In the Workplace
As a person with a learning disability (LD), how can you leverage your strengths to find a job that you enjoy or improve the one that you have? Explore this section for tips on conducting an effective job search, being successful in the workplace and disclosing your LD status to colleagues.
In the Workplace
Here are some typical job problems which cause difficulty for people with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia.They are followed by possibilities for reasonable accommodations:
You’ve gotten a job. Congratulations! Here are some suggestions for working around your learning disability so you can become a productive, valued worker.
Employers use job interviews to get a better sense of whether the applicant is a good fit for the job. The interview is also an opportunity to learn about the specific job responsibilities, the employer, and the work climate. It is an opportunity for you to determine if the position is right for you. It is also a chance to determine what challenges you might face because of your learning disability at this potential place of employment.
Many employers will ask you to complete a job application. Your application gives the employer important information about you, including your contact details (address, telephone number, email address, etc.), education, skills, and job history. Sometimes you’ll fill out the application online and then submit it online. Other times, especially for smaller companies, you’ll print the application, fill it out in black or blue pen, and then mail or fax it to the employer. You may also visit a business and fill out an application there. However, it’s reasonable to ask if you can take an application home to complete and return later. That allows you to take your time and check your work.
To identify jobs that use your skills and abilities, try the following:
- Check the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This guide allows you to explore information about many different careers.
- Read the "Help Wanted" ads in newspapers to find jobs that might tap your strengths and skills.
- Talk with people in the workforce who have interests and strengths similar to yours. Ask them about their jobs. You might even be able to spend a few hours "shadowing," or following them at work. This will give you a good sense of what their jobs are like.
- Volunteer to work in a job area that interests you. This might be a good way to find out more about a specific occupation firsthand and determine if it is right for you.
A job interview can be a stressful event. There are, however, ways that you can prepare yourself for the experience.
If you have been called for a job interview, congratulations! Your resume, letter, or phone call has gotten the employer interested in you. Your interview will allow the employer to get a better sense of whether you’re a good fit for the job. The interview is also your opportunity to learn about the job responsibilities and expectations, get a sense of how it might be to work for this employer, and discuss ways you could be a valuable employee. From the interview, you’ll determine if the job is right for you. You’re also likely to better understand how your learning disability might or might not present challenges in this job and workplace.
Understanding Your Strengths
The ideal job allows you to tap your areas of strength on a regular basis. Knowing what you do best (and how you can circumvent the challenges of LD) can help you to succeed in the workplace.
Looking for more information? Check out our “Adults with LD” section on LD.org, in addition to videos and podcasts on all aspects of learning disabilities.
Here are some more resources to help find – and find success in – a job you love.