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Job accommodations in the workplace for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing: current practices and recommendations.

One of the most significant determinants in our perceived status in our society is our job (Blau & Duncan, 1967; Crewe and Zola, 1983; Jahoda, 1982; McCarthy, 1988; Nam, Powers, & Glick, 1964). However, a recent Harris poll (Prodigy, 1994) found that two-thirds of American adults with disabilities have no job, and nearly 80% of those presently unemployed would like to work. Reasons often cited for their lack of employment are that employers do not (a) structure jobs so that persons with a disability can be accommodated (Myers, 1992), (b) have confidence in the ability of the person with a disability, or consider the person with the disability capable of working full-time (Lou Harris and Associates, 1994). Furthermore, three often adults with disabilities have encountered job discrimination, and approximately 20% indicate that they have encountered physical barriers in the workplace that have interfered with effective job performance.

In order to combat problems like those identified above, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was enacted. For the first time, discrimination against persons with disabilities in both the governmental and private business sector was prohibited by law. In addition, ADA shifted the responsibility of initiating the accommodation process to the employee. Though no study has empirically evaluated the importance of on-the-job accommodations for persons who are hard of hearing, accommodation practices were found to be a significant factor in employment success for persons who were deaf (Gibler, 1995; Moore, 1995; Mowry & Anderson, 1993).

Also, the majority of anecdotal literature (Boone, 1988; Foster, 1987; Moore, 1995) indicates that certain workplace situations that involve groups or are noisy are difficult for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Specific situations have been identified as difficult due to a breakdown in communication capabilities, e.g., receiving instructions, meetings, and training/inservices. Therefore, the provision of accommodations to facilitate communication may be essential to an employee's career maintenance or advancement.

Purpose of the Study

In order to (a) determine if the problems identified in the anecdotal literature were a factor in the workplace and (b) to develop an empirical basis for the development of training materials on workplace accommodations, a five-year project was developed. This report is based on the initial phase of that project. It presents the results of two surveys administered to (a) workers who are deaf or hard of hearing and (b) employers of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The purpose of the two surveys was to assess the type and adequacy of workplace accommodations. At the time of both the consumer and employer surveys, the provision of appropriate accommodations, based on the ADA timetable, required businesses with 25 or more employees to provide "reasonable accommodations" to both employees and customers who have disabilities.

Method

Two surveys were developed to examine current practices in workplace accommodations for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Both survey questionnaires used forced-choice and open-ended questions. Open-ended questions were coded based on variables identified through literature review. All data was coded and checked for validity. The data was then analyzed using SPSS\PC+ software. Due to the nonparametric nature of the data, frequency and where appropriate, chi square statistical analyses were performed.

Consumer Survey

Participants in the first survey were members of Self Help for the Hard of Hearing People, Inc. (SHHH). SHHH was selected because it is a self-help organization and presumably, its members have greater access to information about accommodations and coping with hearing loss. The forced-choice items provided frequency data for size and type of company, difficult workplace situations, general type of accommodations used, and incidence for denial of accommodations requests. The open-ended questions allowed respondents to describe the specific situations and identify the type of accommodations that would be useful, how the accommodations was requested, different coping strategies, and identification of desired alternative accommodations.

Three hundred and nine chapters of Self Help for the Hard of Hearing People, Inc. (SHHH) were contacted and asked to identify members willing to participate in the job accommodations survey. Two hundred and one members from 52 chapters agreed to participate. Members of many SHHH chapters declined to participate in the study because of their population demographics (e.g., retirees or nursing home residents).

Employer Survey

Participants in the second survey were employers of persons who were deaf or hard of hearing. The forced-choice items provided frequency data for size and type of business, type of jobs held by employees who were deaf or hard of hearing, number of requests for accommodations to facilitate communication, difficult communication situations, general type of accommodation requested, denial of accommodations, and criteria for evaluating whether to provide an accommodation. The open-ended questions allowed the respondent to expand on the accommodation request procedure and grievance process, if any.

Fifty-one employers who within the past year had employed persons who were deaf or hard of hearing participated in a telephone survey. Employers were initially identified by either members of SHHH (n = 48) or by the Gallaudet Center for Career Programs (n = 50). Each employer was sent a letter summarizing the survey's purpose and invited to participate by returning an enclosed postcard with three times (month, day, and time) that would be convenient for them to be contacted and complete the survey. Fifty-one (52%) of the employers agreed to participate.

