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In the Workplace and School

Employment Preparation Services

Persons with epilepsy often need help in securing appropriate employment, and help on how to prepare a job application or how to prepare for an interview. The Skills Training Employment Preparation Services (STEPS) is an epilepsy-specific program designed to address the psycho-social aspects of individuals with epilepsy who wish to join the workforce. These aspects include: epilepsy education, seizure control, medication management, anger resolution, disclosure issues, attitudes, job seeking and job keeping skills.

STEPS helps people with epilepsy develop and refine the necessary skills for gaining employment. The program teaches assertiveness, self confidence, the power of positive attitude, motivation, resume building, proper business etiquette, how to resolve anger issues towards epilepsy, how to adjust to issues surrounding epilepsy, how to handle frustrations and how to manage stress. The program also discusses when and how to disclose to an employer that you have epilepsy.

The free classes take place at the main office of the Epilepsy Alliance Ohio (895 Central Avenue, Suite 550, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202).

Advocacy in the Workplace

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect over fifteen years ago, both employers and employees are often not fully aware of the civil rights law that offers protections that “level the playing field” for persons with disabilities.

ADA Title I provisions apply to employers who have 15 or more employees and mandates that persons with disabilities, who are qualified for the job they seek, may not be discriminated against throughout the hiring process or during employment with respect to training, promotions or any other employment privilege. This act restricts employers from asking about a person’s disability before an offer of employment is made and requires that reasonable accommodations be made unless the employer is able to prove undue hardship.

Discriminatory practices and refusal to accommodate a disabled employee, when such accommodations would allow an otherwise qualified person to perform the essential functions of a job, can be a major issue in the workplace for persons with epilepsy. Having a seizure at work, or requesting a shift change as an accommodation, may raise concerns for the employer that places an employee’s job in jeopardy. Alliance staff members are available to work with the employee and the employer to develop a mutually agreeable plan before formal action becomes necessary. If this fails, the Alliance offers support and assistance to the employee in filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Disability discrimination is not limited to the workplace as educational settings can also abridge the rights of children and adults with disabilities by failing to offer programs and services that identify and address these problems. Special provisions are provided for evaluation and planning for those having academic difficulty which includes 504 and Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), as well as, resources such as Office for Students with Disabilities on college campuses. The Foundation offers information and material on educational protections and referral to agencies that can assist the parent or individuals in resolving educational concerns.