Types of Accommodations: Assistive Technology, PAS, Telework, Other

Virtual exclusion and telework: Barriers and opportunities of technocentric workplace accommodation policy

Baker, P. M. A., Moon, N. W., & Ward, A. C. (2006). "Virtual exclusion and telework: Barriers and opportunities of technocentric workplace accommodation policy." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 421-430.

Teleworking, a restructuring of the manner in which work occurs, based on information communication technologies (ICTs), is a promising way of further integrating people with disabilities into the workplace. In contrast to telecommuting, in which the work is primarily shifted in locale, telework is a restructuring of the tasks to be accomplished within the larger work setting which could result in "work" being done remotely, or collaboratively with coworkers (remotely or not) using ICTs. Drawing upon a review of the literature, this paper explores the relationship between telework and people with disabilities. While the advent of telecommuting and subsequently "teleworking" might open increased opportunities for the hiring of people with disabilities, it may also place severe constraints on the type of work, workplace environment and interactions, and accumulation of social capital for people with disabilities. Whereas much of the prevailing literature on telework and disability is often proscriptive in nature and is written with an audience of employers in mind, it is just as important to consider policy options from the standpoint of the employee as well. This paper proposes a number of policy approaches for the creation of an inclusive work environment for teleworkers with disabilities that can minimize, as much as possible, the social isolation faced by teleworkers with disabilities while maximizing their participation within the workplace community. Policy objectives for enhancing telework for people with disabilities fall into three general categories: 1) research, 2) outreach, and 3) interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Research and case study findings in the area of workplace accommodations including provisions for assistive technology

Butterfield, T. M., & Ramseur, J. H. (2004). "Research and case study findings in the area of workplace accommodations including provisions for assistive technology: A literature review." Technology & Disability, 16(4): 201-210.

People with disabilities work in a variety of environments and accommodations in these environments enable them to enter and remain in the workplace. A literature review was conducted looking at workplace accommodations including provisions for assistive technology and the following themes in accommodation were identified: 1) types of accommodations recommended, 2) people receiving provisions for accommodation, and 3) methods of reporting accommodation in the literature. Computer technologies for people with musculoskeletal limitations were the most prevalent provisions reported. Multi subject studies tend to focus on general themes of workplace accommodations, however the specific barriers and solutions found in case studies is important to clinicians and developers of new technologies. A need exists to identify themes of specific barriers to job placement along with the associated facilitators that contribute to successful employment for individuals with disabilities so workplace accommodations priorities for future projects addressing job outcomes for people with disabilities can be determined.

Requests by persons with visual impairment for large-print accommodations

Frank, J. J. (2000). "Requests by persons with visual impairment for large-print accommodations." Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 94(11): 716-719.

A study investigated the experiences of 14 people with visual impairments in attempting to exercise their civil rights to equal access to print. Results found they experienced long waits for large-print accommodations, negative reactions to requests, a lack of quality in the materials, and misinformation about accommodations.

Assistive technology: Choosing the right tool for the right job

Gamble, M. J., Dowler, D. L., & Orslene, L. E. (2006). "Assistive technology: Choosing the right tool for the right job." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 24(2): 73-80.

Rehabilitation professionals are often required to make decisions about the benefits of using assistive technology in the workplace. Knowledge of current resources and a systematic process for identifying and selecting AT increase the likelihood of successful consumer outcomes. Increased access to assistive technology has opened employment opportunities for many individuals with disabilities, but barriers to successful accommodation include inappropriate selection of AT and discontinuance of the implemented technology. This article presents a review of relevant literature on the use of workplace AT and describes a model for selecting appropriate assistive technology.

Findings from a national survey of job coaches and job developers about job accommodations arranged between employers and people with psychiatric disabilities

Granger, B., Baron, R., & Robinson, S. (1997). "Findings from a national survey of job coaches and job developers about job accommodations arranged between employers and people with psychiatric disabilities." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 9(3): 235-251.

