate that there were 18.3 million individuals, living in the United States, who were classified as having an alcohol dependence and/or alcohol abuse disorder in 2008. This would be approximately 7.3% of the nation's population.
Alcoholism is a maladaptive pattern of alcohol abuse leading to three or more of the following symptoms: Increased tolerance for use of alcohol before feeling effects; withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using alcohol; drinking alcohol often for a longer period or in larger amounts than intended; unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control the drinking of alcohol; excessive time spent obtaining alcohol, using alcohol and/or recovering from the effects of using alcohol; giving up of important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to alcohol use; and/or the alcohol use is continued despite physical or psychological problems that are likely to have been caused by alcohol use (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
Significantly, 61% of adults who are classified as having a substance abuse and/or substance dependence disorder are employed full-time (SAMHSA, 2009). Most persons with substance abuse disorders retain employment despite the fact that persons with drinking problems are less likely to be employed than the general population (Terza, 2002). One study indicated that over the course of 15 years the wages of males with alcoholism was 6.6% less than those without alcoholism (Renna, 2008).
Alcohol abuse and dependence disorders often contribute to emotional, economic, and social costs to the individual with the disorder and to the society at large. A study in 1998 estimated the cost of alcohol abuse to be $184.6 billion (Harwood, 2000). This includes $86.4 billion in lost productivity due to alcohol related illness.
So what can employers do to reduce the effects of alcoholism in the workplace? One thing employers can do is provide reasonable accommodations for employees with alcoholism so they can continue to be productive employees. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees with alcoholism who meet the definition of disability are entitled to accommodations for limitations associated with the alcoholism.
The following are some examples of the types of accommodations that may benefit employees with alcoholism. One thing to keep in mind is that employers are never required to provide accommodations so employees can drink alcohol.
- Flexible schedules for counseling, for example to attend AA meetings,
- Use of leave time to seek treatment,
- Reduction in workplace stress, and
- Leeway in attending work functions at which alcohol will be served.
For more information about accommodating employees with alcoholism, visit JAN's A to Z: Accommodation Ideas for Alcoholism.
And if you are faced with an employment situation involving an employee with alcoholism or you yourself have alcoholism and are trying to maintain employment, contact us as JAN and we will help in any way we can.
- American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
- Harwood, H. (2000) Updating estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States: Estimates, update methods, and data. Report prepared by The Lewin Group for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Renna, F. (2008). Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism and Labor Market Outcomes: Looking for the Missing Link. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 62 (1) 92-103.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2009). Results from the 2008 national survey on drug use and health: National findings.
- Terza, J. V. (2002). Alcohol abuse and employment: A second look. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 17(4), 393-404.
- Burr Corley, MSW, Consultant, Motor Team, and Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Principal Consultant
PUT ON THE PUZZLE this April as America recognizes Autism Awareness month! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of autism in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 110 children in America - that’s 13 million families and growing who live with autism today. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon this month. The puzzle pattern of the ribbon reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope—hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives (Autism Society of America, 2010).
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism. Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism-related disability. What distinguishes Asperger's Syndrome from autism? One of the major differences between Asperger's Syndrome and autism is that, by definition, there is no speech delay in Asperger's. In fact, people with Asperger's frequently have good language skills; they simply use language in different ways. Another distinction between autism and Asperger's concerns cognitive ability. Most people with Asperger’s possess average to above-average intelligence (Autism Society of America, 2010).
Just as the puzzle pieces on the ribbon represent the complexity of the individuals on the autism spectrum, the Job Accommodation Network looks at the complexity of the skills, limitations, and accommodation needs of employees on the autism spectrum. As with any other employee with a disability, each employee with autism or Asperger’s needs to be considered on an individual basis. JAN represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available and can be very helpful in determining effective accommodations for complex issues. You can contact a JAN consultant via the telephone, e-mail, or an online chat for answers to accommodation questions. Log on to AskJAN.org for technical assistance and information.
Just as the colors of the ribbon stand for the diversity of the people with autism spectrum disorders, so should the accommodations provided be diverse. Even as individuals with the same disability but with different limitations in the same job may need a different array of accommodations, so individuals as diverse as those on the autism spectrum may each need a distinct assortment of accommodations based on the specific limitations they experience on the job. Again, JAN is at your service to provide individualized assistance and practical solutions to the accommodation issues these diverse disabilities present.
The brightness of the ribbon signals hope that those with autism will lead a fuller, more complete life. JAN has a mission to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing employers, employment providers, people with disabilities, their family members, and other interested parties with information on job accommodations, self-employment, and small business opportunities. JAN's work has greatly enhanced the job opportunities of people with disabilities by providing information on job accommodations since 1983. A JAN study showed that employers who made accommodations for employees with disabilities reported multiple benefits as a result. Two of the most frequently mentioned direct benefits of providing accommodations were allowing the company to attract and retain a qualified employee, and increasing the worker’s productivity (Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact, 2009). Isn’t having a meaningful job and working to the best of our ability in that job a part of the American Dream we all share?
