Helping At Work
Coping with LDs at work involves the use of compensatory strategies as well.
First of all, it is important to find a job that fits with your strengths. Working in a job where you run into your weak areas most of every day is possible, but it will always be a struggle. One of the advantages of completing school is being able (within limits of course) to avoid the areas that cause you the most trouble. The program Job-Fit was developed to help people with LDs figure out what type of job would work best for them. Select this link to read more about Job-Fit.
Just as in school, you can figure out what strategies work best for you in order to compensate for your weak areas. Sometimes the strategies you used in school are useful at work as well, but you might also need to develop some new ones. For this you might need to get help from a workplace counselor or other professional who understands LDs.
You are entitled to accommodations in the workplace for your LDs, as long as the accommodations allow you to do the job effectively, and they don’t cost the company so much that they affect its survival (or health and safety). This is called ‘undue hardship’ under the Human Rights Code. Most accommodations for LDs are not that expensive.
In order to access workplace accommodations, you are required to inform your employer of your needs and cooperate in obtaining any necessary professional advice. This is called disclosure, and it is a difficult issue. Some people with LDs prefer to informally explain what things help them to be a more effective worker, e.g “I work best in a quiet environment” or “I can remember instructions better if they are written down”. If supervisors or co-workers are not cooperating, however, it might be necessary to disclose. Your can read more about disclosure and possible workplace accommodations in the following articles.
Whether or not you disclose your LDs at work, it is very important that you understand your strengths and needs, and that you can explain these to others. You might want to practice this with someone you trust.