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Hiring People with Disabilities

Situations and Solutions

Situation: A production worker with mental retardation, who has limited fine motor dexterity, must use tweezers and a magnifying glass to perform the job. The worker had difficulty holding the tweezers.
Solution: Giant tweezers were purchased. Cost. $5.

A teacher with bipolar disorder, who works in a home-based instruction program, experienced reduced concentration, short term memory, and task sequencing problems.

Solution: At one of their weekly meetings the employees and the supervisor jointly developed a checklist. This checklist showed both the week’s work and the following week’s activities. Forms were adapted so that they would be easy to complete, and structured steps were developed so that paper work could be completed at the end of each teaching session. An unintended bonus to the company was the value of the weekly check off forms in training new staff. Cost: $0.
Situation: A field geologist who was deaf and worked alone in remote areas was unable to use two-way radio communication to report his findings.
Solution: Text telephone technology was used to allow the geologist to communicate using a cellular telephone. Cost: $400 plus monthly service fee for the phone.
Situation: An accountant with HIV was experiencing sensitivity to fluorescent light. As a result, she was not able to see her computer screen or written material clearly.
Solution: The employer lowered the wattage in overhead lights, provided task lighting and a computer screen glare guard. Cost: $80.
Situation: A custodian with low vision was having difficulty seeing the carpeted area he was vacuuming.
Solution: A fluorescent lighting system was mounted on his industrial vacuum cleaner. Cost: $240.
Situation: A data entry clerk had agoraphobia and had difficulty traveling during peak hours of traffic.
Solution: The employee’s working hours were changed from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Cost: $0.

A clerk whose job duties included delivering files and paperwork to various areas in a multistory building had multiple sclerosis which gradually made it very difficult to move quickly and carry heavy packages.


A lightweight, motorized three-wheeled scooter with a basket was purchased for the employee. Cost: $2,000.

Situation: A greenhouse worker with mental retardation has difficulty staying on task and knowing when to take breaks.
Solution: At no cost to the employer, a job coach gave initial training. The worker then carried a tape recorder that provided periodic reminders to stay on task and indicated break time. The worker also carried a set of laminated cards which showed the basic list of tasks to be completed. Cost: $50.
Situation: An administrative assistant in a social service agency has a psychiatric disability that causes concentration and memory problems related to word processing, filing, and telephone work.

Accommodations included using soothing music in one earphone to block distractions and taped instructions to augment written material Cost: $150.

Situation: A police officer has a learning disability that makes it difficult to take standard civil service tests.
Solution: Officer was permitted 50% more time to take the test and was allowed to use a dictionary during the examination. Cost: $50.

Reprinted from the Job Accomodation Network

A Service of the President's Committee on
Employment of People with Disabilities
Job Accommodation Network
West Virginia University
PO Box 6080
Morgantown, WV 26506-6080

800-526-7234 in the US (Voice or TTY)