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Accommodating people with hidden disabilities

If they wanted to get away from the crowd, they could go in the quiet room to relax. CHT: Prior to the passing of the ADA, I’d been in the trenches for some time working with people with disabilities.I’ve always worked in nonprofit social service jobs.MP: What are some of the accommodations that a person with mental illness or an addiction disorder can ask for at work?CHT: Examples of workplace accommodation include: allowing for a self-paced work load, flexible work hours, modifying job responsibilities, allowing for leave — paid or unpaid — during periods of hospitalization, assigning an understanding supervisor, modifying work hours to attend appointments such as with a psychiatrist, providing easy access to supervision and support in the workplace and providing frequent guidance about job performance.These are all things you wouldn’t think about if you weren’t a person with a disability, but for a person with a disability these are important civil rights.Before the passing of the ADA in 1990, anybody with a disability could be discriminated against, for example in employment, public accommodations and telecommunications.

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MP: But we’re not just talking workplace accommodations, are we?

But she still thinks that there is work to be done, and she’s committed to staying on the front lines, making sure that all Americans have equal opportunities under the law.

Last week, Tarshish and I talked about her long career — and about hidden disabilities and the ADA. Cindy Held Tarshish: Today we all have certain rights that we take for granted: You can cross the street on a curb cut.

The largest percentage of people with disabilities in this country is actually those whose disabilities are hidden."At the end of July, Tarshish, who has been working alongside people with disabilities since before the ADA’s passage, was among the more than 1,000 people who gathered at the Minnesota History Center to commemorate the ADA's 25th anniversary with a special family day celebration.

The day was a cause for celebration, Tarshish said: In the years since the ADA’s enactment, Americans with disabilities have made great strides in gaining civil rights and legal protections.


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