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The Team at ALSO

March 20, 2023

An intellectually disabled person employed at a store.

5 Tips for Reasonable Accommodation Requests

At ALSO, we believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve the opportunity for full inclusion in their community. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual is considered as having a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities, if they have a record of such impairment, or are regarded as having the impairment.

Today we share how reasonable accommodation in employment and housing enables people with disabilities to have equal opportunity in enjoying community life. Additionally, we’ll provide tips on how to make a reasonable accommodation request.

What are Reasonable Accommodation Requests?

An intellectually disabled employee stocks soda boxes in a grocery store.

In Employment

The ADA National Network describes reasonable accommodations as changes that allow a qualified individual to perform essential functions of the job, which results in equal employment opportunities. This applies to the following:

  • Application process
  • Hiring process
  • Job itself
  • Work environment

Here are some examples of workplace accommodations:

  • Receiving a job application in an alternative format (such as Braille for those with visual impairments).
  • Flexible work schedules for healthcare appointments or complex transportation arrangements.
  • Structural changes, such as wheelchair ramps.
  • Assistive technology that supports hands-free word processing.
  • Quieter work areas for individuals who function better in a low-noise environment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

In Housing

The Fair Housing Act (FHA), which falls under the federal agency of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), protects people with disabilities from discrimination in matters of housing. This includes having equal access to common areas, such as the lobby or courtyard.

These laws cover not only home seekers with disabilities, but also buyers and renters who are associated with or live with them. 

A few examples of reasonable accommodations in housing include the following:

  • Designated handicapped parking spaces and related signage.
  • Permitting service animals even if they aren’t normally allowed.
  • Allowing visiting and live-in care providers to park in lots normally reserved only for residents.

A reasonable modification is a specific type of reasonable accommodation request. These are structural changes such as sidewalk ramps, and the widening of hallways and doorways.


Useful Tips for Success in Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

An intellectually disabled employee cleans roller skate rentals at a skating rink.

1. Get Support

Whether you have a disability yourself or you are supporting someone who does, know that the reasonable accommodation process can be complicated. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers! Perhaps you know someone with a disability who has received reasonable accommodation— they are often a great resource. Other resources include:

  • Case workers that have experience with an individual’s disability.
  • Service providers with knowledge of the functional limitations and (if needed), specific medical condition.
  • Trusted friends/family members.

2. Put it in Writing

Although it’s not required to put the requested accommodation in writing, it’s always a good idea. This makes the request crystal clear. For communications that aren’t in writing, try to document them and the dates on which they occur.

3. Honesty and Clarity

The initial request should be as clear as possible, so that the housing provider and employer can understand the important details of specific accommodations. It’s totally ok to be honest!  Keep in mind that you are giving the employer and housing provider the tools they need for success. Remember that you don’t need to give detailed medical information. It’s the functional limitations that are more important (eg. quieter work area, flexible work schedule).

4. It’s an Interactive Process

You, housing providers, and employers are all afforded rights in the process. They aren’t required to provide accommodations that cause undue hardship or administrative burdens, but they must engage with you to come to an agreement together. The best solutions are made on a case-by-case basis. Alternative accommodation is always possible. For example, maybe a small apartment house owner can’t provide an elevator for someone who uses a wheelchair. However, maybe the dwelling can be located on the first floor.

5. Be Confident!

Lastly, be confident! Those of us with disabilities can be superbly qualified employees and great neighbors. We have many talents and personality traits to share in our living and working communities. When speaking with others, be open about those many strengths.

Disability Support Services from ALSO

A group of ALSO heart workers with intellectually disabled clients.

At ALSO, we have helped to facilitate amazing collaborative relationships between people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, employers, and housing providers. Reasonable accommodations are great contributors to the ideal of true diversity, equality, and inclusion in society. If you’d like to take part in our efforts or learn more email us at or call us at (503) 489-6565!

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