Results

Demographics

Demographics from worker and employer survey results are presented below. Areas discussed are size and sector of company, and types of jobs held by workers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Worker demographics. Although SHHH is often considered an organization appropriate only for persons who consider themselves hard of hearing, this is not necessarily an accurate perception of the organization. Survey results confirmed that many members of SHHH do not consider themselves hard of hearing. For example, while the majority of respondents consider themselves hard of hearing (77%), 23% considered themselves deaf.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of the respondents worked in the private sector, and almost half worked for companies employing less than 250 employees. Eighteen percent (18%) of the sample worked in companies with less than 25 employees. Thus, the majority of workers are employed at companies subject to the provisions of the ADA.

Additionally, the majority of participants were employed either in managerial/professional or technical, sales, and administrative support positions. These occupational categories are consistent with McCray's (1987) data on employees most likely to receive accommodations. Employees who are in "white-collar" jobs (e.g., managerial, professional, technical, sales, and office/clerical) are more likely to receive accommodations (McCray, 1987).

Employer demographics. The majority of employer respondents were division or department managers (59%) who directly supervised employees who were deaf or hard of hearing. However, the majority of employers interviewed were more aware of employees who were deaf than those who were hard of hearing. For example, when asked if they were aware of any employees who were hard of hearing, they often responded that although they were sure there were some who were hard of hearing, they were not personally aware of any employees who were hard of hearing. Because the primary mode of communication for persons who are hard of hearing is auditory, the disability is often not visible. Also, as study results indicate, persons who are hard of hearing often will try to "get by" by using whatever residual hearing they have, rather than indicate that they need help.

Demographic information was also obtained on the type of business and the size of the company. Twenty-six percent of the employers represented the public sector (federal, state, local governmental entities); 16% service industries, and 14% agriculture, forestry, fishing industries or research.

Size of a company is often identified as a factor in the provision of accommodations. Since it is predicted that the greatest growth over the next 10 years will be in small businesses and the ADA includes the concept of "undue hardship" in the provision of accommodations to employees with disabilities, size of business may be a factor in the provision of accommodations. Employers participating in the survey indicated that approximately half employed more than 250 workers and eight (16%) employed 25 or less workers.

The majority of companies indicated that they presently employed less than six employees who were deaf or hard of hearing, and the average length of time that their company had employed persons who were deaf or hard of hearing was two to five years. However, 43% indicated that their company had employed persons who were deaf or hard of hearing for more than 10 years.

Approximately 44% indicated that they had workers who were deaf or hard of hearing in managerial or professional jobs and 69% reported workers in technical, sales, or support services. Less than 15% of the employers reported persons who were deaf or hard of hearing in blue-collar jobs, such as service, precision, production, craft, or repair, or laborer.

Summary of demographic information. Results from the employer survey are consistent with worker findings. The majority of companies identified by both surveys have greater than 25 employees and are covered under the provisions of the ADA. Finally, survey results from both groups indicated that most jobs held by persons who were deaf or hard of hearing were either in managerial/professional or technical, sales, or support services.

Difficult Workplace Situations

Difficult workplace situations identified by workers Since hearing loss can cause difficulties in some common work situations, workers were asked, "Does your hearing loss limit your ability to effectively participate in ...these situations...?" The six specific workplace situations were: (a) receiving instructions/supervision, (b) department/staff meetings, (c) in-service or training activities, (d) performance evaluations, (e) socializing with co-workers, and (f) work-related social functions. They were also asked if any other workplace situation other than the six specifically identified was a problem for them.

Respondents had difficulty in all six situations. The most difficult work situations identified are important for job maintenance or career advancement. These include: work-related social functions (77%), department/staff meetings (75%), and inservices or training sessions (68%). Chi square statistical analysis was used to determine if there was a relationship between the type of problematic situation and worker's occupation. There were no significant differences in situations considered difficult for communication related to an employee's occupation. However, a greater percentage of respondents in managerial or professional occupations versus technical, sales, or administrative support stated that their hearing loss increased communication difficulties in work-related social functions, in-service training, socializing with co-workers, and department/staff meetings. Interestingly, only 18% of the respondents indicated that their hearing loss was a factor during performance evaluations. This may be because performance evaluations are usually in a one-on-one format and allow the individual to more effectively utilize their residual hearing.

These results are consistent with much of the anecdotal literature indicating that problem situations for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing essentially involve group situations, noisy environments, and/or situations where face-to-face discussions may be difficult (i.e., inservice/training, or group meetings) (Walsh, 1992). One-on-one situations, such as performance evaluations, are not considered a problem by the majority of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. As noted above, this may be because performance evaluations are usually conducted one-on-one in an office, in an environment separate from other employees, or are in written form. Thus, without the presence of extraneous environmental noise, the employee who is deaf or hard of hearing may feel that he/she can more effectively utilize his/her residual hearing to supplement visual cues.

