An In-Depth Exploration of Reasonable Accommodations and the Interactive Process (1 hour)

This training is developed and delivered in collaboration with the Disability Law Center.

The interactive process is essential to an employer’s compliance with the ADA’s mandate that employees with disabilities be provided effective reasonable accommodations. Both employers and employees should engage in the interactive process in “good faith” but there are no explicit rules for what that means, or for what does or does not constitute a reasonable accommodation in any given job category. Therefore, it is important for managers and human resources professionals to understand and implement best practices for recognizing and addressing reasonable accommodation requests from job applicants and employees. This training will provide an in-depth analysis of the interactive process and recommend tips and strategies that you can use to avoid common pitfalls that occasionally lead to legal disputes.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between accommodations which are reasonable in the workplace and which are not reasonable or constitute an undue hardship.
  2. Recognize when a request for reasonable accommodation is made by an employee.
  3. Use best practices while engaging in an interactive process with an employee who has requested reasonable accommodation.
  4. Choose and implement the best options for both the employer and the employee.

Strategies to Support Mental Health in the Workplace (1 hour)

This training is developed and delivered in collaboration with Dori S. Hutchinson, Sc.D., CPRP, CFRP, Executive Director/Director of Services Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University.

It has been several years of ongoing and often intense change – a global pandemic, altered work schedules and environments, political and social justice tensions- they all have had and continue to have, a powerful impact on our mental health and functioning in our personal lives and at work. Supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing is a return on investment as mental health disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Workplaces and supervisors are often uncomfortable or unsure of best practices to build a culture that supports mental health as the foundation for successful employment and wellbeing. During this interactive training, we will discuss key strategies and best practices staff and leaders can implement, promote, and provide to support wellness & resiliency.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the signs of a mental health condition.
  • Describe the psychological impact of distress, mental health conditions and chronic stress can have on individual and workplace functioning.
  • Identify at least 3 strategies to support yourself.
  • Utilize a key communication strategy to assist employees to seek assistance and reasonable accommodations.
  • Identify key messaging to promote mental health and build a supportive workplace.

Disability Dialogue

A Work Without Limits Disability Inclusion core training is required as a prerequisite. (Disability Etiquette, Disability Awareness: What is Disability & Why it Matters to Business, Interviewing Candidates with Disabilities, Conducting Performance Discussions with Employees with Disabilities)

In response to “We want MORE!” from training attendees, this open Q&A discussion is designed to follow a disability inclusion core training or series of trainings. Disability Dialogue is designed to be a safe and open space to ask general disability inclusion follow-up questions that continue and deepen the conversation from a previous training or trainings. Facilitated by a Work Without Limits team member, Disability Dialogue is driven by participant questions. Though not mandatory, it is best practice for organizations to collect and submit anonymous questions to Work Without Limits in advance to help jump start the conversation. The session will not be around any specific organizational policy, hiring practice, or particular employee, but rather is a continuation of previous training driven by participant needs and follow up questions.

EVALUATION COMMENTS

“The brave space provided for people to share their story without judgement!”

“Very relaxed atmosphere, plenty of time for others to think about what they wanted to say and then lots of space to allow them to speak. (I am sometimes slow to put my thoughts together and articulate them, so this was a good feeling form. I wasn’t rushed.)”

“This training is something I think a majority of the workforce should go through, or at least give them some exposure to the idea of “others” who are not like them.”

 

 

Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations 101 (1 hour)

This training focuses on some basic steps to make PowerPoint presentations accessible for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. Basic rules for developing accessible PowerPoint presentations will be covered. These same rules can be applied to other applications like Microsoft Word and when creating content for websites. Accessibility means that people with disabilities can access the same things as those without a disability, whether it is a physical, cognitive, hearing, or visual impairment.

After completing this training, you will be able to:

  1. Describe why accessibility is important
  2. List six basic steps to making PowerPoint presentations accessible
  3. Use the PowerPoint Accessibility Checker to identify and fix accessibility issues

This workshop is suitable for anyone producing a presentation using PowerPoint.

 

Past Training Evaluation Comments

“This training was very informative and engaging.”

“I really appreciate the CHARTT guidelines and online contrast checker tool.”

“I liked that it was basic and didn’t assume we already knew things.”

“My key takeaways: The point of not using pictures for graphs, and not relying on visual cues for directions or explanation. It was enlightening.”

“Having worked in administration at both Perkins School for the Blind and Commonwealth Care Alliance, I am somewhat of an evangelist in this area. Bravo, this training was great.”

