Having access to reasonable accommodations at work is the law, not a merely an employer courtesy. To obtain the needed accommodations, however, one must disclose their accommodation needs and be prepared to provided documentation if requested. Therefore, knowing your needs and being able to communicate about them is very important.
The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canada Human Rights Act are an important pieces of legislation that stipulate that employers must provide reasonable accommodations that respect the dignity of the person with a disability, but do not cause undue hardship to the employer. Failure to accommodate can result in complaints being filed with the Human Rights Commission. This process can be lengthy however, so whenever possible it is best to try to negotiate to meet one’s needs, rather than move too quickly to the legislative complaint process.
York University graduates with LDs have entered successfully a variety of professional, managerial, and technical occupations with minimal accommodations. The booklet Secrets for Success profiles the stories of 10 York University graduates with LDs. The jobs they entered include: Lawyer, Computer Support Analyst, Recreational Therapist, Correctional Office, Marketing Representative, Equity Consultant, Stock Analyst Policy Analyst, Technical Writer, and Teacher. All of these graduates profiled in this booklet were told they would not be able to achieve their career goals with minimal accommodations. Most were told they would not succeed at university, yet all were able to overcome these negative predictions to achieve career success by developing their own unique ways of coping and accommodating. Most found that completing tasks at work were actually easier than completing school tasks.
Knowing how you work efficiently provides the secret to what accommodations are going to be most effective for you. Understanding your LDs is a critical component of this self-awareness. Your LDS advisor can assist you in identifying what school and work accommodations might be most effective for your unique set of learning strengths and weaknesses.
Work accommodations vary between people with LDs. Many accommodations are simple and easy to access. Others may be more complex and require some training or work negotiation.
- Access to Computers
- Flexible work schedules
- Assistive Technology such as voice dictation and text to speech
- Reading pens and reading software
- Job sharing
- Taking extra time
- Finding quieter work space
- Hand held computer organizers
- Tape recorders
- Job coach or mentor
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
This is an American information network and consulting resource which was designed to help employers and job seekers with disabilities identify suitable workplace accommodations. JAN helps to identify suitable methods and equipment that have proven effective for assimilating those with disabilities in the workplace. Although this is an American site, it contains a wealth of useful information.
Work Accommodations for People with Learning Disabilities
The Job Accommodation network website includes examples of common accommodations used by workers with LDs. Accommodation options are categorized
by such commonly experienced difficulties of workers with LDs such as: reading, writing, mathematics, communicating with others, time management and organization
Case examples featuring work accommodations used by people with LDs in different occupations are also provided on the Job Accommodation Network website.
The Job Accommodation Service (JAS)
JAS provides Canadians with disabilities with free information and advice about job accommodations. JAS also has a toll-free number: 1-800-664-0925.
Financial Support to Obtain Work Accommodations
The Ontario Disability Support Program – Employment Support Program can assist people with learning disabilities plan or prepare for work or job training. It can also be used to provide persons with learning disabilities with technical aids, job coaches, or other work related accommodations. Applications can be found on-line.