Shifting Gears: Transitioning from School to Work

Filed in Workplace Rights by on October 21, 2010 8 Comments

Hi, everyone! This is Dr. Suzanne Kitchen, and I’m a senior consultant at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is the premiere nationwide accommodation consulting service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.  Over the years, I have talked to thousands of employers, rehabilitation professionals, educators, parents, and people with disabilities. Everyone is using JAN services to search for job accommodations to help workers with disabilities perform their jobs. Many times, those workers are young people with disabilities transitioning from school to work, be it a transition from high school or from college.

Young people with disabilities might need job accommodations to help perform their job duties, or to meet performance or conduct standards of employment. I’m going to provide a few simple tips to help make the accommodation process very easy, which in turn, will make transition a bit easier, too.

First, disclose the disability. Young people with disabilities can choose when and how to tell the employer about the disability. The best reason to disclose is to secure job accommodations.  Disclosure can be done verbally or in writing.

Second, provide “documentation of disability”, which is a document that explains the disability. This document might come from the school recently attended, or from a healthcare professional who treats/manages the person’s disability. Quickly providing documentation of disability will speed up the accommodation process.

Next, ask for accommodations known to work!  Used extra time taking tests in school? Assignments provided in alternative text? Used technology to help complete assignments? These classroom accommodations could be provided in the workplace, too!  To keep the accommodation process moving quickly, remember the technology used in the past, or be prepared to explain how accommodations were used, and why those were successful.

Lastly, reach out to JAN for new accommodation ideas. JAN’s service is free, and confidential! Anyone can call JAN, engage in real-time chat, or email questions about accommodations. JAN will help identify more solutions! Any disability — any job. You can reach JAN at 1-800-526-7234 (voice); 1-877-781-9403 (tty); on the Web at; and through social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life.

Transition from school to work can be a complicated activity, but the job accommodation process can be simplified, especially if using JAN to supply good accommodation ideas. Use our service. You’ll be pleased!

Dr. Suzanne Kitchen is a senior consultant at the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

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Comments (8)

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  1. sctt wells says:

    GOOD info on this site, relating to people with disa’s

  2. disclosure can not be that easy! Would like to see more on the decision to disclose and the emotion and issues involved for the person with a disability.

  3. Mindy Larson says:

    For youth and the families members or other adults supporting them looking for guidance on decisions about disclosing one’s disability, see the following resources available online at

    The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

    This guide is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. This workbook helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives.

    Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities

    This document is a supplement to The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities which helps youth learn about disability disclosure and what it means for them. Search sites like Google, social networking sites like Facebook, and micro-blogging sites like Twitter have added a new element to disclosure. Now it is possible to disclose disability status on the internet without even being aware of it. This can be as simple as a picture of a person using a wheelchair, a comment on a friend’s blog about disability, or a profile posted on a disability organization’s website. The goal of this document is to provide youth suggestions on how to make informed decisions about their own disability disclosure and to manage their disclosures online.

    The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities

    Adults in the lives of young people with both visible disabilities and those with disabilities that are not apparent to others can benefit from using this workbook. This workbook helps adults make informed decisions about teaching a young man or woman about his or her rights and responsibilities in disclosing his or her disability, a decision that will affect the young person’s educational, employment, and social life. This workbook will help adults learn how to support a young person with a disability as he or she takes steps in becoming more independent and self-sufficient. In fact, making the personal decision to disclose a disability can make the young person more confident in himself or herself and the choices he or she makes.

  4. whatisthis says:

    Thank you for this great piece of content. Best Regards

  5. Of course, what a magnificent website and enlightening posts, I will bookmark your website.Best Regards!

  6. I never regretted my time at school, I simply wish I could have got out with less debt and extra time to do the things I was trained to do somewhat than spend all my time looking for cash to pay off my money owed in a minimum wage economy!

  7. wheelchairs says:

    wheelchairs are very useful most especially to those who are handicapped and physically
    disabled because it helps them do the things that they want and makes their lives easier and bearable.
    Thanks for sharing.


  8. Thanks Doctor, for this great piece of information. I have little knowledge about this network but you have clear my doubts. I am going to share this post on my FB wall so my friends and relatives can also take advantage from this.

    Thanks again Dr. Suzanne.

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