What Are the JAN Consultants Reading?

Posted by Kim Cordingly on April 29, 2013 under Accommodations, Blogging with JAN, Entrepreneurship / Self Employment, Organizations | Comments are off for this article

In what we hope will become a regular Blog feature, we’d like to share with you some of what the JAN consultants are currently reading. In our lives, we’re all so inundated with information – articles, books, reports, policy documents, and so on. Sometimes it’s helpful to hear what others find useful. In the field of disability, accommodation, and employment, our consultants read a wide variety of materials. We hope this will inspire you to check out what they find informative and inspiring.

Linda – Principal Consultant

If you work and also care for a family member who has a disability, you may wonder whether your employer has to provide you with the accommodations you need so you can care for your family member. JAN provides information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The ADA does not require employers to provide accommodations for employees who have family members with disabilities, but it does prohibit discrimination on the basis of such associations. This means, for example, if your employer grants schedule modifications to other employees for child care, then it would probably be discriminatory not to grant you a schedule modification so you can care for a family member with a disability. This is referred to as the “Association Provision” of the ADA.

I find the following document particularly helpful on this topic and refer JAN’s customers to it:

Also, there may be other laws that provide you with rights related to caring for a family member with a disability. As a starting point, see:

If you would like to share your experience with working and caring for a family member with a disability, feel free to do so here.

Daniel – Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team

I recently read an article published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy entitled “Separating Hoarding from OCD.” I discovered this article as part of my research for a piece I’m writing for JAN about hoarding in the workplace. The article does a great job of explaining the current confusion over what excessive hoarding is exactly, and the reasons why it should not be lumped in with OCD. Here are some of the differences between hoarding and OCD identified in the article:

  • There are more than five times as many excessive hoarders as individuals with OCD.
  • Not everyone with OCD engages in excessive hoarding. It is estimated that between 11% and 33% of individuals with OCD are also excessive hoarders.
  • Individuals with OCD often have “insight” into their condition, recognizing that their behavior is irrational and problematic while excessive hoarders usually do not.
  • Excessive hoarding is unresponsive to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and medications that are often effective in the treatment of OCD.

For more information about this article see:

Beth – Principal Consultant

I recently read Michael Hingson’s Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero.

This New York Times best-seller by Michael Hingson tells the true story of how he and his guide dog Roselle survived 9/11. Blind since birth, Michael is an inspirational speaker who lost Roselle in 2011, but shares his fond memories with readers. The book tells the engaging story of how Roselle saved the lives of Michael and many others who were in the World Trade Center on that fateful day.

Look here for more information on Michael Hingson and his book.

Teresa – Senior Consultant on the Sensory Team

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month so in preparation, I’m re-reading an old favorite by West Virginia University’s own Ken St. Louis entitled Living with Stuttering: Stories, Basics, Resources, and Hope. The book discusses, “the current explanations and treatments for stuttering while recognizing that the different ways in which stutterers are affected go deeper than their struggles with fluency; the effects are as diverse as the vast stuttering population itself.”

For more information see:

Anne – Co-Director

Maybe it’s because my youngest is graduating from high school this month and will be off to college soon, but I’ve been reading a good bit about the aging workforce. One very interesting piece was recently released by ODEP’s NTAR Leadership Center entitled The Aging Workforce: The Role of Medical Professionals in Helping Older Workers and Workers with Disabilities to Stay at Work or Return to Work and Remain Employed by Maria Heidkamp and Jennifer Christain, MD, MPH. The report was the outgrowth of a one-day roundtable event in 2012 — convened to explore the relationship among, “medical professionals, employers, and the public workforce and vocational rehabilitation systems in terms of their current and desired roles in preventing work disability, with ‘disability’ in this context defined as the absence from work due to a medical condition.”

JAN has a couple of documents on the Website that may be of interest to those interested in this topic as well.

Tracie – Lead Consultant

JAN receives many inquiries from employers and employees who have questions related to the ADA and performance and conduct standards. In some cases, an individual’s disability may contribute to performance or conduct issues. JAN offers information to help people understand how the ADA applies to these sometimes complicated employment situations. My go-to resource on the topic is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on this topic — The Americans with Disabilities Act: Applying Performance and Conduct Standards to Employees with Disabilities.

Melanie – Senior Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team

I’ve been working on gathering and assimilating information and accommodation ideas on executive functioning for an upcoming JAN Webcast. Executive functioning involves abilities such as planning, organizing, managing time, paying attention, and remembering details. One book I’ve been reading that has been particularly helpful is Dyslexia in the Workplace by Diana Bartlett and Sylvia Moody.

