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By Paul Gerber, Ph.D.
It's important to remember that, even if a young person brings the Americans with Disabilities Act to bear on the employment process, there is no guarantee that she will be hired. ADA is an equal opportunity law, whose purpose is to provide job applicants with LD a "level playing field." It is not an affirmative action law. Whether the young person with LD has the qualifications to do the job (with reasonable accommodations, if needed) is the ultimate criterion for hiring her and, subsequently, for evaluating her job performance.
These questions that employers typically ask can serve as a partial "checklist" of important job search and employment skills for a young person with LD. In order to answer them effectively, young people in middle school and high school should be encouraged to think about and become competent in self-knowledge, self-disclosure, and self-advocacy, particularly in relation to their LD. They must understand and be conversant about their LD as it applies to productivity in the workplace. Young people who are able to master these competencies are more likely to be competitive in job seeking, and successful as an employee.
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