Job Accommodation Ideas for People with Learning Disabilities

The term “reasonable accommodations” refers to changes in the workplace that enable people with disabilities to effectively perform the tasks associated with their job.

Accommodations can help people with learning disabilities do their job well, even when their disability gets in the way. Accommodations can vary and it is important to choose the right ones to fit your needs.  There are many solutions to help accommodate problems that may get in your way of success.

Accommodations can include variations in:

  • the work space and equipment needed to do the task,
  • the communication of the work,
  • the tasks themselves and
  • the time and place that the work is done.

Choosing the Right Accommodation

To choose the right accommodation it is helpful to:

  1. Analyze the task that is giving you difficulty. Be exact about the nature of the problem.
  2. Analyze the aspect of your disability that is contributing to the difficulty.
  3. Brainstorm solutions and consider changes in the work environment, your work style, your communication style, that of your supervisor, and the job itself.
  4. Implement one of the solutions.
  5. Assess whether the accommodation is meeting your needs and be sure to share feedback with your supervisor and implement any necessary adjustments in work routines in order to sustain your success.

Possible Problems and Solutions

If you have difficulty reading:

  • Install text-to-speech software on your work computer. Windows® has a built-in text-to-speech feature. From the Home button, go to “All Programs,” then “Accessories,” then “Ease of Access,” then “Narrator.” Or download free software such as Natural Reader.
  • Request that your boss give you oral rather than written directions.
  • Ask that important information be highlighted.
  • Discuss reading material with co-workers.
  • Make drawings, diagrams, and/or flowcharts as you read to help organize the information.

If you lose things frequently:

file folders - Job Accommodations for People with LD

  • Organize your work area and keep it that way!
  • Put important objects, such as keys, in the same place each time you use them.
  • Color code items.
  • Keep things on shelves, bulletin boards, or other places that are visible; avoid storage in drawers or cupboards.
  • Attach important objects to the place they belong.

If you have difficulty following spoken directions:

  • ask people to tell you important information slowly and clearly and in a quiet location.
  • ask people to write things down.
  • request that people follow-up their conversations with an e-mail note.
  • ask people to demonstrate tasks, then watch you do it.
  • take notes and ask your supervisor to review them, or write a memo that summarizes the information. With smart pens that have built-in recorders, you can transfer everything you write and hear to your computer so you can see and hear them later.
  • repeat instructions back to people, making sure they verify that your interpretation is correct.
  • record important procedures and instructions so you can playback and review as needed.

If you forget deadlines:

    • Use Web-based reminder systems such as Remember-the-Milk which sends you reminders via e-mail, instant message, or text message.

smart phone - Job Accommodations for People with LD

  • Use a voice organizer or cell phone to remind you of scheduled events. Some voice mail systems and cell phones have scheduling reminders that ring at a specific time and even play a reminder message.
  • Organize files by due dates.


If you have difficulty staying on task when there are interruptions:

  • Put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign when you really need to work without interruption.
  • Do one task at a time. Do not start a new one until the current one is complete.
  • Ask your supervisor to clarify priorities.
  • Request to work in a location that is away from noise and busy office traffic.

If you have difficulty with spelling and grammar.

  • Use spell check and grammar check software.
  • Use word-prediction software.
  • Use text-to-speech software and listen to what you write. Hearing your words may highlight mistakes.
  • Ask a colleague to proof your work, but only those documents that must be proofed.

If you tend to reverse or confuse numbers:

  • Say each number aloud as you write or type it to ensure that it is correct.
  • Do calculations twice, checking to see if the answers are the same.
  • Use a talking calculator.

If you have short-term memory problem:

  • Use mnemonic devices to remember sets of information.
  • Create charts or graphic organizers that allow you to quickly find the information you want.
  • Use web tools such as Evernote which allow you to copy and paste information from websites, create diagrams, record information, and add comments and tags to information that you find.
  • Think about new information and try to associate new ideas with facts that are already familiar.
  • Use a miniature recorder, voice organizer, or a smart pen with a recorder to record what you need to remember.

Author: Dale S.Brown. Dale Brown is a disability policy expert where she works with organizations in improving their products and processes for people with disabilities. She also serves as a consultant to families who have children with disabilities facing difficulties launching themselves to independence. Dale has written five books on disability issues and has given hundreds of speeches and trainings on disability issues.

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© 2013 Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). LDA encourages the distribution of this information. Please provide appropriate credit if portions are cited. Information may not be reprinted for the purpose of resale.