Kim – Lead Consultant on the Self-Employment Team

I receive a number of inquiries from individuals with disabilities wanting to start craft, art, or handmade product related businesses. These skillfully produced creative items can include quilts, pottery, stained glass, photography, collage, jewelry, wind chimes, woodworking, and so on. In my research, I came across a book by Kari Chapin called The Handmade Marketplace – How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online. JAN’s customers frequently have questions about how to successfully market their products and use social media effectively. This book includes very useful information on both of these topics – presenting it in a very informative and accessible way.

JAN in the News – Private Sector Report from Our Neighbors to the North

Posted by Kim Cordingly on April 2, 2013 under Accommodations, JAN News | Comments are off for this article

Many of us are aware of the influence of JAN’s services in the United States, but our impact is at times international in scope. A recent Canadian Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities entitled Rethinking Disability in the Private Sector: We All Have Abilities. Some Are More Apparent Than Others (2013) highlights data from JAN’s publication Low Cost, High Impact (2012). The panel, commissioned by the Government of Canada, shares evidence gathered from both private sector companies as well as current research. The panel writes:

By connecting directly with employers, our panel set out to discover what can be done about the unemployment and under-employment of qualified people with disabilities in Canada. We explored the barriers – some physical and many attitudinal – but chose to focus on the positive. Our goal is to shine the light on best practices and successes among Canadian employers who have welcomed people with disabilities into their ranks. These examples can help us learn and do better.

In the section of the report seeking to dispel myths, JAN’s cost data on accommodating a person with a disability is highlighted. The myth cited is that the cost of accommodation for employers is prohibitive. The panel writes, “In a widely accepted study conducted by the U.S. Job Accommodation Network (JAN), workplace accommodations are shown to be low cost, with 57 percent of participants spending nothing at all. Of those accommodations that did have a cost, the typical one-time expenditure by employers was $500.” They also discuss additional data from the JAN study on the direct and indirect benefits to employers of making an accommodation.

You can view the entire report here:

Rethinking Disability in the Private Sector: We All Have Abilities. Some Are More Apparent Than Others
Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (2013)

JAN in the News – Telecommuting

Posted by Kim Cordingly on under JAN News | Comments are off for this article

The recent decision by Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end telecommuting work arrangements set off a prolific discussion regarding flexible work arrangements. From a variety of perspectives — HR professionals, women’s organizations, IT professionals, academics, telework advocates, corporate executives, and others have weighed in on this policy decision. But how does this type of policy shift potentially affect employees with disabilities? The article Telecommuting Cuts Across Gender, Generations by Kathy Gurchiek, currently on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Website, discusses this issue from a gender perspective, but also features JAN principal consultants Linda Batiste and Beth Loy talking specifically about the potential impact of policies like this on workers with disabilities.

You can access the article here:
Telecommuting Cuts Across Gender, Generations

JAN Blog: What Works for Me?

Posted by Kim Cordingly on under Accommodations, Blogging with JAN, What Works for Me | Comments are off for this article

What Works for Me?

The JAN Blog is an opportunity for you to share with others your workplace accommodation solutions. JAN receives over 45,000 contacts per year – conversations with all of you that help us better understand what’s working effectively in your workplaces. We have a great deal to learn from one another. We encourage you to share your experiences. Your accommodation success stories can benefit many others around the nation.

JAN Situations and Solutions

Last month, Melanie Whetzel, JAN’s senior consultant on the cognitive/neurological team, traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to present at the state APSE conference. Her presentation to nearly 125 participants focused on using JAN’s services and the accommodation process. According to Melanie, one of the best parts of traveling for JAN is meeting new people in locations throughout the United States. She commented, “These are people who are on the front lines of the employment scene — helping to prepare individuals with disabilities for employment, working with employers in the hiring process, and determining accommodations that will assist the employees in effectively doing their jobs.”

Many of the conference participants were interested in real accommodation situations fielded by JAN consultants. Here’s a JAN situation and solution discussed by Melanie at the APSE conference:

Situation: A retail employee with an intellectual disability had difficulty remembering when to take his breaks and lunch, and when to return to the sales floor.

Solution: Using a programmable watch, his job coach helped him set the times for his lunch and breaks, and when it was time to return to work. The watch was set to vibrate so the employee knew exactly when it was time to leave for breaks and lunch and when to return to the sales floor.

Man pointing at watch

For information on APSE — Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst — see APSE’s Website