Career Advice

Types of Accommodations in the Workplace

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations or modifications to your job for you if you request them (if it does not create an undue hardship for the business). ¬†Educating your employer about your disability, why you require accommodations, and how they can help will raise their understanding and sensitivity around issues you may be experiencing at work. Your supervisor is more likely to help you address workplace issues and implement solutions you propose if you show them that you’ve already thought of methods for improving circumstances.

Accommodations can be categorized into 3 levels: no tech, low tech, and high tech. Fortunately, most job accommodations can be accomplished through no- or low-tech solutions.


Types of accommodations include:


Accessible and Assistive Technologies


  • Text-to-speech software
  • Modification or provision of special equipment/devices,
  • Provision of recording devices and the ability to record meetings


Accessible Communications


  • Sign language interpreters or closed captioning at work-sponsored events
  • Providing Braille/large print texts
  • The availability of a communication access provider, assistant, or job coach to provide tailored on-the-job instruction


Policy Enhancements


  • Allowing service animals inside buildings
  • Work schedule adjustments or flexibility
  • Extra training
  • Allowances to utilize public transportation for work-related trips
  • Ability to wear sunglasses, hoodies, and/or noise-canceling headphones in the work environment


Job Restructuring


  • Allowances to work from home
  • Communicate instructions through email rather than verbal instruction
  • Reorganized responsibilities


Physical Modifications


  • Changing workspace layout
  • Installing ramps


If you have trouble keeping track of everything you need to do at once because of difficulties with working memory, you may benefit from using assistive technology. To help you keep organized, use a smartphone app or a computer tool that can generate visual mind maps or other note-keeping capabilities.

Take the time to learn about resources that can help you self-regulate when you’re experiencing sensory overload. Talk to your manager about finding the resources you need to stay regulated if you think an accommodation may make the difference between thriving and faltering on the job. Adjust your surroundings to better manage obstacles, such as sensory impairments, organizational concerns, and deficiencies in executive functioning abilities.

You are not required by the ADA to disclose your disability to an employer to obtain an accommodation. However, you should inform your employer about your disability if you need to discuss an exemption or request adjustments to your working conditions. Specify all modifications you will need and explain why they are necessary considering your ongoing health situation. You have a right to be treated fairly regardless of the nature of your disability or the assistance you may require.

Educating your employer regarding your disability, the reasons you may need accommodations, and the ways in which they can help can increase their awareness and empathy regarding any accommodations you might need. If you bring up concerns you’re having at work and offer your own suggestions for fixing them, your supervisor will probably be willing to assist you to make those adjustments.