By: Teresa Goddard, Senior Consultant, Sensory Team
November was American Diabetes Month, so predictably JAN consultants received many inquiries about accommodations for employees with diabetes. JAN customers often ask about the most common type of accommodation for a particular condition. Anecdotally, I would say that a modified schedule, such as flexible start times and modified break schedules, is one of the most common types of accommodation we discuss during calls about diabetes. Other typical accommodation solutions include providing a space for the employee to store medication and food; policy modifications which allow an individual to eat at one’s desk; or procedural modifications related to travel reimbursement which may be needed to avoid passing extra costs related to food, and medication storage or other disability related travel expenses on to the employee. However, over the past few years, I’ve noticed the number of questions we receive about the use of service dogs by employees with diabetes seems to be increasing. I’ve also fielded numerous questions on this topic during presentations and trainings, as well as the day-to-day calls here at the office.
The number of calls we receive at JAN related to employees with diabetes who use service animals to assist with management of their condition continues to be relatively small in comparison to the total number of accommodation inquiries we receive about diabetes. However, we have seen a gradual increase since the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). Because of the ADAAA, individuals with diabetes are more easily able to show they are covered under the ADA. One of the changes that occurred when the ADAAA went into effect is that major bodily functions now count as major life activities for purposes of determining whether or not someone meets the definition of disability under ADA. In addition, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on the ADAAA specifically mentions functions of the endocrine system as an example of a major bodily function that counts as a major life activity. This is important for individuals with diabetes because the pancreas, which produces insulin, is an important part of the endocrine system. While there is still no list of conditions that are always covered under the ADA, it is likely that most people with a diagnosis of diabetes will be able to show that they are substantially limited in the functions of their endocrine system.
The increased interest in service dogs as an accommodation for diabetes may have to do with their ability to alert individuals to blood sugar problems. Service dogs for individuals with diabetes are sometimes referred to as hypoglycemia alert dogs. In order to be considered a service animal as opposed to an emotional support animal, the dog has to be trained to perform some type of task. Hypoglycemia alert dogs are trained to prompt an individual with diabetes or episodes of hypoglycemia that their blood sugar levels may be dropping. The mechanism by which a hypoglycemia alert dog can detect a change in blood sugar is not fully understood. A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care (Dehlinger et al., 2013) did not support the idea that dogs use their sense of smell to detect changes in blood sugar. However, the sample size was small. The study also did not rule out the possibility of dogs using behavioral cues rather than scent to detect changes in blood sugar. Many more studies will be needed before we can fully understand how hypoglycemia alert dogs detect changes in blood sugar and the circumstances under which they can do so reliably. It is my understanding that not all dogs are able to do so.
Although hypoglycemia alert dog is a term that is typically used to refer to a service dog used by an individual with diabetes, some of our callers have reported that their dogs can also alert to hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar whereas hyperglycemia means high blood sugar. Different treatments are required for each of these conditions. Those who are prone to episodes of both may need to test their blood sugar level when alerted by the dog in order to know what to do next.
Dogs may alert individuals with diabetes to a change in blood sugar in different ways, but one common method is to nudge the individual who is experiencing an episode, or to vocalize in a manner similar to a whine or a whimper. To an outside observer, this may appear similar to a dog asking to go outside or for food, but the meaning is clear to the individual with diabetes. Some dogs may be trained to perform more complex tasks such as retrieving glucose tablets.
One issue that comes up frequently during calls about hypoglycemia alert dogs in the workplace is the fact that training methods tend to be different from those of other service animals. It is not unusual among users of hypoglycemic alert dogs for a pet that is already part of the family of the person with diabetes to undergo service animal training. This is different from the training of many service animals whereby the animal is trained through a specialized program (often with participation of the future owner) and then placed into service. Sometimes the individual may train the animal on their own with the support of a diabetes-related medical provider or support organization. This may complicate the process of providing medical documentation to an employer, particularly if the training is done by the individual with a family pet.
