Common Problems and Easy Solutions in...

Common Problems and Easy Solutions in the Workplace for People with LD

by National Center for Learning Disabilities
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

Possible accommodations:

  • 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.

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