Describes the method and results of a mailed survey completed by 194 job coaches and job developers who serve people with psychiatric disabilities. Job accommodations used most frequently include use of the job coach in facilitating communications, phone access to the job coach, use of positive feedback, option for part-time work and gradual task introduction. Costs for job accommodations for people with psychiatric disabilities are low. Disclosure takes place more often before the job offer where job coaches are involved. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

A framework for providing telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation: Some considerations on a comparative case study

Kaplan, S., Weiss, S., Moon, N. W., & Baker, P. (2006). "A framework for providing telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation: Some considerations on a comparative case study." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 431-440.

Telecommuting, whether full time, part time, or over short periods when the need arises, can be an important accommodation for employees with disabilities. Indeed, telecommuting may be the only form of accommodation that offers employees whose disabilities fluctuate a means to stay consistently and gainfully employed. This article describes one employer's experience in considering a request for telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation for a particular employee. Drawing on real-life examples, both positive and negative, this article provides a win/win framework for decision-making that can help employers evaluate the use of telecommuting as a possible accommodation and facilitates open and ongoing communication between employer and employee.

An investigation of reasonable workplace accommodations for people with psychiatric disabilities: Quantitative findings from a multi-site study

MacDonald-Wilson, K. L., Rogers, E. S., Massaro, J. M., Lyass, A., & Crean, T. (2002). "An investigation of reasonable workplace accommodations for people with psychiatric disabilities: Quantitative findings from a multi-site study." Community Mental Health Journal, 38(1): 35-50.

Despite the requirement of many employers to provide accommodations in the workplace for individuals with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 19673, the preponderance of accommodations that have been described in the literature concern physical rather than psychiatric disabilities. This study was an exploratory, descriptive, longitudinal, multi-site investigation of reasonable workplace accommodations for individuals with psychiatric disabilities involved in supported employment programs. We discuss the functional limitations and reasonable accommodations provided to 196 participants and the characteristics of 204 employers and 22 service provider organizations participating in the study. Implications for service providers and administrators in supported employment programs are discussed.

Identifying relationships between functional limitations, job accommodations, and demographic characteristics of persons with psychiatric disabilities

MacDonald-Wilson, K. L., Rogers, E. S., & Massaro, J. (2003). "Identifying relationships between functional limitations, job accommodations, and demographic characteristics of persons with psychiatric disabilities." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 18(1): 15-24.

Years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, little empirical information exists about the relationship between the functional limitations experienced by individuals with psychiatric disabilities, and related reasonable accommodations provided on the job. A multi-site, longitudinal study was conducted with 191 employees in 22 supported employment programs across 3 states during a 1-year study period. Data were gathered prospectively in a structured, narrative form designed to describe both the functional limitations and accommodations of participants. The most frequent functional limitations among this group of employed persons with psychiatric disabilities were cognitive in nature, followed by social, physical, and emotional/other. There was a significant relationship between the type of functional limitation and the number and type of accommodations received. There was a marginally significant relationship between type of functional limitation and a diagnosis of schizophrenia. There were no significant relationships between any other clinical or demographic factors, functional limitations or reasonable accommodations. Cognitive limitations were the most prevalent in this sample and the best predictor of the number of accommodations provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

Achieving greater independence through assistive technology, job accommodation and supported employment

Schneider, M. (1999). "Achieving greater independence through assistive technology, job accommodation and supported employment." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 12(3): 159-164.

Gives a wider definition of the term assistive technology and an overview of the use of possible technology services and devices in different areas. A guideline describes the issues which should be considered before carrying out particular measures. Case examples of employees with disabilities illustrate how assistive technology has been effectively involved in placements. Empirical data and findings from a 3-yr evaluation of 7 supported employment agencies in a German region show how often and in which manner the adaptation of the workplace and assistive technology were used. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Personal assistance services as a workplace accommodation

Stoddard, S. (2006). "Personal assistance services as a workplace accommodation." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 363-369.

