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Date: 23 Oct 2006
Time: 07:51:38 -0500
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
Itís true that often you canít get a private office or a cubicle in a quiet corner. An employer is only required to provide *reasonable* accommodations, which may not include having a desk available in a desirable location. In my last job, my desk was in a high traffic area and I had to make a lot of phone calls and blocked heavily on one of the digits of my phone number, so when I had to leave voicemails, I was mortified that everyone around me was hearing my blocks, and their presence and noise generally made my stuttering worse. To solve the problem I occasionally found a vacant office or conference to make certain calls from, chose times when there were fewer co-workers around, and occasionally worked from home where it was quiet (telecommuting is an accommodation that employers make for many disabilities), but that didnít solve the overall problem. For me the question came down to whether the environment was making my speech worse or if I was just embarrassed to stutter in front of my colleagues. In the latter case, I chose to not let their reactions bother me. Disclosing my speech to them and discussing it with them helped a bit as well. But when their presence made my stuttering worse, the only option was to change locations for important calls. And wait for another desk or cubicle to open up! Iím sorry if this doesnít provide any good answers, but itís difficult to find an accommodation for stuttering that doesnít limit the scope of your work. You can ask to be relieved from certain duties, such as answering phone or giving speeches, but you have to decide if this is right for you or your career development. Finally, the Job Accommodation Network has a fact sheet on stuttering in the workplace: http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/employmentstutfact.doc Thanks for your post!