- Melanie Whetzel, M.A., Consultant, Cognitive / Neurological Team
People with rare conditions, also known as orphan syndromes, are working at full productivity in today's workforce. Although there is no single definition of rare condition, Bloom’s Syndrome, Familial Dysautonomia, Fanconi Anemia, Sarcoidosis, and Tuborous Sclerosis, are widely accepted examples. Employees with rare conditions may need no accommodations; however, there are situations where individuals may experience difficulties treating their rare conditions because services might not exist in the local area. Some services may even only exist outside of the United States. Thus, these employees might need job accommodations to access medical services and manage their conditions.
For employees who experience lengthy travel times for medical treatment, flexible scheduling, telecommuting, and additional leave are examples of job accommodations that can help. For treatment options outside of the United States, telephoning, instant messaging, and videoconferencing (sometimes at unusual hours) may be necessary. Other employees with rare conditions, whose life expectancy is shorter than average, may benefit from modifying a mandatory retirement contribution so that a contribution can go into an account with few (or no) tax consequences.
Keep in mind that employees with rare conditions might not need a lot of accommodations. Others might need accommodations that are no more complex than workers with other disabilities. Maintaining an open-door policy where an employer and employee can discuss accommodation needs is a simple best-practice for any accommodation process. This communication can go a long way toward building meaningful, trusting relationships between the employer and the employee.
For more information about rare conditions, please view the following list: http://AskJAN.org/cgi-win/DisQuery.exe?146f
- Sheryl Grossman, MSW, Consultant, Self-Employment / Motor Team
Many wheelchair users have needs or desires for better mobility beyond the scope of standard or powered wheelchairs. The ability to stand, recline, or traverse rugged environments can be addressed by use of specialty wheelchairs.
STANDING WHEELCHAIRS: Models come in manual or powered versions that allow the user to alternate between sitting and standing positions. Greater independence, health benefits, and activities of daily living are benefited by these devices.
Users are able to reach beyond a seated position without outside assistance. Changing positions is important to offset negative effects of prolonged sitting. Reaching high shelves, filing cabinets, and other work environment activities become possible. Cooking, cleaning, and accessing the home are enhanced when standing is required.
RECLINING WHEELCHAIRS: Wheelchairs that allow the user to recline make it easier for personal care providers. Users are able to nap, rest, or stretch out comfortably. These models recline up to 90 degrees but keep the seat parallel to the floor. Health benefits apply to users who have ongoing curvature of the spine issues, limited ability to sit upright, poor head or upper body control, and restrictive range of motion. However, reclining wheelchairs are usually longer than upright wheelchairs and are more difficult to transport in automobiles.
ALL TERRAIN WHEELCHAIRS: For people who want to participate in outdoor activities, such as, visiting parks, woods, or the beach, these rugged mobility devices allow great turning, shock absorbing tires, and overall heavy duty performance. Models can be manual or powered. Self confidence can be boosted and pleasure is an attainable goal.
The Job Accommodation Network does not sell wheelchairs but we do make information available as to manufacturers and distributors of mobility enhancing devices. For more information regarding product information, prices, specifications, and vendors, visit JAN's SOAR at:
- http://AskJAN.org/cgi-win/OrgQuery.exe?Whe29 (Stand up wheelchairs)
- http://AskJAN.org/cgi-win/OrgQuery.exe?Whe58 (Reclining wheelchairs)
- http://AskJAN.org/cgi-win/OrgQuery.exe?Sol194 (All terrain wheelchairs)
- Eddie Whidden, M.A., Senior Consultant, Motor Team
In March, Lou Orslene, Teresa Goddard, and Lyssa Rowan traveled to San Diego, CA, for the 25th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN). Teresa and Lyssa presented on the topic of Transitioning Youths with Speech Disorders: Reasonable Accommodation Situations and Solutions. They also talked with JAN booth visitors in the exhibit hall and were visited by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez (see photo).
JAN staff members met with old friends from the Department of Defense's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, Department of Agriculture's TARGET Center, US Business Leadership Network, Bender Consulting, IBM, Microsoft, Trace Center, and the Assistive Technology Industry Association. Staff also attended a number of thought provoking sessions on topics including assistive technology, Web accessibility, and policy issues. Below are some highlights.
Captain Ivan Castro, one of three blind officers serving in the active-duty Army and the only blind officer serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces gave a moving Keynote Address in which he discussed how an overheard discussion about a marathon motivated him not only to run in a marathon and an Army ten-miler but also to maintain his independence and active military status. More information on Captain Castro's presentation can be found here.