Finally, no significant differences between identified work-related problems and the occupation of the worker were identified. However, this may be skewed, since the majority of the respondents' occupations were professional/managerial or technical/sales/support personnel (i.e., "white-collar" or "pink-collar" occupations). As noted earlier, few respondents were in service, semi-skilled, or unskilled occupations.

Difficult workplace situations identified by employers Employers were asked if any of the six specific workplace situations identified above were a problem for their employees who are deaf or hard of hearing. They were also asked if "there were other communication situations that you have noticed are a problem for your employee who is deaf or hard of hearing."

Seventy-five percent of the employers surveyed identified inservice/training as the most problematic for their employees who were deaf or hard of hearing. Other situations identified as difficult were (a) socializing with co-workers, (b) work-related social functions, (c) department or staff meetings, (d) receiving instructions/supervision, and (e) performance evaluations.

Employers were also asked to rate each identified problem situation on a 5 point Likert scale (1=no problem. 5=frequently a problem). Thirty-seven percent of the employers considered department and staff meetings a serious problem. and in-service/training situations were considered a serious problem by 31% of the employers.

Furthermore, employers often exhibited frustration in the provision of accommodations for employees who were deaf or hard of hearing in these situations. For example, the employers realized that provision of a sign language interpreter or a notetaker during meetings was essential for their employees who were deaf or hard of hearing. However, there were often situations in which it was not possible to provide this accommodation. For example, a meeting would be called at the last minute and all interpreters or skilled notetakers were previously scheduled. Thus, no interpreters or notetakers would be available for that particular meeting. As a result of this situation, several employers noted that their employees who were deaf or hard of hearing did not have equal access to the material or information disseminated during these meetings.

Summary of difficult workplace situations. Both workers and employers reported that situations related to job maintenance and career advancement were problematic (i.e., department/staff meetings, in-service training). The majority of problematic situations were related to group situations. However, one difference was noted. Few workers (only 18%) felt that their hearing loss negatively impacted them during performance evaluations with their supervisors. In contrast, many employers (48%) felt that their workers' hearing loss was a negative factor in this situation. This may indicate that the worker's hearing loss possibly has negative ramifications that the worker is not cognizant of.

Workplace Accommodations

Accommodations used by workers The workers were asked to indicate if accommodations were made in each of the following areas: (a) devices/equipment, (b) support personnel (ex: interpreters, job coaches), (c)job restructuring, and (d) other job accommodations. They were asked to describe what they had to do to get the accommodation.

The most frequent accommodation identified by workers currently in use in the workplace are assistive devices (70%). The device most often cited by respondents was an amplified phone (66%). Other types of accommodations such as support personnel or job restructuring were identified infrequently. The assistive listening devices (ALDs, such as FM systems, loops, or infrared systems) or real-time captioning were used by only 18% of the respondents. This is problematic since these devices are designed for use in group situations and the most difficult work-related situations cited by respondents were group or multi-speaker situations.

Since the most frequent accommodation identified by workers currently in use in the workplace were assistive devices, a chi square analysis was performed to determine if the number of devices in the workplace was related to the respondent's occupation. Results of this analysis indicated that there was a significant relationship between the number of devices used in the workplace and the occupations of the respondents, X (18, N=201) =60.96 p [less than] .0001. Respondents in managerial or professional occupations were more likely to use ALDS or other equipment for communication purposes (e.g., electronic mail, computers) than persons in technical, sales, or administrative support positions. Although no specific reason was identified, it can be postulated that persons in managerial and professional occupations participate in both group and one-on-one communications more frequently than persons in technical, sales, and administrative support positions. Thus, the use of assistive devices would be important in performing the essential functions of their jobs.

Support personnel were often used by employers as an accommodation for deaf or hard of hearing workers. The function of support personnel were generally to provide services that assist the individual with a disability to perform the key duties of the job. Support personnel may be utilized either as a formal accommodation (sign language interpreter, notetaker) or as an informal accommodation (secretary or co-worker who provides assistance with the phone). Support personnel was mentioned as an accommodation in the workplace by 25% of respondents. Support personnel were most often provided on an informal, rather than formal basis. The majority of support personnel as an accommodation identified by respondents involved help provided by co-workers. For example, the respondents often stated that assistance with the phone was provided because the respondents simply asked a co-worker for help in using the phone.