Over the years, service animals have taken on an increasingly important role as an accommodation option for people with disabilities to succeed in the workplace. For individuals with diabetes, hypoglycemia alert dogs can help mediate a potentially serious health condition so that the employee can continue to be a productive part of the workforce.
For additional information see:
Service Animals in the Workplace
Accommodation Ideas for Employees with Diabetes
Dehlinger, K., Tarnowski, K., House, J. L., Los, E. L., Hanavan, K., Bustamante, B., Ahmann, A. J., & Ward, K. W. (2013). Can trained dogs detect a hypoglycemic scent in patients with type 1 diabetes? Diabetes Care, 36(7), e98-e99.
By: Tracie DeFreitas, Lead Consultant
When we talk about making facilities accessible and useable as a type of accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), most people don’t necessarily think about invisible barriers that may be in the air. They may think about more obvious physical barriers like stairs leading to an entrance, narrow doorways, or inaccessible restrooms. However, for some people, irritants like fragrances, deodorizers, scented candles, and other chemicals in the air can be as much an access barrier as a missing ramp or inoperative elevator. People with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory disorders may be more susceptible to the effects of these irritants at levels that are much lower than what might cause problems for those in the general population.
In particular, exposure to fragranced products can make it difficult for some employees to function effectively at work. JAN Consultants talk to employers who are trying to accommodate employees who report fragrance sensitivity. Fragrance sensitivity is either an irritation or an allergic reaction to some chemical or combination of chemicals in a product. Although perfumes and colognes are generally what come to mind, fragrance is commonly added to a variety of daily use items like toiletries, cosmetics, air fresheners, laundry soaps and softeners, and cleaning products. People with fragrance sensitivity often experience symptoms such as breathing difficulties: wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest, or worsening of asthma symptoms; headaches; nausea; hives and other skin irritations; and limitations in memory and concentration.
Situations involving fragrance or scent sensitivity can be a little complicated because accommodations sometimes impact others in the work environment. For example, some employers have implemented workplace policies or made requests that all employees refrain from wearing and using scented products in the workplace. While a 100% fragrance-free environment may not be reasonable, an employer may still take measures to reduce exposure to such irritants. It becomes an issue of fragrance-use awareness. As with any accommodation situation, it is up to the employer to determine what is reasonable with regard to the type of accommodation(s) that can be implemented. JAN offers a number of accommodation solutions that may help:
- Reduce exposure to scented products by asking employees to be conscious of their choice of products (opt for non-scented) and to refrain from wearing fragrances and colognes to the workplace
- Move the employee’s workstation away from co-workers who use heavily scented products, fragrances, etc.
- Do not situate the employee’s workstation near areas of heavy foot traffic or congregation (i.e., break room, restroom, elevator area)
- Provide an enclosed workspace
- Provide an air cleaner of the right size to effectively clean the space (i.e., select a model sufficient for gaseous filtration) and make sure the HVAC system is working properly
- Provide a desk fan
- Allow a flexible work schedule so the employee who is sensitive can work when fewer people are in the building
- Allow the employee to wear a mask (e.g., http://www.icanbreathe.com/favorite.htm)
- Allow breaks to take medication or get fresh air
- Allow telework
- Implement and enforce a fragrance-free policy
For additional information regarding accommodation ideas for people who are sensitive to fragrances, see JAN’s publication Employees with Fragrance Sensitivity or contact JAN to speak with a consultant.
By: Melanie Whetzel, Senior Consultant, Cognitive/Neurological Team
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month focusing attention on the experiences of individuals with epilepsy and seizure disorders in many aspects of their daily lives, including employment. JAN is offering the following information as a way to highlight the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accommodation issues pertinent to employees with epilepsy in the workplace.
