Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), companies with 15 or more employees must make reasonable accommodations to ensure any employee with a disability can succeed.
Companies are sometimes concerned about hiring people with disabilities because they fear the cost required for these accommodations. And in fact, shortly after the ADA became law in 1990, companies employed fewer disabled people than before the law. That number has since bounced up, demonstrating that companies can be scared of accommodations and job protections.
There’s no need.
And while accommodations for someone in a wheelchair can seem quite obvious, accommodations for neurodivergent employees can seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. I spoke with Anthony Pacilio, VP of Neurodiverse Solutions at CAI Neurodiverse Solutions. Pacilio is neurodiverse and has experience not only creating solutions but using them himself.
Pacilio gave me ten inexpensive ways to help your employees (or yourself!) succeed.
To keep reading, click here: 10 Inexpensive Ways to Help Neurodivergent Employees Succeed
7 thoughts on “10 Inexpensive Ways to Help Neurodivergent Employees Succeed”
Good ideas, and things most of us wouldn’t even realize might be helpful.
It’s important to LISTEN to the employee when they tell you what they need. Don’t try to guess or minimize the issue—disabled people know what they can and cannot do. If a particular task is not essential to their work or if part of it is difficult but they can do another part, you can divide it up. Example: if your employee has a learning disability and has trouble with spreadsheet formulas, have someone else set the spreadsheet up and they can do the data entry.
And be willing to hire us. We can succeed if we’re given a chance and the tools to do so.
I don’t want to detract from the importance of the topic, however, even neurotypical employees have these same needs and it should not assumed they are neurodivergent because of it, which I have witnessed first hand.
– Noise canceling headphones. Pretty much everyone in open office environments use them. It’s not a learning disability, it’s simply because they cannot hear otherwise.
– Desk placement. Desks placed next to bathrooms, printers and break rooms will always be distracting. There should be no desks placed in these areas.
– Traffic patterns. Pathways that cut down the center of the office will be busier than those on the perimeter. Spend a few extra dollars and invest in higher cube walls in these areas.
– Rearview mirrors. It is an innate human instinct to not want to be creeped up on from behind. It goes back to the caveman days. There is nothing wrong with you. Evolution takes millions of years.
– Talk and listen. This applies to everyone. If dozens of employees are consistently complaining about the same thing, maybe they don’t all have disorders. Maybe the problem is your office design.
I still remember when I told my boss that I could not work with my back to the opening of my cubicle or to the main door (after we moved spaces), and he said, “Why? Do you have trust issues?” I was floored, partly because I actually didn’t trust him (he was a bit of a creeper) and partly because he was always combative about anything that was outside his own experience.
So all of these symptoms are my Iife for my whole career. I can get accommodations for this? I think this is 90% of my co workers too confused.
Decision makers in organizations typically have private offices so they are completely oblivious to what seems like common sense to us. They don’t want to admit their $$$ thousand dollar open office is a disaster so the new approach is just to lump everyone into special needs. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just a human. Maybe in a thousand years we will evolve to have no ears and a single eye on our forehead to accommodate the open office.
I may have missed it in the article, my apologies if I did.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) https://askjan.org/ has information on a wide variety of possible accommodations for a wide variety of needs.
From the website: JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy/ODEP (#OD-38028-22-75-4-54). Its development has been achieved through the collaborative efforts of ODEP, West Virginia University, and private industry throughout North America
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