 

Creating Accessible Word Documents 101 (1 hour)

Pre-requisites: Basic knowledge and experience using a current version of Microsoft Word for Windows

This foundational training is appropriate for anyone interested in learning basic Word document accessibility. This training will include a discussion of why document accessibility matters. Participants will learn about Word styles including heading and list styles, making thoughtful decisions around using color and other text formatting, ensuring that images are accessible, and utilizing Word’s built-in Accessibility Checker. The rationale for including these important accessibility features will be explained and the steps necessary to apply these formatting attributes will be shown. Practices that document authors should avoid and features that are preserved when converting from Word to PDF format will also be addressed. A screen reader demonstration will provide participants with a better understanding of how document accessibility can impact an end user’s experience. Attendees will receive a detailed electronic resource with step-by-step instructions for future reference.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe why document accessibility matters and how it contributes to more inclusive communications
  • Explain the importance of headings, lists, color and text formatting considerations, and accessible images
  • Apply heading and list styles, describe important color and text formatting considerations, and insert accessible images in Word documents
  • Locate and use Word’s built-in Accessibility Checker

Taking care of your mental health during challenging times (1 Hour)

It has been two long years and few of us could have imagined how our world would change – a global pandemic, social justice and humanitarian tensions, and even a war is added to the list. After a transformative and difficult time, we are moving cautiously forward. However, there are and have been ramifications which are proving to be lasting at work, at home and with our mental health and physical health. Many of us feel worn down, even burned out by the continued stress. During this webinar, a range of key actions and best practices leaders and staff can take to practice wellness & resiliency during these challenges to best perform and thrive will be discussed.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the psychological context that can empower collective understanding and personal actions to build wellness and resiliency
  2. Identify at least 3 emotional, cognitive, physical, social, spiritual and caretaking tips and strategies for staying well and resilient
  3. Find personal meaning and opportunities for growth during this unprecedented and collective experience

COMMENTS

“The presenter was very knowledgeable and had a very calming voice and way of presenting which I found very helpful.”

“I liked that it felt personal and genuine. I appreciated the reflective questions the most. The polls were great too.”

“The presenter gave effective tips for creating boundaries between work and life.”

“Good to hear medication isn’t always the answer and studies have shown that exercise and other more natural ways are just as, and even more, effective.”

“A lot of people feel the same way as I do. It can be easy to assume you are alone when dealing with stress and anxiety.”

“Great training. It has already helped me and the class was just a few hours ago!”

Key Takeaways

“My company wants me to be healthy so I can be a better person and employee.”

“The explanations about the good relaxing effect of breathing through the mouth with a sound on the brain and the connections between stress and negative effects on the body, the production of toxic and non-toxic hormones.”

“Remember to get out every day. Calm is a superpower.”

Supporting Employees with Mental Health Challenges (1 hour)

Supporting employees with mental health challenges is a return on investment as mental health disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Despite this fact, workplaces and supervisors struggle on how to balance support and success for their employees who are dealing with mental health conditions.

A detailed range of key actions and best practices leaders can take to assist employees with mental health conditions to perform and thrive will be discussed.

After attending this workshop, supervisors and staff will be able to:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition in the workplace
  • Utilize key conversation strategies to assist employees to seek assistance
  • Collaborate on potential workplace reasonable accommodations
  • Identify key messaging and language to promote the mental health of all employees and create a work culture that is inclusive and supportive

This workshop is suitable for human resources staff and general supervisors/leadership.

Evaluation Comments

“Practical information about how mental health issues manifest in observable behavior, and how to respond in a way that is supportive and helpful. The speaker was excellent.”

“I loved that the training gave ways for Leaders/HR to assist employees, however it also shed light that it’s up to the individual to open up as well.”

“I think everybody can relate to what was presented in one way or another.”

“Good mixture of content with both current research ideas and employment law considerations intermingled, very knowledgeable and trusted presenter.”

“Thank you for this introduction and conveyance of compassion. Until you spend the time to realize all people have “something” going on, you overlook how you can be helpful. The just 5 mins of reassurance that doesn’t take much, but is HUGE for some people.”

Key Takeaways:

“We can do more to actively communicate that mental health is health (and that we’ll treat it that way as employers).”

“I had an aha! moment and realized how the continued stress, isolation from family/friends and separation from my church is impacting me and that I need to take self-care more seriously.”

“The eight dimensions of wellness. Never occurred to me there were so many other forms of wellness other than just mental. They all affect the mental.”

“That mental health is a serious thing and we shouldn’t be afraid of talking about it.”

Neurodiversity in the Workplace (1 hour)

This training is developed and delivered in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital Aspire Works Program.

When we typically think about diversity, we usually consider race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, and learning disabilities are also part of what makes our workplaces diverse. This workshop expands upon the conventional understanding of these “hidden disabilities” by applying the strength-based perspective of Neurodiversity (valuing differences in how people think and learn).