Are you seeking information on workplace accommodations related to epilepsy and seizure disorders? If you are, you are not alone! JAN has responded to over 330 inquiries so far this year concerning these type of medical conditions. We are your connection to a wealth of information available to assist you. These resources include a recent Webcast on Epilepsy Accommodations that has been archived for viewing; an Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Epilepsy; an EEOC Fact Sheet: Questions and Answers about Epilepsy in the Workplace and ADA; a Consultant’s Corner: Epilepsy, Driving, and Employment; as well as a brand-new Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) page on epilepsy. If you have a specific situation you would like to discuss, JAN consultants can provide one-on-one assistance. There are a variety of ways to access our services. We can be reached through our toll-free telephone line at (800) 526-7234 (Voice) or (877) 781-9403 (TTY); conduct a live online chat; send an E-mail through our JAN on Demand feature; or access us on a variety of social networks. Don’t let your questions go unanswered – contact us here at JAN for personalized expert assistance.
By: MSKTC Staff
Do you have a spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), or burn injury? Or do you care for someone who does?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) is a free resource that can help you. The MSKTC develops easy-to-access resources such as factsheets, slideshows, and videos to support individuals living with SCI, TBI and burn injury. Best of all, these resources are research-based and developed in collaboration with leading SCI, TBI, and burn injury researchers from Model Systems funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Examples of resources include:
- Factsheets, which give brief overviews of information on key topics relating to SCI, TBI, and burn injury
- Slideshows, that translate research information in an easy-to-understand format
- Videos, which show how Model Systems research benefits end users
- Hot Topics Modules, that bundle factsheets, slideshows, and videos based on Model Systems research
Example resources that can help you seek and maintain employment, and help develop your employment skillset include:
Participate in Research Studies
The MSKTC also recruits individuals 18 years and older with SCI, TBI, or burn injury and the people who care for them to participate in research studies and test consumer factsheets. To share your experiences to help others in the future, please call Mahlet Megra, (202) 403-5600 or email email@example.com
For more information on the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), visit: http://www.msktc.org
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” While this month is a great time to raise awareness of the many valuable contributions of America’s workers with disabilities, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the many changes over the years in how we think about disability and employment.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) co-directors Anne Hirsh and Lou Orslene have a collective 40+ years of experience providing leadership at JAN. As the JAN Blog editor, I thought this was an opportune time to ask them to share their views on some of the issues at the heart of increasing employment opportunities for individuals with all types of disabilities.
In my initial question, I asked Anne and Lou to talk about the biggest changes they’ve observed during their tenure at JAN for people with disabilities in the employment arena.
Anne’s immediate reply was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She and I both began working at JAN prior to the passage of the ADA, so witnessed firsthand what a game changer this was. In those early days, some of the first questions regarding the employment provisions of the ADA were fielded by JAN consultants, with Anne coordinating our rapid increase in call volume. A related point she emphasized was the pathway created by the ADA for an individual to disclose one’s disability and subsequently request an accommodation. JAN’s work over the years has been at the forefront of facilitating this process.
On another front, Anne reflected on changes over the past 10-15 years when JAN received calls from parents asking about their children with disabilities transitioning from school to work. In recent years however, the tables have turned in that we’re now receiving an increasing number of calls from adult children contacting us about aging parents who acquire disabilities later in life and need to continue to work. Lou remarked this is a major shift in today’s workforce – many individuals are working longer while still being affected by the aging process. He suggested that employers should have proactive policies and training related to disability and employment because we are all likely in our lifetimes to be impacted by health issues in the context of work. Employers are starting to recognize the benefits of retaining aging employees who, despite an impairment, are capable of continuing to contribute to a business’ success.
Another change Anne remarked on was the increase in the number of students with disabilities in the higher education system. Lou added that particularly in his travel to conferences and training events, he encounters many more highly trained young adults with disabilities applying for positions or currently employed. This progress was fostered by the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). He remarked that while there is still much room for much improvement in educational parity and hiring rates, notable progress has been made. Programs like the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) and other internship programs are designed to enable talented and motivated college students and graduates to reach their goal of a productive career in their chosen field.