Joshua Miele, a research scientist from the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and Steven Landau, president of Touch Graphics, Inc., presented findings from an ongoing research project in which a specially programmed Livescribe Pulse smart pen was used to receive auditory information from maps, diagrams, and other teaching and learning tools printed textured on plastic paper. The presenters demonstrated how to use several applications including a scientific calculator with financial functions and a periodic table.
A great resource for any questions about Web accessibility is WebAIM. WebAIM is a non-profit organization hosted at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. WebAIM staff provided a number of sessions at CSUN on different aspects of Web accessibility, from ARIA to WAVE to cognitive Web accessibility. Copies of presentations (and a number of other great resources) are available from WebAIM's blog.
As always, the CSUN conference was an exciting opportunity for learning and networking. JAN staff enjoyed meeting everyone who stopped by the booth and hope to see you again soon!
- By Teresa Goddard, M.S., Consultant, Motor Team, and Lyssa Rowan, B.S., New Media Assistant
- JAN Releases AskJAN.org. JAN's Homepage now features profiles of people with disabilities and relevant JAN resources. Meet Tom Wlodkowski, Director of Accessibility, AOL; David Egan, Distribution Clerk, Booz Allen Hamilton; Kathy Peery, Legislative Affairs Specialist, U.S. Department of Energy; Angel Otto, Manager, Mr. Wash Car Wash; Thomas Krueger, Content Management Specialist, National Resource Directory; Zoila Vallavares, Preschool Teacher; Antavon Robinson, Cashier, Giant Supermarket; and Tenika Washington, Intern, Local Government Health Department. JAN also updated its Frequently Asked Questions with the release of AskJAN.org. Find out why JAN consultants are so trusted, what services are offered in Spanish, and learn more about how JAN is funded and operated. >> Read Frequently Asked Questions.
- JAN Provides Access to Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series - 2010 Archive. JAN provided three 1.5 hour Webcast sessions starting the first week of January 2010. The three part series covered the hiring and employment of people with disabilities in the Federal government and the reasonable accommodation process. JAN welcomed guest speakers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, DoD's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, and the USDA TARGET Center. Audience members included federal disability program managers, hiring managers, supervisors, EEO representatives, selective placement coordinators, and others who may be involved in hiring and managing workers in the Federal government. >> View archive.
- JAN Releases Archived Webcasts. These 1 hour training events include: Current Events in Accommodation - original air date - February 9, 2010; Accommodation Ideas for Employees with Traumatic Brain Injuries - original air date - March 9, 2010; and Employer Best Practices - Project Search: A National Success Story - original air date - April 13, 2010. JAN's Webcast series remained full for the 2009-2010 series so take time to see what you missed! The JAN archive provides access to Webcasts, PowerPoint slides, transcripts, and handouts. >> Access archives.
- JAN Reaches Second Life Training Milestone. In March, 2010, JAN reached a milestone by providing accessible training in the 3D platform of Second Life for one hour of Continuing Legal Education (CLE). CLEs are a requirement for attorneys in the United States to maintain their ability to practice law after initial admission to the bar. The session covered bias in the legal profession with a focus on lawyers with disabilities. >> Access JAN's Second Life office.
- JAN Referenced in 100 Days to the ADA. On April 17, 2010, Disability.gov launched 100 Days to the ADA, a countdown to the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The countdown will be available on Disability.gov's Blog. >> Read JAN Reference on Day 99 - Alcoholism and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Anne Hirsh, JAN Co-Director, Joins Nation’s Top Military Leader Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff During West Virginia Visit. Admiral Mullen visited West Virginia University (WVU) to meet with University officials, students, and community members. He was visiting WVU and Morgantown on a mission to promote successful reintegration of returning veterans into communities across the country. Hearing from a number of groups including programs providing direct support to veterans, employers known for hiring veterans, as well as many veterans and servicemembers, Admiral Mullen recognized the University and community for their support to veterans. Anne Hirsh, JAN Co-Director, served on a panel presided over by WVU President Clements and Admiral Mullen. Anne provided an overview of JAN's services in support of the military. >> Follow Admiral Mullen on Twitter.
- JAN Updates Veteran Resource Page. JAN adds ADA News from the U.S. Department of Justice to resource page. A new technical assistance publication, ADA: Know Your Rights -- Returning Service Members with Disabilities is now available. The publication provides service members who have been seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom a basic understanding of their rights under the ADA and where to turn for additional information and assistance. JAN also added the Department of Defense (DoD) updated National Resource Directory (NRD) Website. This Website compiles federal, state, local, and non-profit resources for Wounded Warriors, Veterans, family members, and caregivers. The NRD is a collaborative effort among the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Labor (DOL). >> Find it and other Veterans' Resources on AskJAN.org.
- Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez Featured in the White House “Meet the Women of the Administration” Series. >> Read interview.
- Recorded Webcasts and Summary Reports from "A New Day: We're Listening" are Now Available. Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez and Federal Partners held a series of listening sessions in six cities throughout the country that focused on the issues involved with disability employment. The summary reports for each of the sessions, together with the recorded video and audio programs, are now available. >> Access materials.
- 2010 Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) Available for Registration. The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. Co-sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Department of Defense with the participation of many other federal agencies, the WRP has provided employment opportunities for over 5,000 students since 1995. Currently, over 60 college students have been hired through WRP. In 2009, over 450 students were reported as being hired, the majority in summer jobs, in 20 different agencies. Federal government employers who want to take advantage of WRP can now register. >> Register online.
- Campaign for Disability Employment Launches Social Networking Tools. The Campaign for Disability Employment, a collaborative effort between several non-profit organizations to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace, has officially launched its Facebook Fan Page and LinkedIn Group. Learn how the Campaign is promoting positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace. >> Get more details.
- EEOC Announces 2010 Excel Conference To Be Held July 12-15, 2010, in Orlando, FL. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has scheduled its 2010 Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) conference from July 12-15 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL. The EXCEL conference – considered the conference to attend for senior federal agency leaders, federal EEO and HR practitioners, and attorneys in the federal government – provides a breadth and depth of training on the laws and issues within the EEOC’s purview unmatched by other federal sector EEO conferences. Attend JAN's session and visit the JAN booth. >> Register now.
- National ADA Symposium To Be Held June 20-23, 2010 in Denver, CO. CAP Director, Dinah Cohen, will be co-presenting with Principal Consultant, Linda Carter Batiste, JD, from the Job Accommodation Network at the National ADA Symposium! The 2010 ADA Symposium will be recognizing the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act with the latest information on new regulations and the ADA Amendments Act from the federal agencies that write the regulations. >> Register now.
- 2010 USBLN® Annual Conference & Expo - "Aligning Disability with the Bottom Line: Talent, Market Share, and Supplier Diversity" To Be Held September 19-22, 2010, in Chicago, IL. Join the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®) at the 13th Annual Conference & Expo in Chicago, IL, at the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel. “Aligning Disability with the Bottom Line: Talent, Market Share, and Supplier Diversity” is the preeminent national employer-to-employer event that taps into the vast economic potential of people with disabilities. This conference brings corporate, government, disability-owned businesses and BLN affiliates together to create workplaces, marketplaces, and supply chains where people with disabilities are fully included as professionals, customers, and entrepreneurs. For a limited time, take advantage of early-bird registration at $70.00 off the standard conference registration. As an added incentive, early registrants will be entered to win fabulous prizes! Register now.
- Back by Popular Demand! Introduction to Disability Benefits Online Course. The University of Wisconsin-Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute (SVRI) and Employment Resources, Inc. (ERI), are partnering to offer the first in a series of online courses, Introduction to Disability Benefits. The online training series is designed to provide convenient, cost-effective learning opportunities that will accommodate your busy lifestyle as well as your individual learning style. This course will provide an easy to understand overview of the most common federal benefit systems for people with disabilities such as Title II (SSDI & retirement), Title XVI (SSI), Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, COBRA, etc. >> Register now.
- AgrAbility Distributes Inaugural Issue of AgrAbility Harvest. The purpose of this semiannual, national newsletter is to highlight the activities and impacts of AgrAbility. AgrAbility Harvest targets not only AgrAbility staff members, but also agricultural producers, rehabilitation specialists, agriculture professionals, legislators, and anyone else with an interest in the agriculture and disability arena. >> Read more.
- FCC Issues Firstever Working Paper Addressing Accessibility and Technology Issues. The paper builds on recommendations in the National Broadband Plan and looks at the many barriers to broadband usage faced by people with disabilities, including inaccessible hardware, software, services, and Web content and specialized assistive technologies. >> Access .pdf and .txt versions.
- Spread the Word to End the Word. Pledge your support to eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word. >> Pledge now.
Events of particular interest: Get the most up-to-date and comprehensive training on employing people with disabilities. To view the complete JAN travel schedule go here: http://AskJAN.org/training/On-the-Road.htm
Kevin Curtin, Director of the USDA TARGET Center, died on March 10, 2010. Kevin initiated several partnerships with JAN staff related to training and outreach. Although many conversations were related to accessible technologies, Website design, and Section 508, those that will be most remembered focused on family, sports, nature, and politics. Kevin will most of all be remembered as a friend with a terrific sense of humor.
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This document was developed by the Job Accommodation Network, funded by a contract agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (DOL079RP20426). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nor does mention of tradenames, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor.