Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: I was diagnosed with a disability six months ago and I have not disclosed my diagnosis to my employer. I may need accommodations and may need to disclose my diagnosis, but I am unsure of what to do. Do you have any information, research or resources on disclosing a diagnosis to an employer, other person, or group? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss learning about your rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a study on the disclosure of a stigmatized identity; a NIDILRR-funded study on the pros and cons of disclosing a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis at work; the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing a disability to employers; information for youth with disabilities and their parents on how and when to disclose a disability or diagnosis; and disclosing a disability on the world stage. More about Answered Questions.
- The ADA National Network (ADANN) (in English) helps people with disabilities, employers, educators, service providers, and other professionals gain knowledge about their rights and responsibilities under the ADA, which includes how your rights are affected by disclosing your disability or not. The Network provides resources (in English), including publications in English and Spanish, that help people learn more about the ADA. The ADANN also facilities the coordination, organization, and collaboration among the 10 ADA Regional Centers (in English), including legal briefs such as Invisible Disabilities and the ADA (in English) which reviews legal issues and court decisions and discusses medical inquiries, examinations, and disability disclosure.
From the NARIC Collection:
- The article, Disclosure of a stigmatized identity: A qualitative study of the reasons why people choose to tell or not tell others about their traumatic brain injury (in English), discusses a study that investigated what goals influence the decisions of people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to disclose information about their brain injury or not to people outside of their immediate family and close friends. The researchers found that people with TBI did or did not disclose for various reasons and that experiences of negative and stigmatizing reactions from others were common for those that did disclose.
Research In Focus:
- The article, Disclosing a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis at Work May Have Pros and Cons (also available in English), discusses a NIDILRR-funded study that asked people with MS about their experiences in the workplace after their diagnosis. Researchers found that participants in the study experienced both positive and negative reactions to their disclosure of their diagnosis. They also found that some participants were afraid that disclosing could have a negative impact on their employment and that some participants expressed a desire to have control over when, how, and with whom their diagnosis is shared. If you would like to learn more about this and other NIDILRR-funded studies, take a look through NARIC’s Research In Focus series, which is available in English and Spanish.
- The article, The advantages and disadvantages of disclosing a disability to employers, discusses how disclosing a disability to an employer is an important step in the transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities. The authors include examples of possible advantages of disability disclosure that include workplace accommodations for the employee with disabilities and discusses possible disadvantages of disability disclosure that include issues with confidentiality. The article continues with advice for parents on how to help their child with disabilities learn on how and when to disclose their disability.
Youth in Transition:
- The Utah Parent Center has published a factsheet for youths with disabilities and their parents on how and when to disclose their disability or diagnosis to an employer. The factsheet discuses why youth with disabilities need to disclose, what they need to know to effectively disclose in the workplace, and what parents can do to teach their children about disclosure. The factsheet also includes links to resources that include a video in English, a workbook on disclosure for youths with disabilities, and an info brief from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) (in English) on the role of families and advocates in helping youth with disabilities understand the importance of disability disclosure.
- The article, Prejudices are a major disability, discusses Jesús Vidal, a Spanish actor with visual disabilities, who won the Goya* for Best Actor for his role of a basketball player with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the movie Campeones (subtitles in English). The article describes Mr. Vidal’s speech, which included his disclosure of his visual disabilities and shares Mr. Vidal’s discussion of his acceptance speech, his own disabilities, and how the movie can be used to educate the general public about disabilities. – *The Goya Awards are the Spanish version of the Oscars in the US.
- Do I Tell My Boss?: Disclosing My Mental Health Condition at Work (available for download in Spanish), a factsheet from the NIDILRR-funded The Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (in English), that provides guidance to help young adults with a mental health condition decide whether or not to disclose their condition at work, how, and to. Also available in English.
- If, When, and How to Disclose to an Employer That You Have a Mental Health Disability (in English) is a factsheet from the NIDILRR-funded Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures: Building Self-Determination and Community Living and Participation (in English) that helps young people with mental health conditions determine the best strategies for whether and how to disclose their conditions to an employer.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) (in English) has a guide, Dos and Don’ts of Disclosure, that discusses what to consider in relation to disclosing a disability when beginning a new job, during transition between schools or jobs, or maintaining employment after acquiring a disability. The guide discusses several topics related to disclosing a disability, including disclosing a disability if one needs accommodations, knowing who to communicate with in relation to your disability, and not disclosing in a pressured manner.
About Answered Questions
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.