Likewise in the education arena, Lou pointed out that veterans with service-connected disabilities returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are taking advantage of the Post-911 GI Bill, which supports their educational goals and transition into civilian employment. This will mean more disabled veterans will be entering the workforce or choosing entrepreneurship, which will further diversify and strengthen our economy.
Lou noted a change as well in how we think about inclusion and diversity. It has become more commonplace for issues around disability to be incorporated into mainstream diversity programs and policies, whereas in the past, this was not the case. This shift means that expectations are changing as to what a diverse and inclusive workforce looks like. He added, “We can only expect this shift to increase in speed with the broadening of the coverage under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) along with the new Section 503 regulations.”
My second question for Anne and Lou involved what they saw as the greatest contributions JAN has made in advancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities over the past 30 years.
For both Anne and Lou, two words exemplified what they saw as one of JAN’s most important contributions – confidence and competence. For individuals with disabilities, JAN consultants have educated customers on how to become better self-advocates. After thousands of calls to JAN — ultimately one conversation at a time — consultants have provided the information, resources, and guidance so that individuals can become more knowledgeable and empowered to move forward with their goals. Lou explained the same is true for the employers who have contacted JAN. Often HR professionals or managers encounter situations with applicants or employees where they are unsure what to do. They may have an ADA question, a particular accommodation situation, or both. JAN’s consulting services provide a free and confidential way for employers to discuss these situations and concerns. Employers therefore feel more confident and competent when hiring and accommodating qualified workers with disabilities; applicants and employees with disabilities feel more empowered to voice what they need to be successful on the job.
Anne highlighted a second unique JAN contribution — the role our consultants play in problem solving and sharing potential accommodations solutions with customers on a case by case basis. Lou pointed out this knowledge is then shared through JAN’s networking and training with other organizations – particularly service providers. He believes this outreach has expanded with JAN’s effective use of social networking tools and training platforms. Lou emphasized JAN’s strong commitment to support the work of other organizations thereby connecting people and organizations together in support of our collective goal of creating a more inclusive workforce.
My final question for Anne and Lou was on a more personal note – asking each to comment on what they feel is the best part of their jobs as co-directors at JAN.
Both Anne and Lou emphatically stated the best part of their job was making an impact on the lives of the customers JAN serves. As co-directors, both spend a great deal of time on the road and they each stated how blown away they are by the stories they are told about how someone’s life was affected by the guidance they received from JAN. These affirmations are received as well on an ongoing basis through emails, phone calls, and follow-up data. Anne attributes this success to the JAN staff, who she describes as “some of the most dedicated people she knows.” Both said they are constantly amazed at the day-to-day effort and passion the staff brings to their work.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Anne and Lou for sharing their thoughts for this Blog. The JAN staff appreciates their vision, dedication and leadership.
By: Melanie Whetzel, M.A., Senior Consultant, Cognitive / Neurological Team
Unless you have been living with your head in the sand at your favorite beach, you know that the back-to-school season is upon us. If you have ventured into any retail store, the signs are hard to miss — paper, markers, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, and other back-to-school trappings are being marketed near the front of almost every retailer. Television commercials abound. If you are one of those educators who cannot wait to get back into the classroom, you have no doubt seen the marketing blitz and have welcomed it. Starting a new school year can be very exciting! But if you are an educator who is apprehensive because of difficulties in the classroom due to disabilities, you may not be quite as eager to get back into the daily grind. School supplies everywhere may cause a feeling of trepidation.
If accommodations are needed in the workplace because of a disability, the earlier you take care of requesting those accommodations, the better. Accommodations that are put into place before the school year actually begins will go a long way towards easing your mind and allowing you more confidence and success in the classroom.
