Accommodation Ideas for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / Lou Gehrig's Disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. From: http://www.alsa.org
Accommodation ideas for individuals with ALS may include:
- Muscle weakness in hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech, swallowing, or breathing: An individual with ALS may benefit from a flexible work schedule, liberal use of leave time, being allowed to work from home, elimination of physical exertion and workplace stress, scheduled rest breaks away from the workstation, and ergonomic workstation design, including ergonomic seating and forearm supports.
- Twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet: Ergonomic equipment, foot rests, and heated clothing and heaters are useful for controlling stationary postures and cold work areas. For computer access, speech recognition, alternative input devices, one-handed keyboards, alternative keyboards, expanded keyboards, and miniature keyboards can help.
- Impairment of the use of the arms and legs: A wheelchair or scooter may accommodate individuals who have difficulty moving around a workplace. Adjustable workstations also help individuals convert standing areas to sitting workstations. For building access, accessible parking, ramps, stair and chair lifts, and elevators are helpful. Implementing appropriate emergency evacuation procedures may also be a benefit.
- "Thick speech" and difficulty in projecting the voice in more advanced stages: An individual with ALS who has difficulty with speech may be accommodated by typing information into the computer and using speech output (screen reading software), using voice amplification, or a communication aid.
- Dealing with workplace stress: An individual with ALS may benefit from reduction or elimination of stress in the current position, transfer to a less stressful position, flexible schedule to recover from any effects caused by workplace stress, and work at home to avoid workplace stress.