American with Disabilities Act (ADA)- What are Accommodations? By Esther Pena

IMG_0045What’s an accommodation? Why are accommodations important? Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done during the hiring process. Accommodations are important modifications that enable an individual with a disability to successfully perform their job tasks to the same extent as people without disability. Accommodations are essential in helping people with disabilities to adapt in a comfortable and easy way. Accommodations provide people with a disability to have the same opportunities not only in the workplace and in other areas of their lives.

People with disabilities can successfully and easily carry out their daily life as well as equal opportunities without having to feel indifferent or discriminated against. Let’s think about challenges that a person with a disability encounters?  These challenges can be physical barriers, inaccessibility in the workplace training materials, inadequate designs that can be at risk of injury and can impact their abilities to perform their job duties. Accommodations are crucial in ensuring equal access to people with disabilities in the workplace. Here are some examples of creating an inclusive environment for people with disabilities:


  • Facility enhancements such as ramps
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Ergonomic workstations
  • Job restructuring part-time 
  • Modified work schedules
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment
  • Changing tests
  • Training materials
  • Policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters
  • Physical changesInstalling a ramp or modifying a restroom Modifying the layout of a workspace.



  • Accessible and assistive technologies– Ensuringcomputer software is accessible providing screen reader software, using videophones to facilitate communications with colleagues who are deaf.

Technology Considerations

SourcesVisual Supports for People with AutismJoy ZabalaGlenda’s Assistive Technology BlogAssistive Technology Continuum of Low to High Tech

  • Accessible communications- Providing sign language interpreters or closed captioning at meetings and events making materials available in Braille or large print.
  • Policy enhancements- Modifying a policy to allow a service animal in a business setting. Adjusting work schedules so employees with chronic medical conditions can go to medical appointments and complete their work at alternate times or locations.

Accommodation can cover a wide range of materials and resources, including assistive devices (such as tablets), alternate formats like braille for vision impairments, customized software, flexible schedules, adapted furniture, and work station modifications. We need to continue building inclusive environments to help promote diversity in the workplace. Accommodations ensure that we have an equitable work environment.  Happy 30th Anniversary, American with Disabilities Act (ADA)!

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