Common Problems and Easy Solutions in the Workplace for People with LD
Here are some typical job problems which cause difficulty for people with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia. They are followed by possibilities for reasonable accommodations:
Job problem: You have severe difficulty reading.
- Ask someone to read to you.
- Have people read written notes on your voice mail.
- Request that your boss gives you oral rather than written instructions.
- Ask that important information be highlighted.Use a reading machine (like a reading pen).
- Get voice output on your work computer through “read aloud” software installed on your work computer.
- Have people talk to you instead of writing you letters.
Job problem: Your reading problem is not severe, but it is still hard for you to read large amounts of material.
- Attend briefings about the material.
- Discuss the material with co-workers.
- Obtain taped versions of documents.
- Ask someone to tell you the key points.
- Manage your work so that you have enough time to read what is required to get the job done.
- Get information from drawings, diagrams, and flow charts.
- Your supervisor, team members, or subordinates may be able to organize some information in this way.
- Use voice output on your computer through “read aloud” software installed on your work computer.
- Request shorter versions of documents.
Job problem: You lose things frequently.
- Organize your work area and keep it that way! Work with your supervisor and team to assure that common areas such as tool stations, files, and bookshelves stay neat.
- Put important objects, such as keys, in the same place each time you use them.
- Color code items.Keep things on shelves, bulletin boards, or other places that are visible; avoid storage in drawers or cupboards.
- Attach important objects to where they belong. For example, you might tie your scissors to a hook bolted on your desk, or place important documents on your bulletin board so they do not get lost.
Job problem: You have difficulty following spoken directions.
- Ask people to tell you important information slowly and clearly and in a quiet location.Ask people to write things down.
- Request that people follow-up their conversations with an email note.
- Ask people to demonstrate tasks, and then watch you do it.
- Take notes and ask your supervisor to review them, or write a memo that summarizes that information.
- Repeat instructions back to people, making sure they verify that your interpretation is correct.
- Tape-record important procedures and instructions so you can playback and review as needed.
- Ask several people for feedback on how to do a task.
Job problem: You have difficulty understanding the underlying message of what is said.
- Ask people to talk to you directly and to be specific in their message.
- Ask questions designed to draw out hidden meanings. For example: “Are you saying you disagree with me?” And, “It sounds like you are irritated because you think I did something wrong. Is that true?”
- Come up with a hypothesis about what a person meant, if you find yourself in a situation where you think there is a hidden meaning. Then discuss the interaction with others and study the surrounding events to assess your accuracy.
- Develop a relationship with someone who can let you know if a misunderstanding seems to have occurred. Either privately or within the conversation they can clarify the miscommunication.
Job Problem: You tend to forget deadlines.
- Obtain computer software that enables you to program reminders into your computer.
- Use a voice organizer, signal watch, or program your smartphone to remind you of scheduled events. Some telephone voice mail systems have scheduling reminders that ring at a specific time and even play a reminder message.
- Use a tickler file with a section for each month and a section for each day. Put follow-up notices in the file and review the file each day.
- Ask your supervisor to remind you of important deadlines or to review priorities and deadlines on a regular basis.