Q: Should I tell my potential employer that I have Aspergers?
Oftentimes individuals that I am working with choose not to disclose their disability/ies because they feel that it will affect how others perceive them at work. While this is a legitimate concern, it is one that can be minimized with practice and self-confidence.
I tell individuals who are thinking about disclosing their disability to really focus on their capabilities or strengths, that which they can offer an employer that stands out above what they feel they lack. It is usually in the best interest to have some solutions in your mind for the accommodations that you will need while working.
It is important to be able to disclose in a way that the employer understands, and in a way that does not seem negative. There are different types of disclosures, such as full disclosure, partial disclosure, and not disclosing at all.
What I’d like to talk about now is full disclosure of your disability.
Full disclosure of your disability is telling an employer what your disability is, and what accommodations you might need in order to make you the most successful.
Accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act
An accommodation is an adjustment in the job or job duties that will allow you to work best. For example, if you are a kinesthetic learner and your training is all online, then a job coach can be considered an accommodation for the on-boarding, and training at a new job.
It is considered a reasonable accommodation that they have a job coach assist them through the paperwork and training modules to help get settled in and started. This can frequently ease the anxiety of starting a new job.
There is actually a law to make sure that you are able to receive the accommodations you need. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an accommodation is considered any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to apply for or perform a job.
The term also encompasses alterations to ensure a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. The obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees with disabilities is one of the key non-discrimination requirements in the ADA’s employment provisions.
For more details, go to: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/Accommodations.htm
Disclosing a disability is a very personal decision, and one that you must make for yourself. You can ask others for their input and their advice, but ultimately it is your decision and your right to disclose or not to disclose.
By Maggie Cromeens
Maggie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal and Fine Arts with a Major in Communication/Public Relations and a Minor in Non Profit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked for Compass Resource Group since 2011. She assists adults in Texas with disabilities in achieving their employment goals by providing training, job placement assistance, environmental work assessments, social skills training, and job coaching. She has been instrumental in shaping the services at Compass Resource Group to meet the needs of young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are transitioning from high school. She is a member of the DARS Statewide Developmental Disorders Team