Below are examples of actual accommodation situations and solutions fielded by JAN consultants that may lead to a more effective school year:
A preschool teacher with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) could not get to work early enough to take his turn in the early bus schedule, but had no problems staying after school for the late bus duty. He asked for the accommodation of exchanging his early duties with another teacher who just preferred not to do the after-school duty. The accommodation was approved allowing him to do two turns of the after-school duty in exchange for no early duty.
An elementary school principal was undergoing treatment for cancer that left him extremely fatigued. He asked for a rest period each day as an accommodation. The school district had no problem with the accommodation request, but they were uncomfortable with his idea of using a roll-away cot in his office. JAN suggested using a recliner in the corner of the office, so when not in use, it looked and functioned as an ordinary chair. This would provide the principal the ability to put his feet up and recline for rest. The district was very pleased with the recliner solution.
A secondary music teacher with major depression asked for the accommodation of moving his classroom to a quieter location. There was an empty classroom in the basement of the building where there would be no classes on either side. The accommodation was granted. A walkie talkie was provided so the teacher could call the office if he needed assistance because there were no call buttons in the basement.
An elementary teacher with bone cancer was accommodated with a designated parking space near the school entrance that was closest to her classroom. They also redistributed some of the duties to paraprofessionals in the building which allowed for assistance with escorting the children to the cafeteria, the art and music rooms, and the gymnasium.
A college professor who had incurred a traumatic brain injury (TBI) was accommodated by rescheduling departmental meetings and classes she taught to 11am in the morning or later. She then used the uninterrupted morning hours to get her planning, reading, studying, and administrative duties done.
For more accommodation ideas, see Educators with Disabilities.
As you can see from the above examples, effective accommodations can be fairly simple, creative, and put smoothly into place. If you need accommodations to start out the new school year, consider contacting JAN. We can provide assistance with questions you may have concerning any step in the process.
Once you have the needed accommodations in place, you can relax and look forward with excitement to that first day of school, just like your students do!
By: Jim Womeldorff, JAN Consultant and Kim Cordingly, Lead Consultant
For applicants or employees who are in mental health recovery and struggling vocationally (including family members, friends or professionals who are assisting them), it may be helpful to consider looking into the availability of psychiatric rehabilitation programs in their area. According to Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, the mission of this approach is to assist individuals in mental health recovery to choose, obtain, and maintain their preferred living, learning, socializing, and working roles. Practitioners can assist individuals to set and achieve vocational goals on a continuum from an initial engagement around a person’s general interest in working, to a goal aimed at increasing skills and supports in order to become more successful and satisfied in their chosen job role. This is achieved in the most consumer-driven way possible, beginning from where the person is “at” vocationally.
An example of an experience that can be facilitated by this approach is known as the process of “choosing a valued role.” Historically, people with psychiatric disabilities have been “placed” into their various life roles (e.g., residential, vocational, etc.) often with little or no direct involvement. The opportunity, perhaps for the first time in that person’s life, to engage in a systematic process of actively choosing from among several well-researched alternative job roles – with the assistance of a skilled counselor — can in itself be a “recovery-launching” experience.
JAN’s services can complement this type of individualized and choice-driven employment process. Our consultants can respond to questions from individuals, vocational counselors, or employers regarding workplace accommodations, the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or entrepreneurship options. All services are free and confidential. JAN’s Website can be very helpful to job seekers with mental health impairments providing information and resources that address issues such as disclosure of a disability; finding the right job; examples of potential accommodations; ADA guidance; and a wide variety of other employment issues. The portal designated for “Job Seekers” under “For Individuals” on the JAN Home Page is a good starting point.
Regarding psychiatric rehabilitation programs, a variety of mental health provider organizations offer services based on this holistic approach. They are available in a variety of implementation types including individual practitioners, group programs, mobile programs, inpatient programs, clubhouse programs, and peer support services. Your local community mental health organization or case management/service coordination agency may be a good place to begin an inquiry into programs available in your local community.
