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Communication at Work

Communicating Professionally about Your Disability at Work

  • Communicating Professionally about Your Disability at Work

    If you think that you may need some help with or changes to any of your work tasks on the job, then it is your responsibility to communicate with your manager about what you need. Communicating your needs in a professional way will help you be more likely to get the help you need to be successful at work.

    Below is a list of common job tasks for working in a Customer Service Job at an Electronics Store. Next to each job task is an example of a difficulty an employee might have and an example of an accommodation that would help. Links to different types of accommodations on the Job Accommodation Network website are given as examples.

    1) Use this list to think about accommodations you might need if you worked in this type of job.

    Job Task Employee Challenge Accommodation
    Communicating with customers Not able to communicate verbally A communication device or smartphone application to help the employee communicate (JAN)
    Remembering information about the products at the store so you can answer customer questions Has a difficult time remembering things A smartphone application where the employee can write notes about different items in the store (JAN)
    Knowing where different items in the store are located Has a difficult time with reading aisle numbers A color-coded picture map of the store with icons for where different items are located (JAN)
    Typing and using a computer to look up customer orders Has a hard time typing A computer or smartphone application which turns the employee’s speech into text (JAN)
    Lifting and carrying items for customers Is unable to lift items An electronic lifting device (JAN)
    Standing for 4-hour work shifts Cannot stand for long periods of time

    A wheelchair, or portable stool or chair for the employee to sit on


  • Be creative and think about what types of help, supports, or accommodations might help you handle those hard parts of the job. You can ask your instructor, a family member, or a friend to help you think of some solutions. Or check out the Job Accommodation Network website to help you brainstorm.
  • 4) How to Professionally Communicate What You Need Help with at Work

    Now that you’ve figured out what you might need help with on the job, you will need to communicate with your manager in a professional way about the accommodations and supports you may need. Here are some tips for what to say and how to say it:

    Bad Example:“Hey dude, so, I’m having a really hard time. My learning disability is really messing things up for me at work. I don’t think this is going to work out for me.”

    Good Example: “Hello (manager’s name), this is (your name). I hope you are doing well. I wanted to chat with you because sometimes I have been having a bit of trouble reading customers’ orders from the computer. It would really help me make less mistakes and do a better job if I am able to have a little extra time for my tasks that involve reading. Happy to talk more to figure out what will work best. Thank you. Sincerely, (your name).”

    Now it’s your turn to write what you would say!

    Professionally Communicating Work Needs:

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