Authors: Special Education Law Blog
As advocates, our goal is to prepare our children with special needs for further education, employment, and independent living. For many of our students, successful employment may be contingent upon implementation of workplace accommodations. But how do we know which accommodations will be helpful, or even what they are?
Fortunately, we have tools to help us through the process. An excellent website I recommend to clients is the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Its primary topics of Disabilities, Limitations, and Work-related functions are paired with a staggering array of potential workplace accommodations.
We have all complained about schools offering cookie-cutter accommodations by disability category; thus, we must not repeat this error in requesting job-related accommodations. Not every student with ADHD requires the same seating preferences as the other; not every student with a hearing impairment requires hearing FM systems, etc. So how do we avoid this trap? By skillful use of data collection in our students’ transition plans. Once our students begin their vocational experience—be it in the school cafeteria, retail store, or other location—we need to consider what accommodations may be necessary for them to be successful and document what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t work, to help them achieve their transition-related goals. Once the student graduates and is ready to enter the workforce, he or she can assert with confidence what will be beneficial for successful employment.