Does your company work with handicapped persons?

I work with people with special needs. Everything from developmental delays to physical handicaps. I ask employers to set aside one job that a person with say limited cognitive abilities can do. For example, handing out mail or sorting things. Sort of like how say grocery stores have certain people bagging groceries.

Now very often accommodations have to be made. For example, a person with autism can be great at a basic job like sorting but are terrible with people. You have to tell others to just not talk to them and they cant be with customers. In one place they have alot of deaf workers so they have a supervisor who can translate. A local movie chain has a crew of them to clean theaters.

Very often the employers find out these “special” people turn out to be pretty good at what they do. Good attitude, good attendance, they dont gossip or form cliques and such.
But not always. For example the young men have a terrible problem with boundaries and learning what not to say so they will say something of a sexual nature to a female and have to be fired.

So I’d like to ask, have any of you worked with disabled or workers with special needs? What accommodations did you have to make for them? How did it work out?

My current client doesn’t have any special-needs workers I know of, but I’ve worked in other places which did.

One of them, in Seville, was pretty spectacular in that respect and about no-discrimination policies in general. The company’s home office was a campus of six buildings, with a central area housing the cafeteria, travel agency and other services. The receptionist for our building walked with crutches and evidently had done so since childhood; the “accessible” gates and bathrooms got modified because they were designed thinking “wheelchair” and didn’t suit her needs. There was an accountant who had a bunch of tics, several people missing part of a limb, a few people who were in the very-hard side of hard of hearing (I don’t know if any was completely deaf).
The last working day before Christmas, the company’s head honchos went through the whole campus shaking hands and thanking people for our service. One of them had the kind of deformity we associate with thalidomide, which sadly is also relatively frequent near the Rio Tinto mines: his left arm was normal, his right hand was a baby hand sticking directly out of his shoulder. He was pretty surprised when I offered my left hand: most people didn’t, making the shake quite awkward.

The supermarket where I shopped most often during that assignment also had several workers with disabilities that might or might not need accomodation, but which would discourage many people from hiring that person just on account of not being “perfect”. One of the cashiers only appeared to have one of the bones in each finger of her right hand, thumb included; she did have nails in that hand but they were stunted. There were a few packages she had problems with, the customers who knew her also knew which packages it was best to put on a specific side. It doesn’t take more time, just a bit more thought.

I’ve noticed that often the same companies which are open about not discriminating by reason of having some sort of disability also do not discriminate by reason of having a penal record; if you’re willing and able to do a good job, they’re willing and able to let you try.

One guy at work now uses a wheelchair. The building already has ramps and elevators, so no special accommodations needed. A couple of jobs ago, two guys I worked with had AIDS, but the only special accommodation they needed was that everyone else was supposed to not come to work if they had an infection like a cold or virus, to avoid making them sicker. They only were there six months or so (both died - this was long before the treatments they have nowadays).

I work in IT, so nobody with developmental difficulties. Except one guy, Ed, and I am not sure it counts - he was brilliant.

We sat in meetings talking about the specs for the project for two days. Ed sat off by himself, never speaking, never making eye contact with anyone. At the end of the second day, they asked Ed “do you think you can do it?”

Ed said, looking at the floor, “Yeah”.

Three days later, Ed reappears, hands over the code, and disappears. That code fucking hummed. It became the basis for our Y2K scan system, and the company sold it to other companies and made a significant profit.

I asked my contact with the company, “Who is this guy? Is he married? What does he do?”

My contact said, “Nobody knows. We just tell Ed what to do, wait a few days, and it just happens. He doesn’t go to meetings, he doesn’t talk on the phone. He’s just - Ed.”


Several offices on campus installed these button activated door openers for wheelchairs.

It’s puts extra responsibility on our staff. Someone has to flip the switch at 5pm. Otherwise it’s not locked. One button push and the exterior door opens. :eek:

8AM flip the switch for daytime use.

Weekends, set switch to open with key. Otherwise a disabled staff member can’t get in the building without manually opening the door.

The switch is three position. 1. open with key 2. Open with button 3. OFF

Sorry, I’m confused. How does everyone else open the doors?

The regular door key still works normally. The door is unlocked at 8AM for public use. Anyone can open it manually or press the button.

The door opener has a key that can also unlock the door. (same lock) for after hours use when a disabled staff person enters.

We try to never set it to off. Because then the disabled staff person’s special key won’t work. She does have a regular key too, but swinging open a heavy door is difficult for her.

