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Muscular Dystrophy

Accommodation and Compliance: Muscular Dystrophy

About Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of genetic diseases marked by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal, or voluntary, muscles, which control movement. The muscles of the heart and some other involuntary muscles are also affected in some forms of muscular dystrophy, and a few forms involve other organs as well. The major forms of muscular dystrophy are myotonic, Duchenne, Becker, limb-girdle, facioscapulohumeral, congenital, oculopharyngeal, distal, and Emery-Dreifuss. All forms of muscular dystrophy are caused by gene defects. Individuals with muscular dystrophy usually exhibit contractures, a condition often associated with shortened muscles around the joints. Due to the abnormal and sometimes painful positioning of the joints, most individuals have extreme fatigue and weakness as well as speech, mobility, and fine motor limitations. In addition, scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is common). Muscular dystrophy is generally inherited but in some cases no family history of the disease may exist. It can affect people of all ages. While some forms first become apparent in infancy or childhood, others may not appear until middle age or later.

Muscular Dystrophy and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Muscular Dystrophy

People with muscular dystrophy may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with muscular dystrophy will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

Events Regarding Muscular Dystrophy