I’m a member of Eastside CHADD, the Seattle branch of CHADD, a support, advocacy and education group for ADD-abled people. I attended a powerful, even heartening, lecture on Wednesday about the Americans with Disabilities Act presented by Linda Clemon-Karp, MFA, ADAC, Continuing Education Coordinator at the Northwest ADA Center. The Center, “providing information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington,” is a resource for both employers concerning their obligations under the Act and individuals seeking protections under the Act.
My summary of Ms. Clemon-Karp’s seminar is “Negotiate.” Individuals seeking accommodations under the Act have significant rights to get assistance to allow them to be successful in educational and employment settings, but also responsibilities to uphold relationships with their educators and employers to maintain those supports. People in need and employers both have many misunderstandings about what the Act does or does not allow, what it does or does not require. For example, employees don’t have to disclose the exact nature of their disability in order to request accommodations. Employers don’t have to automatically provide the most expensive accommodation if a less expensive option can work.
Don’t be shy about considering asking for help to be successful. You and your teachers, you and your employer(s) are going to see the benefits.