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Reasonable accommodation needs for employees who are visually impaired

Many people with vision limitations have fulfilling careers in the fields that they are interested in; they just need to ask for accommodations.

Accomodations at work for blindness | © PIxabay

Employees with visual disability (PIxabay)

Some organizations have gone out of their way to make such accommodations while others are in the process of working out such arrangements. Some of the adjustments that visually impaired people need from their place of work range from keyboard adjustments at their place of work. This requires employers to invest in a keyboard with physical letters or braille. Sometimes even without braille keyboards that are convex or concave can be helpful since they give the user an idea of what letter the key represents without needing to look at it. Looking at a computer screen can sometimes be challenging for people that are visually impaired.  To mitigate this challenge, an employer or business owner can get a program that reads text out loud to the employee with the option of using a headphone to avoid disturbing the other employees; this gets rid of the need for reading when working from a computer screen. In some cases providing a quiet space for such an employee can enhance their work experience positively. 

A working environment for a visually impaired person should have floor space adjustments; this means there should be provision for clear paths around the office through ensuring that every piece of furniture is far off enough to avoid a situation where one can stumble and fall. If the employee uses a white cane, there should be enough room for its use without the other employees getting in its path. Handrails should be incorporated in such a working space because they come in handy not just for the visually impaired but also for others who have different types of disabilities. They help in adding extra stability in a working space and also for dark spaces. Labeling around the work place is another kind of accommodation that gives a sense of orderliness and reduces the aspect of people asking for directions every now and then. It is also a good way to give tangible directions to those with vision impairments.  Labeling is a very convenient way for people who need to touch to understand what an object is. For example when a coffee maker is labeled, a visually impaired person can easily reach it in the break room, the photocopier among other machines  as well as other hallways and rooms that they may need to use in the course of their work. . 

Other provisions that one can make include assistive technology ranging from an external computer screen magnifier, a digital recorder, a braille embosser, written materials in an accessible format, such as in large print, Braille, in a recorded format, or on a computer disk, a driver or payment for the cost of transportation to enable performance of essential functions and a person to read printed materials. All these would go a long way in making accommodations for the visually impaired persons. 

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