In this training, you will gain an understanding of the autism spectrum and ADHD through a strength-based lens. Throughout interactive group exercises and discussions, you will learn how to recognize and address systemic barriers to employment and access this unique talent pipeline. You will also learn how to build a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace culture that is supportive of Neurodiversity.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the Neurodiversity strength-based philosophy and how it distinguishes itself from disability-centered models and accurately define core terms of this approach.
  • Recognize and identify barriers within the workplace that limit the success of neurodiverse individuals.
  • Identify 3 practical tools to use within the workplace to address barriers and promote inclusive practices.

Evaluation Comments

“I loved the strengths-based lens of switching the deficit medical-model viewpoint to an asset-based viewpoint. So valuable for the organizational culture!”

“I was able to view neurodiversity in a different way. I appreciated the brainstorming that we did.”

“My key takeaway: Change the environment for the person rather than changing the person to fit the environment.”

“I really liked the reframing of neurodiversity as a strength vs. liability, the slides that showed the shifting paradigms.”

“I loved how the presenter connected the diagnostic criteria for ASD and ADHD to the unique skills that neurodivergent individuals could bring to the workplace.”

Supporting the Career Development of College Students with Mental Health Conditions (2 hours)

Today’s college students, also known as the iGeneration, are accomplished, tech natives and driven. Yet as many as 35% live with mental health conditions that can challenge their career path through college and beyond. This 2 hour workshop will provide employment service providers and college staff an overview of how mental health conditions can impact the educational and employment skill development of college students as well as key strategies for providers to help students achieve their main goals. Reasonable accommodations, wellness management and supervisory strategies will be discussed.

After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the interconnection of academics, employment and mental health in college students
  • Gain a toolbox of strategies to help college students achieve their career goals
  • Feel empowered to communicate with students about wellness management strategies to support their career development
  • Present their personal dilemmas with students and receive consultation on best practices to support that person

Comments:

“The speaker was incredibly knowledgeable, but also very thoughtful and sensitive about the topic and towards audience-members’ personal sharing.”

“I liked best the integration – the integrity of the examples shared being based on personal experience of working in higher ed, supported by excellent research.”

“I appreciated meeting as both students and adults. It was very meaningful getting to let down the professional side and learn together and from each other.”

“The articulation of the idea that rather than further stressors to a person with a mental health condition, having a job actually helps that person to have decreased symptoms. Jobs help give us meaning and structure and therefore would be combative when it comes these issues.”

“It was a great event, which highlighted the challenges but also offered some practical ways we can support students. More of this please.”

 

Disability Etiquette (1 hour)

This highly requested workshop has attendees explore and exercise best practices and tips for engaging with people with all types of disabilities in both personal and professional settings.

Through the use of mini-lectures, videos, and case studies, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the importance of and difference between ‘person-first’ and ‘identity-first’ language
  • Demonstrate related language do’s and don’ts
  • Describe basic norms for interacting with co-workers with specific types of disabilities including apparent disabilities such as vision, hearing, and mobility impairments as well as mental health, learning, and other non-apparent disabilities
  • Practice positive and effective strategies for handling diverse situations, offering to help, and avoiding offending someone

 

EVALUATION COMMENTS

“The strategies shared are immediately actionable for me as a leader.”

“I liked the interactive nature through use of the chat box, case studies, and polling questions. Bonnie also took clear steps to make it an inclusive and safe space for learning and asking questions. It also didn’t feel rushed, which also helped make it feel like a safe space.” – Newton-Wellesley Hospital employee

“On behalf of the disAbilities Awareness Network and Wellington Management, we want to sincerely thank and express our gratitude to you for taking time to speak with us this morning about disability etiquette. We all benefitted from the engaging session and your deep expertise and took away many lessons about disabilities in the workplace, how we can have an impact by being person-first (#ATP!), and best practices for hiring. We wish you all the best in the coming months, and look forward to connecting again soon!”

“I liked the questions being asked which provoke thought and best actions. She talked a lot about proper terms to use and not use when speaking to or about a disabled person.” – Newton-Wellesley Hospital employee

“Power-packed hour. Extremely effective use of time. Fit a lot of excellent content into a narrow window.” – State Street employee

“I like that we got the opportunity to test our knowledge with the case studies.” – Boston University employee

“I think this is something that everyone, everywhere should take as a course on personal/professional growth.” – State Street employee

“That session was truly awesome and super helpful in terms of providing education and awareness for employees.  Loved all the scenarios and it’s a great way to really help folks understand etiquette around this topic.” – Shauna Thompson,  Assistant Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion- Human Resources @ Brown Brothers Harriman

“Presenter was excellent, format was compact, concise and interactive.”