Utilizing Your Resources when you are disabled on your first day at work.

When you are employed, figuring out how you will successfully perform your job duties can be daunting in the best of circumstances, and if you are a person with a disability, figuring this out can add an extra work load to your daily activities. There are many different types of disabilities, all with very specific needs. When various problems arise, you as the employee will be expected to find a way to deal with them in a timely manner so that everything can return to normal as quickly as possible. This can, however, be difficult depending on the problem and the search for a solution.

Organizations and agencies have been established to assist with all different types of disabilities, and to find ways of combating the issues that can arise on a daily basis. Utilizing your resources is, perhaps, one of the most useful skills you can learn, and one you will most likely perform on a regular basis. Let's consider a scenario.

You are visually impaired and have an eye condition that is considered to be progressive. This means you are losing vision, and will, in this case, probably lose it all within a year?s time. If you are employed, you have probably taken steps to prepare as best you can for this. Your company is changing software packages for the main system that is used to access and input information. You are currently using a program that enlarges the contents of the screen, but due to your impending vision loss, you will need to learn how to use a program that verbalizes the text on the screen in speech output. Since these are two very different forms of computer access, you will need to learn additional skills. This may mean calling your local agency that assists with such skills and setting up classes, then speaking to your employer to obtain the permission to take them. One good argument here could be that the more prepared you are, the better you can do your job.

Resources, however, can be expanded to other individuals who are either in your field or share your disability. In keeping with the same example, you have learned how to use the speech program effectively and are able to access the necessary information; however, your company is making yet another change. This time, the chosen program is all graphical, which will make it easier and more intuitive for others to use, but will present a definite problem for your screen reader that is designed to read text only. In some cases, it is possible to make changes in the software configuration of the speech application that will provide you access to the necessary information. If this happens, it is often a good idea to try and locate someone else who has either used that particular program to inquire about their experiences, or someone who is familiar enough with the speech program you use to make the changes. This may mean calling individuals around the country and networking until you have answers to your questions. It is important to remember that not every program can be made accessible, but crucial that you try every option available to you in order to have a fighting chance at keeping your job.

As stated above, all disabilities have a different set of needs, and each need should be handled individually. Learn what is around you and know how to get in touch with others who can relate to your experiences. Keep contact information for the organizations and agencies developed to deal with your specific disability, and don't be afraid to use it.