Choosing How to Disclose Your Disability in the Workplace: SODAS Method

In a previous blog we defined full disclosure of your disability, and accommodations. Often times individuals will have more than one disability, but only one of them may be a concern in the workplace. What I mean by this is that one disability may stay hidden while the other one is visible.

SODAS Method Choosing Disclosure

As I have worked through the disclosure process with my clients, they frequently only want to let one disability be known. To work through this we often use the SODAS method, which stands for: Situation Options Disadvantages Advantages and Solution.

The following is an example of the SODAS method:

Situation: I have more than one disability and don’t know if I should disclose all, one, or none

Options: 1) Full Disclosure 2)Partial Disclosure 3) Non-Disclosure

First you list the disadvantages to each of the options.

Disadvantages:

  1. Full Disclosure – I may get made fun of, or discriminated against
  2. Partial Disclosure – They won’t be aware of my other disabilities that may affect my work
  3. Non-Disclosure – I will have no additional support

Next list the advantages to each of the options.

What Kind of Job Should you Choose Based on Your Learning Type?

As important as it is to understand your learning type, it is also important to know what different types of job you may do well at if you are unsure where to start looking. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and their experiences are not the same. This is not an inclusive list, and is written specifically for individuals with Aspergers/HFA.

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It is also very important to know that just because you have an interest in a certain area does not mean there is an economy where you live to support it. I would also suggest doing research about the city you live in and the outlook for that type of job.

In November 1999 Temple Grandin wrote a short essay on choosing the right job. Here is a part of the essay:

“Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people. I have great difficulty with tasks that put high demands on short-term working memory.”

Full Disclosure and Accommodations in the Workplace with Aspergers

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.

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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.

An Inventory Assessment for Your Personal Preferences in the Workplace

In a previous post we briefly discussed the importance of the inventory assessment in securing employment. This inventory also helps employment specialists identify an individual’s personal preferences.39551a62-167a-484b-8088-ab65b3de67e9

As you know, Aspergers manifests itself uniquely to each person, so employment specialists have to know which types of stimuli will be helpful, and which will be hurtful.

Is the individual sensitive to noise? Are they comfortable working outdoors? Can they tolerate working in a closed space for an eight-hour shift? What are their social tolerances? Essentially, we need to understand if an individual is hypo-sensitive or hypersensitive. Knowing the answers to these questions in advance help to ensure future success.

The Hidden Job Market

Aspergers Employment

Do you know the difference between the hidden job market versus the advertised job market?

People at Work

The majority of individuals are unaware that a hidden job market exists. The hidden job market includes jobs that are not formally announced on the Internet, the companies website or even by a “now hiring” sign. The hidden job market is often used by the employer to hire someone within their network or their associate’s networks. According to statistics, 80 percent of all jobs are never advertised(Uncovering the hidden job market by Martin Lieberman)

So how does this affect individuals with Asperger’s/HFA?

Job Fairs

Job fairs: This can be very daunting for anyone at any stage in the job search, but job fairs are a great way to get to see the companies in your area. You can see what positions are available without having to apply or call anyone, if you aren’t ready for that.

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As I have previously talked about, informational interviewing is a tool to use in order to get to know a company, and talk to individuals about how they have gotten to where they are. A job fair is one great way to attain that informational interview.

Ask Maggie: How Do I Find a Job?

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Q: How do I find a job?

To be honest, starting a job is not always as easy as it sounds. When my clients with HFA/Asperger’s are trying to start a job it is very important that we go about it the right way, which may take longer, but ensures stability in the workplace. In older posts I have discussed work assessments, and I still believe they are a wonderful tool for learning what environments you will do best in. I highly recommend using work assessments. The same outcome could be achieved through volunteering as well.

If work assessments can’t be completed, then here is what I suggest:

Should You Disclose Your Diagnosis?

One of the most common concerns when working towards employment, interviewing and accepting an offer is the decision to disclose your disability or not. This a very personal decision, and one that you should feel comfortable with.

Many concerns the employment seeker has can include:

Will it affect how I am perceived at work?

Will others judge me?

Who do I disclose too?

When do I disclose?

In the next few entries I will discuss answers to the aforementioned questions. I will address the different types of disclosures – such as full disclosure, partial disclosure and not disclosing – as well as what to do after you answer yes to the question: “Can you do this job with or without a reasonable accommodation?”

By: Maggie Cromeens