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Job Accommodation & Return to Work

I am an accommodation and return to work specialist. I have more than 20 years experience helping organizations meet their legal duty to accommodate employees with psychiatric, sensory, mobility, cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities.

 

What is accommodation?

Accommodation is the art and science of treating people differently as a means to treat them equally. Employment accommodation is the process of tailoring work to meet the needs of an individual. It is an ongoing process of identifying and removing — or minimizing — the adverse effects of barriers in the work environment and in the methods of doing work. These barriers prevent a qualified person with a disability from achieving the expected outcomes of the job.


My experience

I have successfully planned and implemented accommodations for hundreds of people, including call centre employees, IT professionals, lawyers, scientists, doctors, warehouse employees, professors, and university students. I have also accommodated people who have temporary disabilities due to injury.

I have developed accommodations for individuals with depression and anxiety disorders; who are blind and have low vision; who have had cancer, head injuries, workplace accidents, and strokes; who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia; and who have neurological conditions such as Aspergers Syndrome.

While planning an accommodation, I coordinate closely with supervisors; Occupational Health, HR, and Labour Relation professionals; union representatives; medical doctors and rehabilitation specialists; and insurance company case managers.

I provide expert guidance to organizations on the management of complex cases: for example, when an individual has a psychological condition that impacts on their work, is undergoing lengthy rehabilitation, or when health and performance/workplace issues overlap.

I have facilitated workshops on employment accommodation and return-to-work strategies across Canada and the USA. I taught the introductory course on the topic six years out of ten at the annual RESNA conference. I have also led seminars for members of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada, rehabilitation faculty and students at the University of Toronto and the University of North Carolina, members of the Human Resources Professional Association, and many other organizations.


My approach

I promote the "ADAPTABLE" approach. ADAPTABLE is a systematic, creative and practical method that enhances the employee's productivity, comfort, and occupational health and safety while respecting his or her privacy, autonomy and dignity.

"Adaptable Chests" is an acronym for fifteen different accommodation strategies:

Assistive technologies
Devilishly clever contraptions
Alternative formats
Personal support
Transportation services
Adapted furniture
Building modifications
Low-tech devices
Environmental adaptations

Customized software
Human resource strategies
Employment policy changes
Spatial reorganization
Training and retraining
Seating strategies




Key to the success of the approach is that the employee is centrally involved. I develop, in collaboration with the employee, their supervisor, HR, and their union representative a comprehensive plan that makes sense to the everybody; implement the plan; and support the employee during all stages of the accommodation process.

The ADAPTABLE approach is described in several articles. See these articles about employment accommodation.


Sample reports

Please write for a sample report. Reports for employees and university students with a variety of disabilities are available on request.