Vocational psychiatric rehabilitation can be an essential complement to the array of treatment, enrichment, and other types of services available to assist people in their mental health recovery journeys. Success and satisfaction in a valued vocational role is often a major contributing factor to a person’s growth toward a full recovery. JAN can contribute to an individual’s success in the workplace by providing individualized accommodation suggestions and responding to questions about the ADA. Below are select resources available on JAN’s Website that may be especially helpful.
Dinah Cohen is the Director of the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the U.S. Department of Defense. Ms. Cohen works closely with senior leadership throughout the Federal sector to ensure employees, beneficiaries, and members of the public with disabilities have equal access to Federal services and employment. Ms. Cohen also initiated a program to provide assistive technology and accommodation support to wounded service members to aid in their rehabilitation and recovery process.
Dr. Beth Loy, a Principal Consultant at JAN, had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Cohen this month about the mission of the CAP program, the importance of making effective accommodations in the Federal sector, and their role in ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to Federal employment opportunities.
Can you talk about CAP, its mission, and how CAP’s mission has changed over the last few years?
The Department of Defense (DoD) established the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) to eliminate employment barriers for people with disabilities. CAP’s mission, since its inception in 1990, is to provide assistive technology and accommodations to ensure people with disabilities and wounded Services members have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the DoD and throughout the Federal Government.
CAP has expanded beyond the DoD to partner with 68 federal agencies making it the largest provider of reasonable accommodations in the world. The program’s vision is to increase employment of people with disabilities and disabled veterans by ensuring they have access to accommodations throughout the DoD and Federal Government.
Since 9/11, we are seeing more disabled veterans returning to the workplace as civilians with a range of disabling conditions. They are tech-savvy and are ready to work. The assistive technology options still lag behind the general technology changes.
What do you feel is the most important change you have seen in the field of assistive technology since being the Director of CAP?
I have noticed there are more assistive technology solutions and successful integration of the technologies that can address the needs of individuals with multiple disabling conditions. Next, the cost of accommodations has gone down and I have noticed there are more embedded solutions in the operating systems and general applications and tools. Since the baby boomers are getting older, the market for enhancements and some accommodations are being required by a larger number of individuals.
For individuals who are reluctant to ask for modifications on the job, what can CAP do to support them?
I believe if the individual is armed with the information of their assistive technology needs AND the FREE price tag, they would be more comfortable requesting the accommodation solution. Most individuals are hesitate to bring the accommodation conversation to managers IF they think it will add a cost factor to the decision for employment OR they are not sure what would work. The employee should be familiar with their accommodation solutions to help with this conversation.
What trends do you think will occur in the near future in the field of assistive technology?
The new mobile environment has provided flexibility and user-friendly solutions to many individuals with disabilities via lots of free apps and embedded technologies. There will always be a need for some assistive technology solutions to support an individual in the workplace. We need employers to consider the needs of their employees with disabilities as they move forward on their strategic plans for the company/agency’s information environment and enterprise solutions. More and more able-body and people with disabilities want to have a flexible work environment and telework. Unless we are looking on how to provide the right tools for EVERYBODY and have a secure and flexible information environment, we will miss the opportunity of being the employer of choice.
Can you give an example of a situation involving an individual who came to CAP, received assistive technologies, and was successful in implementing the technologies at work?
We have over 100,000 stories on how we have provided accommodations and how the individual has used it in the workplace. I encourage your readers to go to the CAP website and see the videos of the technologies and to YouTube to hear the testimonial of our customers and how they are using the technology in the work place at www.cap.mil.
I encourage your readers to visit our Website, download the CAP APP, be a CAP Fan and continue to work with CAP and JAN to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities and wounded Service members.
Cómo comunicar las discapacidades y las acomodaciones a los compañeros de trabajo.
