Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McAllister, Carolyn


Workplace accommodations can be categorized as tools or processes that are needed by a person with a disability to complete their job responsibilities. Research has demonstrated that the provision of reasonable accommodations has been linked to the employability rates of people with disabilities. Considering that the passing of the ADA occurred over 30 years ago and that the persistently high unemployment rate amongst the blind and visually impaired population remains a prevalent issue, it is important to evaluate what blind or visually impaired individuals face when requesting workplace accommodations. Research on this topic will help identify any significant contributing factors that might be hindering the reasonable accommodation process and with this the employment rates of this population.

The evaluation of this research topic was accomplished by the gathering of qualitative data via the completion of six semi-structured interviews with employed blind or low vision participants. During the data analysis process, the important concepts that emerged from the data were indications that there are gaps in the reasonable accommodation process. This included inaccessible technology and having to continually remind employers of the pending or established workplace accommodations. The data also implicated that there is a deficit in awareness and training for employers. This included the employer’s lack of knowledge of the Americans with Disability Act and a lack of awareness of disability-sensitive practices. The third important concept was the benefits of a ground-up approach to reasonable accommodations (RA). The last theme was the notion of “going the extra mile”. This last theme illustrates that reasonable accommodation is one contributing factor in the adaptation and adjustment process to a disability in the workplace. These findings have the potential to guide those in the realm of social work by providing an overview of what challenges disabled clients face in the job sector. This data provides insight on the need for evaluation of the underlying factors that contribute to the issues faced by employees with disabilities and if any can be addressed through legislative advocacy on the rights of the disabled community.