The respondents were asked if job restructuring was an identified accommodation in their workplace. Job restructuring is defined as (a) elimination of nonessential job functions, (b) redelegation of assignments, (c) exchange of assignments, or (d) redesigning of procedures. Job restructuring was mentioned by only 25% of survey respondents, and the most frequently cited job restructuring accommodation was redelegation of assignments, such as telephone work.

Lastly, the respondents were asked if they were happy with the accommodations made. Sixty-two percent of the respondents stated that their present accommodations were not appropriate or did not meet their needs. Reasons cited for unhappiness with their present accommodations were inadequate equipment (65%) or inadequate awareness about the need for an accommodation by other employees or supervisors (16%). An example of inadequate equipment would be the provision of an amplified phone that was not compatible for use with an individual's cochlear implant or hearing aid. In addition, 74% of the respondents stated that although they often were not sure what accommodation would be better, they would like to have different accommodations in the workplace than they were using at the present time. These results not only suggest that accommodations currently in the workplace are not adequate to meet the communication needs of workers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but that workers may also lack knowledge about possible appropriate accommodation options.

Finally, workers were asked to describe what they had to do to get an accommodation. They reported that a simple request was the most effective method of obtaining the accommodation.

Accommodations provided by employers Employers were asked which of the communication accessibility accommodations [e.g., devices, support personnel, change in environment, or job restructuring] were requested by employees? Employers reported that the accommodation most often provided to their employees who are deaf or hard of hearing are assistive devices (88%). The most common devices provided were Text Telephones (referred to as TTYs or TDDs)(65%) and amplified phones (39%). However, 43% of employers stated that tactile beepers or visual alerting systems were often provided.

Since the majority of employers contacted appeared to be more cognizant of employees who were deaf, they were more likely to provide accommodations for this population. For example, employers most often provided sign language interpreting personnel as a formal accommodation in the support personnel category (71%). Whereas, support personnel more often identified as possible accommodations for workers who were hard of hearing were requested far less often. Support personnel most often used as a formal accommodation for persons who are hard of hearing are notetakers and oral interpreters. Employers seldom identified notetaking (14%) and oral interpreters (6%) as a requested and provided accommodation.

Other accommodations cited as important for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are environmental changes or job restructuring. Forty-one percent of the employers reported that workers requested changes in the environment to facilitate communication and 35% of the employers identified job restructuring as a requested and provided accommodation. A change in environment, such as in the arrangement of room furniture, was a reported accommodation request by 39% of the employers and a change in lighting to facilitate communication was cited by 24% of the employers as a requested accommodation. Interestingly, this is perhaps the least expensive accommodation, and for many situations it is adequate and appropriate. An example of such an accommodation presently in use is a mirror on the wall over an employee's desk. This allows the employee to be aware of someone entering their office or work station.

Employers were also asked how does an employee request an accommodation? Most employers do not require that a request be in writing and almost 75% of the employers indicated that the first step in acquiring an accommodation was that the employee must initially contact his or her supervisor to request an accommodation. However, the immediate supervisor of the employee often does not process accommodation request or determine if the accommodation requested is needed. Therefore, one can postulate that a positive response to the accommodation request by the immediate supervisor will facilitate the request process and increase the chance the accommodation will be provided.
Table 1: Information identified by Employees as Useful when
Requesting and Accommodation


1. Why the accommodation is needed 70.6%
2. Cost of the accommodation 54.9%
3. Technical Information about the accommodation 54.9%
4. How the accommodation will improve employees
job performance 52.9%


Employers (86%) indicated that it would be useful when requesting the accommodation, if the employee provided specific information regarding the accommodation, such as why the accommodation was needed, type of accommodation, and cost of accommodation requested. Information regarding why the accommodation was needed was identified by 71% of the employers as important in determining whether the accommodation would be provided. The cost of the accommodation (55%) and technical information about the accommodation (55%) were also identified as important. Finally, 53% of the employers indicated that information regarding how the provision of the accommodation would improve job performance was cited as useful information. This indicates that perhaps the employee should be able to perform at least a basic evaluation or analysis of his or her job as well as identify the specific accommodations that would be appropriate to improve his or her job performance prior to requesting an accommodation.

