Friday, October 13, 2006

Employees with Dyslexia & ADD Have Difficulty Transitioning from School to Workforce

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John Brennan, who has dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, was a hard-working student in high school, earning B's and C's with the help of special accommodations, such as extra assistance reading his test questions.

But entering the workplace after graduation was a shock. Mr. Brennan says he enrolled in a training program to service luxury cars, but he was criticized for "holding the class back" and dismissed. Then he joined an auto-repair shop that promised him training, but says the shop sidetracked him instead into a dead-end job. Fed up with trying to work for other people, Mr. Brennan says he has enrolled in junior college near his Acton, Mass., home, with plans to start his own business.

Amid rapid growth in diagnoses of learning disabilities and special-education programs to address them, more young adults are entering the workplace with known learning differences and a history of receiving accommodations. But few employers have adapted training or job expectations for workers with learning disabilities. The lack of special accommodations has meant a rude awakening for many young workers, fueling on-the-job tensions and a rising tide of discrimination complaints.

The problem, explains Sue Shellenbarger in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, is the difference in accommodation requiements between the IDEA (governing accommodation in public education) and Title I of the ADA (governing accommodation in the workplace).  See Employees with ADD, Dyslexia Find Office Less Accommodating.

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