Supervising Student Staff with Disabilities

Opportunities for campus jobs are open to all students.

As additional students with disabilities arrive on campus, and many of them arrive with multiple, complicated diagnoses, almost everyone who has student employees has the possibility of hiring a student with a disability. Whether or not a student discloses a disability is a personal decision and is solely the decision of the student (unless there is an emergency or the student is a threat to self or others). Consequently a supervisor may or may not be told by the student that he/she/they has a disability and it is likely that the supervisor will not know the nature of the disability unless the student provides it.

Consequently, some students may need accommodations within their work environment. Most often, if a student discloses a disability and it appears to be impacting him/her at work, the supervisor and student have a private, yet informal meeting to discuss meeting work expectations in a reasonable manner given the situation.

The student does not need to provide any details regarding his/her disability in order to receive accommodations. However, you are encouraged to ask the student if he/she can envision ways in which his/her disability may affect the manner in which you supervise the student.

A student may need such things as

  • information or directions need to be written
  • written information needs to be enlarged or put in an audio format
  • assistance with reading social cues
  • work assignment adjustments (e.g. a student with a written expression disorder should not be expected to frequently write on a limited time basis; students with executive functioning challenges may need assistance staying organized with multiple projects)
  • help in remembering appointments and schedules
  • reassignment to duties that do not require a certain skill or ability (e.g. mathematics, map reading, or physical dexterity)

During the process, make sure to continue the philosophy of enabling students to become self-advocates. It is important that they hone this skill to prepare themselves for life after college.

If a supervisor thinks it is necessary, he/she may request substantiation of a disability and verification that the requested accommodations or work adjustments are appropriate. Refer the student to Learning Enrichment and Disability Services to facilitate this process.

Like all situations, this information is confidential and is not to be shared. Similar to instructors and advisors, supervisors with questions that are disability related should ask the student first, but also may consult with the Director of LEADS if there is a need to know or the student has provided a release.

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