Similar story. A friend in IT said at his work their was this ONE guy, whom they said “If you have a problem, slide it under the door to the guy with the ponytail”.
Probably has a form of aspergers.

Warehouse/shipping facility for a major internet company starting with the letter “A”.

Mixed on how well it works depending on the individual. I have trained and worked with several autistic individuals and a couple Down’s and the majority have been great. For a while we had a fair number of deaf workers but TPTB slowly tossed them away rather than make the effort to communicate with them. Physical handicaps we’re (at least our site) pretty bad at. We have had people who could do a particular task better than a fully able person yet because they can’t do every random task they end up shuffled aside and either fired or generally driven out.

We had this one guy ---------- we have a job called “pick off” where you quickly have to sort packages onto one of two conveyor belts. We’re talking more than one a second. This dude was amazing. For the average person you will miss one or two packages a minute over 4 hours. This dude missed one of two A SHIFT. If you were downstream of him and got 5 wrong packages in a night you knew he was sick. One day I was lead near him and he started waving his arms at me so I went to see if he needed to hit the restroom. No ------- his leg came off. :smack: I took over for a minute while he readjusted everything right there and slammed right back into his job. I had never known he had one artificial limb. He was great at his job and great to work with but they started assigning him to tasks that require a lot of twisting and walking at the same time he couldn’t do. So he quit just ahead of being fired. It pissed us all off to no end.

We’ve had a couple great bosses who would learn names and make adjustments to people’s strengths and make it a great place to work. But these days its “one size fits all” and computer generated schedules and no exceptions do what you are assigned. That philosophy and a physical limitation don’t go well together.

I work in a cafe kitchen, we don’t have any handicapped folks. But my boss has given employment opportunities to work release people. In general they do pretty well,as so few places are willing to give them a chance.

Now my son works at a restaurant and they employ him to fold napkins, roll up silverware in napkins, and set up chairs.

The post office once had a guy like that who sorted mail. He was awesome at his job. Never missed a day of work. Never caused trouble.

BUT, like you say, the post office cant leave a person at the job they excell at. They insist he do other things like handle customers at the counter.

They had to really work with the union to get it changed so he would just do sorting.

The store I work at hires special ed people to do pricing. Once the price gun is set up right and they know where to put the sticker, they do very well.

We also have a young man who I think is autistic, but who knows where everything in the store is located. He return things to the right place on the shelf and tells people where to find it. He is a whiz.

My company hires autistic and other mildly disabled folks to keep the various kitchen areas clean. Each floor of the building has a kitchen with coffee service, ice, a dishwasher, fridge, etc and the disabled folks make sure it’s clean, empty the dishes, straighten chairs and wipe down tables. I’m not in the home office much but I’ve never seen the kitchens looking anything but perfect, so it must be working out well.

It’s not at my company, but another company that I used to work with had a schizophrenic worker. He was a bit weird, but he was a nice guy and did a good job. They generally kept him away from the customers.

I had a good working relationship with the guy that ran the company, so I talked to a lot of the folks working behind the scenes. Basically, the rule for this guy was not to talk about anything that might set him off, and if he did start going off about black helicopters or implants in his brain or whatever, just nod and smile and let him talk, but don’t encourage him.

It worked out well. The guy was a good employee, and I had a lot of respect for the company owner for giving him a chance despite his mental issues. I wouldn’t have thought that someone with schizophrenia could hold down a job like that, but he proved me wrong.

I don’t work with this company much these days, so I have no idea if he is still there or not.

I love hearing stories like this where companies worked with a persons disability and told others how to deal with them. As I said often they can do a job but its their interactions with others where they mess up.

I have worked with three that I can think of right away: one person with very poor vision (he had a seeing eye dog, and a specially adapted computer), one with a standard (non-powered) wheelchair, who did exactly the same job I did when we were coworkers, and one who has a physical developmental disorder (very short and asymmetrical, and while I’m sure his hands work perfectly well the fingers are very short) and has to use a powered wheelchair. We have a wheelchair-accessible front door, and elevators, but I’m not entirely sure if all the internal doors are wheelchair-accessible.

There are also several people who need to use canes, including at least one with a knee brace who also seemed to have severe scoliosis. I know a few who had learning disorders and depression (the “invisible” issues). I think one person had a mild hearing disorder, and needed their phone modified.

However, none of the employees at my workplace have any intellectual disorders. I don’t think it’s possible to do that kind of job with that type of disorder.