What does having a disability mean for your career?

Did you know that this academic year, more than 400 Denison students have submitted documentation of a disability to the Academic Resource Center? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assures that students with disabilities are granted equal access in the classroom. That means these 400 students can qualify for accommodations in the classroom to grant them equal access (which is not the same as success!)

But did you know that the ADA also protects equal access to employment?

So if you’re one of these 400 students, what does that mean for your career planning?

Well, first of all, it means that legally, a potential employer cannot discriminate against you because you have a disability. However, deciding if and when to disclose your disability to a potential employer is not always as straightforward as disclosure to an instructor of a class.

If you are considering disclosing a disability to a potential employer or current employer, here’s a few things to consider:

  • Is there a compelling reason to disclose your disability? Does your disability cause a barrier that is preventing you for competing for a job or performing a job?
  • If yes, when is the right timing to disclose? When applying, when interviewing, before accepting a role, or after accepting a role?
  • How do you disclose? Who do you tell? What do you say?

Rebecca Plank ’15, an alum who has a disability and works as an Associate Attorney explained, “Pay attention to what works for you, what helps you succeed, and self-advocate for access to whatever those supports or tools may be.” This is true for the classroom and the working world!

In the Knowlton Center, we welcome the opportunity to help you reflect on each of these questions. First, take a look at this “Disability Disclosure” guide. We welcome you to schedule a meeting with a Career Coach to discuss.

By Heather Johnston Welliver
Heather Johnston Welliver Career Coach - Healthcare, Clinical Research & Wellness