One thing I kind of dislike is how a lot of resources paint workplace accommodations as something the workplace gives 100% in. Which is kind of true but kind of not.
Allow me to explain what I’m talking about: Just because my workplace is asthma accommodating and (I’ve found out over time since they recognized me as autistic before I recognized myself as it) autism accommodating doesn’t mean that they do all the accommodations.
I work with coworkers who have disabilities of their own. Something like 14% of Canadians have disabilities, so it’s not too surprising that I work with a couple who have them. I provide accommodations for dyslexia (I read to a coworker and type for her sometimes) and arthritis (I cart stuff up and down the stairs so my coworker doesn’t have to, do heavy lifting, etc).
So accommodation is less “Them providing 100%” and more “a formal way for everyone to be safe in playing to their strengths.” Proper workplace accommodation is, to me, just an extension of a healthy working environment.
Frankly, I kind of hate the word “accommodations”, even though that is what it comes down to. Because when you’re neurotypical, it’s called “investing in your employees” so they become more productive and make the company more money. For example by letting them do a management course or a computer class. I would argue that “investing in me” by relatively small adjustments in attitudes and work environment, which don’t even have to cost a single penny, makes me become more productive and allows me to make the company more money as well. When I call it accommodations, employers get this kneejerk response of “we don’t have the money for that.”
That’s actually exactly what I was getting at. Accommodations is giving all employees the tools needed to do their best, rather than just currently-able-bodied neurotypical ones.
Benefits are twofold: One, accommodation makes stuff easier for everyone (one good example I saw discussed how wheelchair ramps on sidewalks make it easier for people carting groceries or heavy luggage. Another example is that closed captioning on educational video makes things easier for those who are visual learners). Two, accommodation makes it possible to get the best people for the task at hand.
Just sitting here nodding my head at everything you’re saying.
Thank you for this post. With one of my previous jobs I blamed myself 100% when it didn’t work out. But I think it was really a mix of the environment not fitting me at all and me not yet understanding at the time what I needed to do a task.