Summary of accommodations presently used in the workplace. The majority of workplace accommodations identified by both employers and workers are assistive devices. These devices are appropriate primarily for one-on-one communications situations. However, unlike workers, employers did report that support personnel (sign language interpreters) were often requested and provided for workers. Oral interpreters or notetakers were seldom requested or provided. This finding may be a result of the employers' lack of knowledge of the presence of workers who are hard of hearing, as well as the possibility that workers who are hard of hearing do not request support personnel as an accommodation. Finally, both employers and workers indicated that the most effective method for requesting an accommodation is a simple request.

Are Accommodations being Denied?

Perhaps because of a lack of understanding about accommodation options and lack of knowledge about benefit-to-cost ratio of accommodations, a substantial portion of workers (31%) indicated that they had been denied an accommodation. The most frequent reasons identified by workers for denial of accommodations were cost (29%) and that the accommodation was not considered to be needed by the employee (18%). Unlike workers, employers did not indicate they often deny accommodations. In fact, within the past year, 78% have approved 100% of the accommodation requests. Of those employers who have denied accommodation requests, only 5% or less of those requested have been denied. The reasons most often cited for denial of accommodation requests were (a) the accommodation was not needed by the employee (10%), (b) the accommodation was too expensive (8%), or (c) technology was not available to solve the employees' communication problem.

With the passage of the ADA in 1990, refusal to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities should be more difficult. The Job Accommodations Network reports that not only is the average benefit-to-cost-ratio 15/1, but that 78% of accommodations averaged less than $1000, and 51% cost between $1 and $500 (Kirk & Perlman, 1994). In spite of this, the employer often weighs the cost of providing an accommodation and even when providing accommodations, employers tend to emphasize the need to focus on low-cost accommodations (McCray, 1987; Scherer & McKee, 1993).

Summary and Recommendations

Summary

With the pool of workers shrinking, employers must begin to invest in training of employees (Hamilton, 1988) and to look to previously underrepresented and underemployed groups in the workforce as sources of skilled labor. Persons who are deaf or hard of heating are one such group (Christiansen, 1982; El-Khiami, 1993; Mowry, 1987; Passamore, 1983; Schein and Delk, 1974). The provision of accommodations allows the employer to access and utilize this skilled and stable workforce.

The provision of accommodations benefit both the employer and the worker. Employers note that provision of accommodations helps to attract dependable workers, reduces turnover, often improves safety, increases productivity, and is beneficial for public relation efforts (Berkeley Planning Associates, 1982). The provision of accommodations is also dependent on recognition of the importance of the employee-employer partnership. Survey results indicated that although employers want to provide appropriate accommodations, they often were not knowledgeable about what is available or appropriate. The worker's role in this partnership is essential not only in identifying the appropriate accommodations for his or her particular job, but also in educating the employer about possible accommodation options. This sharing of knowledge is perhaps the greatest benefit for both the employer and worker. Not only does it help the worker who is deaf or hard of hearing on the job, but it also provides the employer with information that will be useful with future accommodation requests.

Both the characteristics of the workplace as well as those of the employee who is deaf or hard of hearing can influence provision of on-the-job accommodations (Mowry & Anderson, 1993; Anderson & Watson, 1995). For example, accommodations, such as interpreters, are often provided for large organizational or scheduled meetings and less likely in informal or other situations (such as staff meeting). In addition, the cost of accommodations, especially those that are on-going (i.e., interpreters), may be considered too costly by employers (Calkins, 1992). Finally, an employee may be afraid that requesting an accommodation will be detrimental to keeping his or her job, or the employee who has some residual hearing and understandable speech is expected to "get by" without any accommodation (Mowry & Anderson, 1993).

This study found many of the same problems for both workers who are deaf and workers who hard of hearing. Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing experience communication problems on the job more often in multiple speaker situations and in noisy environments, and often their employers did not feel that the employees "needed" an accommodation. Thus, many of the workers frequently cited that their coping method for difficult communication situations was to avoid participation in such problematic situations. However, since business decisions and sharing of necessary information are often a part of social functions or department/staff meeting, this can create a multitude of problems for the employee who is "out of the loop" (i.e., missing out on knowledge about changes in policies or information useful for one's career).

The surveys indicated that a limited number and type of accommodations are currently being used or considered as an appropriate accommodations for difficult workplace communications. In fact, the majority of accommodations identified were most appropriate for one-on-one communication (i.e., amplified phones, TDDs). Other than provision of sign language interpreters for scheduled meetings, few accommodations were identified or presently in use to improve situations that involved multiple speakers or group situations. This is significant since the majority of situations identified as difficult by study participants were multi-speaker situations.