This paper describes current US trends and practices regarding workplace personal assistance services (PAS) as part of available work accommodation options. Workplace PAS include task-related assistance at work, such as readers, interpreters, help with lifting or reaching, re-assignment of non-essential duties to co-workers, and other help related to performing work tasks; and personal care-related assistance such as helping someone with using the rest room, eating, or drinking while at work. The results reported here are based on forty-one telephone interviews conducted in 2004, which included 20 workplace PAS users and 21 US employers familiar with workplace accommodations. Employers and consumers described a range of workplace personal assistance currently used. Barriers to expansion of workplace PAS include negative co-worker or supervisor attitude, cost to employers and workers, waiting time for accommodations, employee attitude and knowledge, and confusing terminology. Development of organizational culture that encourages employment of people with disabilities and developing employer-employee partnerships in arranging for accommodations can contribute to workplace PAS solutions. The survey findings contribute to better understanding of current practices related to workplace PAS.

Arranging for personal assistance services and assistive technology at work: A report of the rehabilitation research and training center on personal assistance services

Stoddard, S., & Kraus, L. (2006). "Arranging for personal assistance services and assistive technology at work: A report of the rehabilitation research and training center on personal assistance services." Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 1(1-2): 89-95.

For an employee with a disability, reasonable accommodation can make the difference in finding work, maintaining employment, and succeeding on the job. Today, employers and employees alike are more aware that appropriate accommodation, including workplace personal assistance services (PAS) as well as assistive technology, improves an employee's ability to succeed. While assistive technology is in widespread use as an accommodation, workplace personal assistance is less understood. Method: The goal of the study was to learn more about how workplace PAS and AT are arranged for in the workplace, and the issues that arise. Structured phone interviews were conducted with 20 workplace PAS users, 21 employers familiar with workplace PAS, and 19 employment organizations. Interview transcripts are the basis for the qualitative analysis of findings. Results: Requirements for personal assistance accommodations focus on task-related needs. Personal care needs at work are not included in the Americans with Disabilities act but may be needed by the employee. Employers and PAS users have developed many creative ways to address PAS need. Organizations can construct an approach that fits the needs, abilities, and constraints of each organization. The interview respondents have identified a number of practices that are succeeding, including establishment of policies for arranging for PAS; centralization of accommodation budgets to remove work unit disincentives; and providing a shared personal assistant for interpreting or for task-related and personal care tasks. A number of important research questions remain. What is the extent of the need for PAS in the workplace? Will an expanded PAS supply increase the employment opportunities for people with disabilities? Will better models of workplace PAS be adopted by employers? (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

Telework and employees with disabilities: Accommodation and funding options

West, M. D., & Anderson, J. (2005). "Telework and employees with disabilities: Accommodation and funding options." Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 23(2): 115-122.

This article describes telework and its use as an accommodation for employees with disabilities. Potential barriers to using telework as an accommodation are presented, as well as potential funding sources for technology. Two case studies of successful accommodation through telework are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

User needs evaluation of workplace accommodations

Williams, M., Sabata, D., & Zolna, J. (2006). "User needs evaluation of workplace accommodations." Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 27(4): 355-362.

This study examined the multi-faceted issues surrounding workplace accommodation for workers with disabilities. A user needs survey of 510 disabled individuals examined the types of technology and accommodations needed to perform work and employment-related activities. Workers with disabilities used a variety of workplace accommodations to overcome difficulties with functional limitations. Some differences existed in the types of accommodations used by older and younger workers who had the same functional limitation. Workers of all ages were not likely to report mental limitations, and those who did were not likely to utilize workplace accommodations, with the exception of some memory strategies. For those with hearing loss, younger workers used sign language more frequently, while pre-retirement and retirement age workers used more hearing aids. Working age adults with vision impairments used electronic documents, Braille, and CCTVs more than pre-retirement or retirement age workers. Regardless of age, workers reporting functional limitations often received no workplace accommodations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)