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  1. CHris Sullivan says:

    I looking for the mircel program because when I proof read a document even with some of the softwear I will add a word while I speaking and not really put it in. ANy good suggestions

  2. Hi, my name is Paul. I am looking for a job that’s the most suitable based on my abilities and strengths for my disabilities. My strongest work skills lie in the area of routine work, possible involving numbers, which is concrete and does not heavily involve direct communication with customers or clients. I am also very good at following verbal and written directions and have an excellent memory for learned skills on the job.

  3. Hello my name is audre. I have a mild learning disability I am looking for a job also great for my strengths and weaknesses. I am excellent in customer service , stocking shelves, Microsoft office, attention to detail, artistic skills, etc.

  4. Hello my name is Antoinette I have reading disability and I’m looking for a job thats good for my strengths and weaknesses I’m very good for stocking shelves,cleaning hotel rooms or houses, care for the elderly my spelling is not great my daughter is helping write this comment so please help me out finding a job Thank You!

    • Same here my spelling is jot the best or readying…i have a learning disability ..i am trying to find any kind of job i have a certification in pharmacy technician….its was supper hard and still is..i can read or spell some medication…. I have been trying to find a job that is willing to helpvand train me in the pharmacy.

  5. Hi, my name is Katie and I have dealt with LD since I was in second grade. My my major disabilities are in reading comprehension and writing expression. I am looking for any suggestion any one has on software to help me at work us in helping with writing documents or emails. That could help me write or proof them. I am getting some feed back of being lazy because of bad spelling, i think is more miss us of words. I think you all know how frustrating it is when people see as being lazy when you are working hard and you just don’t know how to write something correctly.

    So any suggesting would be great.

  6. I am helping my 26 yr old son with autism do volunteer/job in an assembly like work or multi-task work. I wonder if working in a hospital/hotels/ warehouse or grocery stores stocking shelves would be ideal. He is physically able to work and often seek approval before continuing the work. He normally would do the job when trained well. He is the type who follows the routine and eventually without guideline supervision.

    Trying to help get him to the next level of life skills

  7. Hi my name is Chris I’m 37 years old on disability having trouble finding a good paying job have kids that I have to support I was sick for a while and when I was sick I cut myself and got in trouble with the law just looking for a know start in life lost my kids as a kid I was in special ed if someone can guide me too finding a good job opportunity let me know I live in new York City thank you

  8. Mary Margaret says:

    My name is Mary Margaret and i have a learning disabilities I’m not good with spelling at all and I’m not good with handling money and numbers but I really need a job so I can get away from the people that are mentally breaking me please help me…

  9. Excellent article! It offers you some valuable tips to live with an LD. You can also visit the following link, which provides a list of some of the devices that can make life easier for the people suffering from LDs or Autism etc.

  10. Kathleen Said says:

    I have a 23 year old son who is having a hard time holding a job. He never tells them that he has a learning disability because he doesn’t want to be treated differently. He continues to lose jobs because of it. How do we find jobs or companies that will work with him. Thanks

  11. Tarneshia Cobbs says:

    Hello my name is Tarneshia. I have learning/reading disability. I’m having a very hard time finding a job. I’m looking for a job thats good for my strengths and weaknesses I’m very good for stocking shelves, writing, helping people and much more. I am also very good at following verbal and written directions and have an excellent memory for learned skills on the job.

  12. Hello, My name is Kim, I have learning disabilities.English and math. I always had it since grade school. I graduate from high school. I went to technical college I struggles in Math and English and other courses. I didn’t pass the Math, failed it. English I got and C, Edit English Skills I receive a D but I worked very hard to receive Administration Clerk/ Receptionist certificate. I having problems keeping good paying through temp service jobs. I always get fired, I just got let go two weeks ago. I didn’t pass the training course I receive low grade twice. Every data entry jobs I had through temp services I got fired. I don’t know what to do. I know when I go on the temp jobs they go so fast to train you. I’m very slow leaner.

  13. I’ve been trying to get a job for years and I have a learning disability and all it is, is a little bit of shyness and anxiety, kind of the same, but all it does is i need to be shown how to do something so i understand. I get told a lot by managers that I don’t get hired by them because of my disability and I want to sue.

  14. Lynn Casey says:

    My name is Lynn and I have LD since I was a year old. I am not good with money. I would like desk job please help me.

  15. Hello

    I’ve had a couple of jobs in my life was hard to hold a job. The best I could say for learning difficulty or dyslexic is domestic, kitchen assistant/catering assistant, on the till if you good with numbers, care assistant if you don’t have short term memory loss and can hold important information. Anything to do with making things at home to selling online making your own business or art gallery/creativity

    I hope this helps people

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