El Acta para Americanos con Discapacidades prohíbe a los empleadores comunicar a los compañeros de trabajo cualquier información relacionada con la discapacidad de un empleado, incluyendo el hecho de que un empleado está recibiendo una acomodación. Sin embargo, en ciertos casos el empleado voluntariamente quiere informar a sus compañeros acerca de una discapacidad y de su acomodación, especialmente si ellos notarán la acomodación de todos modos. Por ejemplo, si un empleado con discapacidades utilizará un perro de servicio en el trabajo puede ser conveniente educar a los compañeros acerca de cómo tratar con animales de servicio. Otro ejemplo es cuando un empleado tiene alergias severas y necesita evitar la exposición involuntaria a los alérgenos durante las horas de trabajo.
Las siguientes son líneas generales para aquellos empleados con discapacidades que deseen informar a sus compañeros de trabajo acerca de su discapacidad y sus acomodaciones:
- Mantenga la conversación relacionada a la jornada laboral.
- Indíqueles a sus compañeros los motivos por los cuales usted comunica su discapacidad.
- No suponga que sus compañeros saben de qué se trata su discapacidad; prepárese para dar información básica y general si fuera relevante.
- Indíqueles a sus compañeros qué necesita de ellos y por qué.
- Explíqueles a sus compañeros cuáles son las acomodaciones que necesitará y cómo le ayudarán a realizar su trabajo.
- Sea positivo y abierto pero limite la información que comparta según se sienta cómodo.
Para obtener más información contacte a la Red de Acomodación en el Empleo JAN.
Acomodaciones en el empleo: desde el estilo casero al estilo gourmet
Existen acomodaciones en el empleo de todas las formas y todos los tamaños, las hay de naturaleza muy técnica o las hay muy simples. Veamos algunos ejemplos de cómo JAN ha asistido a la pequeña empresa con acomodaciones que fueron más caseras que gourmet.
Ejemplo: Un auxiliar administrativo con el síndrome de túnel carpiano tenía problemas al abrir y cerrar carpetas llenas de papeles. Dos opciones de acomodación gourmet habrían sido reemplazar todo el sistema de registro con un fichero automatizado o reemplazar las carpetas con modelos nuevos y fáciles de abrir.
La acomodación casera que sugirió JAN fue: ¿Qué tal si se abren los broches de los anillos de la carpeta con un destapador de botella clásico? De esta forma, el empleado era capaz de agarrar cómodamente el destapador, conectarlo al broche, y abrir/cerrar con eficacia una carpeta sin prensión excesiva.
Ejemplo: Un consultor con una lesión en el hombro tenía dificultades para usar el ratón del computador. Debido a su lesión, ajustó su teclado articulado y la bandeja del ratón en un ángulo tan pronunciado que el ratón se deslizaba fuera de la bandeja. Dos opciones de alojamiento gourmet habrían sido sustituir la bandeja del teclado o la compra de una estación de trabajo para posición supina.
La acomodación casera que sugirió JAN fue: ¿Qué tal si se crea una casa para el ratón? La acomodación se resolvió con unos trozos de madera. El empalme con velcro de un borde de madera a la bandeja del ratón evitó que éste se deslizara fuera de su casa.
Ejemplo: Una empleada que trabajaba como cajera tenía dificultades para saber cuándo se la necesitaba en la estación de trabajo central debido a su pérdida de audición, le resultaba imposible escuchar voces en un entorno transitado y ruidoso. Dos opciones de acomodaciones gourmet habrían sido la instalación de un nuevo sistema telefónico o la compra de un pager buscador de personal con vibrador.
La acomodación casera que sugirió JAN fue: ¿Qué tal si se instala un interruptor de luz y un tomacorriente? La empleada era notificada a través de una lámpara conectada a un tomacorriente que se activaba mediante un interruptor de luz en la estación de trabajo central.
Contacte a JAN para obtener asistencia técnica acerca de todo tipo de acomodaciones -incluidas las soluciones de bajo costo. Estilo casero o gourmet…