Hi, everyone! This is Dr. Suzanne Kitchen, and I’m a senior consultant at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is the premiere nationwide accommodation consulting service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Over the years, I have talked to thousands of employers, rehabilitation professionals, educators, parents, and people with disabilities. Everyone is using JAN services to search for job accommodations to help workers with disabilities perform their jobs. Many times, those workers are young people with disabilities transitioning from school to work, be it a transition from high school or from college.
Young people with disabilities might need job accommodations to help perform their job duties, or to meet performance or conduct standards of employment. I’m going to provide a few simple tips to help make the accommodation process very easy, which in turn, will make transition a bit easier, too.
First, disclose the disability. Young people with disabilities can choose when and how to tell the employer about the disability. The best reason to disclose is to secure job accommodations. Disclosure can be done verbally or in writing.
Second, provide “documentation of disability”, which is a document that explains the disability. This document might come from the school recently attended, or from a healthcare professional who treats/manages the person’s disability. Quickly providing documentation of disability will speed up the accommodation process.
Next, ask for accommodations known to work! Used extra time taking tests in school? Assignments provided in alternative text? Used technology to help complete assignments? These classroom accommodations could be provided in the workplace, too! To keep the accommodation process moving quickly, remember the technology used in the past, or be prepared to explain how accommodations were used, and why those were successful.
Lastly, reach out to JAN for new accommodation ideas. JAN’s service is free, and confidential! Anyone can call JAN, engage in real-time chat, or email questions about accommodations. JAN will help identify more solutions! Any disability — any job. You can reach JAN at 1-800-526-7234 (voice); 1-877-781-9403 (tty); on the Web at AskJAN.org; and through social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life.
Transition from school to work can be a complicated activity, but the job accommodation process can be simplified, especially if using JAN to supply good accommodation ideas. Use our service. You’ll be pleased!
Dr. Suzanne Kitchen is a senior consultant at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)