Furthermore, the majority of techniques identified, often with mixed results, for use in multiple speaker situations were various personal coping techniques such as asking the speaker to look at them or changing their own placement within the environment to maximize receptive communication. Unfortunately, many personal coping techniques cited by respondents definitely did not improve communication. One such frequently mentioned coping strategy mentioned by employees was simply to not participate in meetings, talk with co-workers, or attend work-related social functions.

Since few accommodations were identified for multiple-speaker situations, the question could be asked if requesting accommodations was a problem. This did not appear to be the case for the majority of respondents. In order to receive accommodations, both workers and employers stated that a simple request was most often the most successful. However, results of this study do appear to identify a problem in the provision of appropriate accommodations. This problem is an apparent lack of knowledge by both employer and worker about effective and efficient workplace accommodations. This is illustrated by (a) participants' unhappiness with current accommodations provided in the workplace, (b) frequent reliance on negative coping skills, rather than identification of an appropriate accommodation, and (c) the limited number and type of accommodations provided. Furthermore, since almost three-fourths of workers were unhappy with the accommodations that they were using, one cannot help but wonder if perhaps lack of knowledge about accommodation options may be a significant problem.

For further discussion about the workplace issues for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, both Pursuing the American Dream: How Hearing-Impaired Workers Advance in Their Careers edited by Schroedel and Watson (1993) and Partnership 2000: Achieving a Barrier-Free Workplace (Anderson & Watson, 1995) would be useful sources of information. Lastly, a brochure, Working Effectively with Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, written by The University of Arkansas RRTC for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in cooperation with Cornell University's Program on Employment and Disability, was developed to provide employers with a overview of workplace accommodations.

Recommendations

As a result of this study, several recommendations were identified:

1. There is a need to develop problem-solving training to assist workers in identifying appropriate accommodation options for their workplace. Problem-solving skills training was originally developed for solving difficult interpersonal problems. Problem solving is defined as a process in which an individual identifies effective means of coping with problematic situations encountered in every day living (D'Zurilla & Nezu, 1982). It consists of (a) identifying and describing specific problems and (b) identifying, evaluating, and putting in action solutions (Boone & Johnson, 1988; D'Zurilla & Nezu, 1982). This method can also be useful in identifying and solving accommodation problems on-the-job. As noted in survey results, often the accommodation requested and provided is not appropriate for the problem situation. The development of a problem-solving training program will help the worker identify appropriate accommodations for problematic situations. Furthermore, it is helpful for the worker to provide the employer with as much information as possible on accommodation options at the time the accommodation is requested. This helps the employer determine the cost of the accommodation, how it will affect productivity, and to more accurately evaluate cost-to-benefit ration of accommodation.

2. Provide workers with skills in using a "marketing" approach for requesting appropriate accommodations. Marketing, as opposed to selling, is based on a long-term association between the parties. This approach includes an exchange of benefits that emphasizes advantages for both the employer and worker. As noted previously, although one's immediate supervisor often does not process the accommodation, he or she is often the "gatekeeper" in the accommodation request process. By presenting the request for an accommodation using a "marketing" approach, the focus becomes not "what I need" but "what will be good for the company." This "marketing" approach focuses on the positive aspects of the provision of an accommodation. Such positive aspects would include how it will: (a) save money by providing the accommodation, (b) allow the person with the disability to do a better job, (c) improve productivity, (d) increase dependability, and perhaps, (e) benefit other employees.

3. There is a need for the development of an accessible source of information for workers and employers on effective accommodations. Although such resources exist, often employers as well as persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are not aware of those resources. Selected national resources would include:

(a) University of Arkansas RRTC for Persons who are

Deaf or Hard of Hearing 4601 W. Markham St. Little Rock, AR 72212

(b) Job Accommodation Network

West Virginia University 809 Allen Hall P.O. Box 6123 Morgantown, WV 26505-6123

(c) National Technical Institute for the Deaf's National

Center on Employment of the Deaf 1 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, NY 14623

(d) Gallaudet University, National Information Center on Deafness

800 Florida Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20005

(e) Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc.

7800 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814

(f) Association for Late-Deafened Adults

P.O. Box 641763 Chicago, IL 60664

(g) National Association of the Deaf

814 Thayer Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910

(h) American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association

P.O. Box 21554 Little Rock, AR 72225

(i) American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

10801 Rockville Pike Rockville, MD 20852

(j) ADA Regional Disability Business Technical

Assistance Center Hotline (800) 949-4232

(k) local state vocational and independent living rehabilitation offices.

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Author:Scherich, Dayl L.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Date:Apr 1, 1996
Words:6239
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