Accommodations at work

Kids grow up and that includes kids with NLD. They (nearly all of them, anyway) need to go to work. Many people with NVLD will need accommodations at work. Others won’t exactly need them, but may do better with them than without.

Unfortunately, the accommodations at work are not mandated and not standard. You have to self-advocate. But that is also an opportunity to make or find the perfect accommodation for you.

I would say the process of getting an accommodation at work is a two stage one: First, you have to figure out what accommodation you need. Then you need to get it. Let’s take each in turn.

How to tell what accommodation you need? First, you have to figure out what your issue is: What are you accommodating?  One common issue for NLDers is preferring things in writing to things in speech. This may arise from the fact that much of speech is non-verbal and we often don’t get that part. But many of us are highly literate, or, at least, have good reading comprehension. So, the need is a problem with verbal communication. Next, how could this be accommodated? Brainstorm! Ask on NLD-in-common or NLD-Adult. Think about how this was dealt with in school. Make a list. Then narrow it down. What could be done at work? What would be too much hassle? Perhaps you had a scribe at school, helping with writing. That isn’t going to happen at work (unless you pay for it and a scribe might cost more than you make!). Perhaps you taped lectures and then took notes later. That could be easy: Just ask your boss. Figure out what could work for you and your boss.

Next, you have to get it. In high school and earlier, you were owed accommodations (unless you’re middle aged or older, like me, we got zip). At work, this is rarely if ever the case. So you  have to self-advocate. The key to self-advocacy is to make it be in the other person’s interest to help.  I wrote about this in  Ten things we wish our bosses knew

NLD adults: What has worked for you? What hasn’t?  Let’s help each other out (and help people who are just entering the work force, too)



  1. Personally, I definitely need to have things given to me in writing. I sometimes process speech a bit too slowly, and I have a very, very difficult time keeping multiple directions/objectives in working memory, so having something I can count go back and refer to is extremely useful. I also wish I’d asked my supervisors to briefly walk me through what my “day-to-day” tasks would look like logistically (“Oh, first you go here, and then you go here and do this, and then after you can do this…”) because it’s hard to juggle learning that and learning new tasks. I’ve also found that being held accountable to achieve concrete goals by a certain date is extremely important to my success.

  2. Maureen Cadigan says

    I am seeking NVLD/ADD workplace accommodations and wonder if anyone has put together a list of suggestions.

  3. Hi Maureen

    Not as far as I know.


  4. I have lists of common accommodations in my book, also as handouts that i would give out when i used to give talks about NLD.

  5. Great Yvona. I don’t know, though, if Maureen will see this now.

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