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Disability Disclosure

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Open about a Non-visible Disability

by David Smith, Career Development Coordinator CLE Davie

Wilson at CLE DavieNot all disabilities are visible, in fact most are not. So the question of disclosing one’s disability becomes an issue when you have a non-visible disability. This is especially true when looking to become employed. What, if anything, do I tell my employer? Our thoughts on this subject are guided by two basic principles:

  • You and only you have the right to disclose your disability.
  • If you want to receive any accommodations at work it helps if you first disclose.

We have been working on this for several months and there are some good materials out there for students. There is a worksheet activity, “Just what do you now about yourself and your disability?” (The 411 on Disability Disclosure, 1-5) When students filled this out they often have a hard time understanding and/or naming their disability. “They know they have one, but aren’t always sure what help they may need in managing their disability in the workplace.” –Brian, Career Coach

Employers may or may not be aware of the range of disabilities in the workplace and aren’t always sure how to accommodate them. There can be fear out there. Sometimes it is our job to educate employers on how simple and easy an accommodation can be.
–Pablo, Career Coach

When the students talked about the advantages and disadvantages of disclosure in the workplace they came up with this list.

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
You can ask for an accommodation You can be made fun of and shunned
You can be open and honest about who you are You may not get the job if they feel it is too much work
You get to know yourself better by going through the process of defining your strengths and weaknesses Co-workers can tease you
You can be accepted for who you are You could be rejected

This list shows that the most common pros and cons deal with acceptance or rejection.

 At ShopRite I told them I have a disability in that I have trouble with money. They accepted that I had a disability and were ok with it and they did not judge. When I asked for a coach they were fine with that.
– Evan

If you don’t disclose it, don’t expect to get the red carpet rolled out.
– Wilson

Disclosing a disability is a very personal decision. Someone could disclose in one environment and not another. It is a challenging decision for a person with a disability, one that should be given a lot of thought and consideration. There is no one right answer for this very individual choice, but there are resources that can help. Click for a link to the full guidebook The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities, as well as an informational video.

Newsletter Articles – October 2016

Follow along as Kati Strong takes us through a day as a CLE Job Coach.

National Disablility Employment Awareness Month

This month, I would like to open a discussion to our beloved CLE family about National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that celebrates the skills and diverse talents individuals with exceptionalities bring to the workplace. This is a time to rejoice in all that has been accomplished and to acknowledge how far we have come, but it is also a time to reflect on how far we still have to go. When I read the words Disability Employment Awareness Month, the two words that immediately stand out to me are Awareness and Ability. Awareness breeds understanding, and allows us the capability to see things through a new lens. This is precisely why this month is so important. It places the spotlight on the ability of our population.

CLE Denver - G with Paycheck

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average tenure of a young employee with a company is approximately 2 years. This current trend in workplace philosophy of the “grass is always greener” creates a common challenge for employers to obtain and retain reliable, long-term help. Employers are often left scrambling to hire new workers; meanwhile there is a large population of capable and willing employees that have not been fully tapped into.

Zach at CLE Rockville - mock interview

by Darchelle M. Garner and Ajeenah Watts, Career Development Tutors, CLE Rockville
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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.