5 missing steps people don’t take when requesting accommodation

If you ever find yourself shocked or disappointed after an accommodation process. You are wondering how this could be. It usually stems from something that you may not be particularly familiar with. Anyone who experiences a frustrating experience with requesting assistance only realizes that the person or organization they are dealing with isn’t at fault. They’re operating fair and within the law. Yet, you still found yourself in this situation of not experiencing the accommodation process as you imagined. Here are some reasons why.

1. They don’t ask at all

The first step is to ask for support, especially in an environment that isn’t working for you. Maybe they don’t know when it is appropriate to ask. Some people don’t think to request support. As a result, they feel isolated and alone in their problems. They can’t follow along in a classroom setting or are frustrated that they can’t get what they need at the service desk.

For some, the idea of asking means that they disclose a disability or the fear that they are incompetent. This happens when you want to increase your chances of getting promoted. If They are applying for a position advertised, they worry that disclosing will lead to discrimination and not getting hired. But by choosing this belief, they are showing themselves to decide to stay quiet over presenting their best self to land the role.

Accommodations are available when going to movies, theatres, sporting events or church – even God doesn’t discriminate. They don’t need to assume responsibility if they can’t fully access the experience.

If your environment isn’t working for you, you should start by asking for assistance.

2. Checking to see where the law protects them

Americans have strong disability laws but around the world, not so much. If you have a chance to travel to other countries, you’ll notice the challenges of being a person with a disability and the lack of support you may receive.

However, not everything is all glory in the US. Sometimes equal opportunities will not exist. Here are some ways that the laws don’t work in your favour:

  • You can’t perform specific tasks; your employer’s only option is to assign that task to someone else and add more work to their responsibilities without compensation.
  • You live in an old apartment building where it will cost the landlord another mortgage to rewire the building to accommodate just you with hardwired assistive solutions.
  • You are costing your employer a lot of money or financial risk to take on specific responsibilities that could make them bankrupt.
  • You book on Airbnb or a travel share app, only to find that the person lending the space has no knowledge about accommodation.
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3. Unaware of what solutions would work

Even when you are ready to accept accommodations and others are prepared to help, they look at you to tell them what you need. If you haven’t done your research, you could be in for a long ride trying out different solutions. Most of the time, the people who are servicing the accommodation have no idea what your needs are. Some of them would have never had hearing loss.

Sometimes, you’re in a situation where it is a one-time encounter, so you want to be in a position where you’ve got a few options for solutions that you can ask to try. It’s a good idea to know what products work best based on the experiences of your fellow hearing-loss peers. Knowing what technologies and solutions are out there can help you get the help faster.

4. Not exploring options that do not involve technologies

When we think about accommodation, most of us consider the assistive listening device to help us hear better. But accommodation could mean that your bank teller provides services in a private room instead of an open-concept noisy area of the bank. It could mean a change of policy that an organization makes from now on that will consult a member of the Deaf community for advice on how to design their product. It could be more time.

Sometimes listening is not automatic, and we need time to process what we hear. We could use a speech-to-text app but require time to read what was said. If we are being timed for completing a specific task, we could request that extra time be provided.

Accommodation is not about technology, and if the organization doesn’t have one in hand. Rather than ending the accommodation request, come up with other solutions that could work in the meantime without using technology.

5. Not planning for the time required to prepare to acquire accommodation

In some cases, organizations or people are ready and well-prepared. There are some spaces where the service is consistent and standard. They offer only a few options for accommodation. Like at the movie theatre, you can request a closed-caption device. Everyone who is deaf and hard of hearing will get the same solution.

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But when some organizations or people take an individual approach to address each person’s needs, the solution they have in the backroom may not be the best for the individual in need.

This can happen if you start a new job and the employer has a formal process of dealing with accommodation requests. It might be a lengthy process of interviews, budget approvals, testing and reviewing. By the time you get something working, one month has passed already. It’s hard to show up and do your job well under these probation times. It would be ideal to request an extension to your probation period if the accommodation doesn’t show up at the start of your job. You can’t be marked for poor performance when you cannot complete the training or fulfill your responsibilities while waiting for your accommodation.

Being proactive is the key.

The process for requesting accommodation does take work. It isn’t a one-and-done situation. It is continuous, like brushing our teeth. We know how important it is to have clean teeth regularly. We see what happens when we don’t do anything about it. The problem becomes costly and a much bigger issue that can be avoided.

Part of the process of being someone with hearing loss is that you’re responsible for the quality of your life and advocating for how you choose to live. Often that means you’re proactive with what the available solutions are. Know how to use the various solutions to your advantage and ensure others around you understand what environment works best for you to get equal access.

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