What accommodations are available in the workplace?
There are a number of regulations and policies implemented in the workplace to ensure people with learning disabilities are accounted for. For example, The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that employers make suitable adjustments to allow everyone to work at their highest standard. These accommodations will be relative to the specific requirements of the individual. For example, you might receive more frequent feedback, modified training programs, or a different work schedule. The crucial factor is that these considerations are tailored to the individual’s needs in order to maximize their success at work. Learning disabilities need not be a hindrance to productivity..
Furthermore, the US federal government has initiated a set of policies which support the wellbeing of workers with disabilities. Benefits of these regulations include:
Using your strengths
Learning disabilities often endow people with certain characteristics that make them highly suited to particular roles. Whilst the degree and type of learning disability may vary greatly from person to person, what they have in common is an ability to excel greatly in certain areas. They can display strengths at particular tasks that far exceed the competencies of people without learning disabilities. For example, people with autism are often highly-logical thinkers, that pay great attention to detail, and can find ways to solve problems in new and innovative ways. Therefore, they are well suited to jobs such as data officer or web developer, as these roles involve the use of set sequences and a strong attention to detail. But there are many other qualities which can be emphasized with a learning disability, such as creativity, resourcefulness and an ability to think outside the box. These unique strengths can make you an extremely valuable asset. The key is to find a job which requires these strengths and in this way your learning disability will give you an advantage at work rather than being an obstacle.
If you need help identifying your strengths, we offer a free Career Values Test which highlights the values that you deem significant and suggests jobs that align with those principles. Take the test at https://form.jotform.com/201132122008938
Finding the right job for you
Once you know where your strengths lie the next step is securing a job where those particular aptitudes are emphasized. As mentioned previously learning disabilities often mean individuals perform highly in certain areas, so you need to look for jobs which aligns with those particular skills. For example, competencies in mathematics would make someone an ideal candidate for a job in finance or insurance. Similarly, if you are good with computers you might consider a role in IT or web development. Having a learning disability does not mean one cannot have a prosperous and fulfilling career.
Questions to ask yourself when considering what job to pursue:
After answering these questions you can then start searching for various roles which align with these qualities. For instance, if you are passionate about animals then you could look at jobs involving animal care, say at a kennel or stables.
If you are unsure of what occupations your interests might lead to then you should use our Career Charts publication. With over 48 charts, you can explore a range of potential jobs and find the ones most suited to you. Visit our store here: https://usa.careerguidancecharts.com/store/p59/Career_Charts_Volume_One.html
Or if there are specific charts you would like to download you can use our Poster Picker tool, at https://usa.careerguidancecharts.com/digital-picker.html, to select the charts you want.
What industries can I enter into?
Job opportunities for people with learning disabilities are becoming increasingly available. Employment rate has increased from 33% in 2011 to 39% in 2020. This is partly due to increasing levels of awareness about disability and people opening up about their experiences, as well as government schemes put in place to reduce discrimination in the workplace. As such, you will likely be able to find work in a wide range of sectors. However, currently the industry with the largest share of disabled workers is the education and health services, employing 21.1% of all employed persons with a disability in the US. This is followed up by retail, which employs 13% of all employed persons with a disability. However jobs are not restricted to these areas and it is worth pursuing work in whichever industry plays to your strengths.
How to secure the job.
Routes into any sector will require you to first identify the industry best suited to you, and then find relevant training opportunities or qualifications. Many entry level jobs, such as bakery assistant or kitchen porter, may only require you to have basic skills and some experience. However, it is often worthwhile to look into further training or experience so that you can learn more about what the job will entail and decide if it is the right job for you.
Ways to prepare for work:
Is there help available for finding work?
It is important to know that there is support out there for those who need guidance during their job search. There is a number of state and federal agencies which providing training and financial resources, job coaching, CV building etc.
The best way to access these resources is to:
Another useful website is the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission page which contains an extensive list of helpful resources. Visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination to find out more.
Do I need to disclose my disability?
When applying for a job you are not obliged to disclose your disability, but it is important to note that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against you during the hiring process based on a disability. Furthermore, if they are aware of your disability they will be able to make sure any adjustments can be made at the interview and then in the job itself to accommodate for any requirements you might have.
https://www.dol.gov/general/audience/aud-unemployed - Services offered by the Department of Labor for job seekers, including information for those with disabilities.
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/ - US Office of Personnel Management, Federal Employment of People with Disabilities.
https://askjan.org/about-us/index.cfm – Free, expert guidance on disability employment.
http://www.pathways.dshs.wa.gov – Pathways to Employment
http://www.gettinghired.com/ - Employment opportunities with inclusive companies