Accommodation Ideas for Ataxia
Friedreich's, the best known inherited ataxia, and other cerebellar ataxias are impairments of the nervous system, most of which are inherited. They share many of the same symptoms, including unsteadiness and inability to co-ordinate movement. Friedreich`s Ataxia usually reveals itself in childhood while cerebellar ataxia is diagnosed more often in adults. A majority of individuals with ataxia use mobilitiy aids and have difficulty with their speech, although mental abilities are unaffected. Other ataxias are idiopathic, that is, they just occur.
Accommodation ideas for individuals with ataxia:
- Managing Fatigue: An individual with ataxia may benefit from a flexible work schedule, liberal use of leave time, being allowed to work from home, a reduction or elimination of physical exertion and workplace stress, scheduled rest breaks away from the workstation, and using ergonomic equipment to implement ergonomic workstation design.
- Difficulty Performing Activities of Daily Living: Eating aids, grooming aids, and other independent living aids may help.
- Difficulty with Speech: Provide voice amplification, speech enhancement, or other communication devices, using written communication (use of writing aids may help), such as e-mail or fax, transferring to a position that does not require a lot of communication, and allowing periodic rest breaks may be effective modifications for individuals who have difficulty speaking
- Problems using a Computer: Individuals with ataxia could benefit from keyguards and typing aids. Also, speech recognition, switches, and alternative input devices could be effective alternatives in some situations.
- Difficulty Standing and Walking: A wheelchair or scooter may accommodate these limitations when moving around a workplace. Stand/lean stools and adjustable workstations also help individuals convert standing areas to sitting workstations.
- Managing Depression: Developing workplace strategies to deal with work problems before they arise, providing sensitivity training to coworkers, allowing telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support, and easy access to information on counseling and employee assistance programs are beneficial.