- October 19, 2023
The Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool: Enhancing Workplace Accessibility
Are you looking for ideas on how to manage your multiple sclerosis (MS) at work? If you’re like many people living with MS, you want to keep working. You might need some support to manage in the workplace but aren’t sure what that support should look like. The JDAPT can help you identify accommodation strategies and suggestions about discussing accommodations with employers, making it a key tool in enhancing workplace accessibility.
Pronounced “jay-dapt," this resource is more formally known as the Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool. It’s a free, online tool developed by the Accommodating and Communicating About Episodic Disabilities (ACED) Project, of which MS Canada was a partner. Designed to get you thinking about the demands of your job and how you can better manage them, JDAPT provides you with a list of support ideas that can help you continue to work comfortably, safely, and productively now and into the future.
Although JDAPT can be used by anyone who wants strategies for work accommodations, it’s aimed at those with an episodic disability. This refers to a chronic health condition that impacts you differently over time. Some days you feel just fine. Other days? Not so much. This experience will sound familiar to you if you live with MS. JDAPT takes the episodic nature of MS into account and can help you and your workplace prepare for the times when you need accommodation to be able to work.
The Job Demands and Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT)
JDAPT is a flexible online tool that helps you assess the demands of your job. It can be used for all sorts of jobs, as it prompts you to think about four areas: physical demands, cognitive demands, interpersonal demands, and working conditions. It then gives you ideas for accommodation that can make the job more accessible. Some ideas and strategies you can implement on your own, while others may need approval from your workplace. You can use JDAPT as a starting point for conversations with your employer.
An anonymous employee who lives with MS had this to say about the tool:
“It was helpful. It broke it down into good categories, gave good explanations. And then, it was very uniform, so when I completed one section and then I moved to the next, it was basically asking me the same thing, so I didn’t have to re-read everything again... So it was easier to follow, because you were kind of, not anticipating, but that’s maybe the best word I can use.”
JDAPT has a tool for individuals and one for organizations. It helps you think about the demands your job places on you, how difficult you find those demands, and how often they’re a concern. It then creates a list of possible solutions you can try. Features include:
- Occupational assessment: Prompts ask you about the demands of your job, how difficult they are for you, and how often you find them difficult. Examples help you think outside the box, ensuring everything is captured. This lets you consider your unique position, rather than looking at a generic list of requirements for jobs like yours.
Customizable accommodation solutions: Before downloading your individualized report, you can read through a list of suggested strategies and check those you think are most relevant. This way, your report only has strategies you think can help.
Strong communication: JDAPT is clear and easy to use, and it helps strengthen your communication with your workplace. With your personalized report, you can sit down with your workplace with an agenda ready, a list of accommodations and even explanations of how to implement those accommodations.
Privacy protection: Because the tool can be used by anyone, it can assess job demands and suggest solutions without you having to tell your employer exactly what your health concern is.
External resource integration: This is an all-in-one tool. The suggestions and explanations are in the report, and you don’t need to go looking further to get the information you need.
How Does the JDAPT Relate to Multiple Sclerosis?
Of the more than 90,000 Canadians living with MS, 90% are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting forms. This means you get periods of wellness followed by periods of illness and disability. You don’t know in advance when there are going to be bad days, and you can look perfectly healthy on the good days.
This can make MS an invisible disease for many. Your workplace may not understand that you need accommodation at all, especially if you don’t need it every day. JDAPT gives you a clear roadmap for understanding your workplace challenges and deciding whether to discuss your health with your workplace. You can make plans in advance, so the accommodations are ready when you need them. This can make you more comfortable about your future employment and help you stay in your job.
An anonymous librarian with MS felt that the JDAPT offered an introspective look into how you do what you do. They said: “[It] makes you think about your job and what you’re doing, so it’s reflective.”
Understanding Job Demands and Accessibility (Job Demands)
Job demands are those aspects of a job that require sustained efforts. While the demands of any particular job remain the same, the way they affect workers can differ even if there are no health concerns. For example, people who go to networking events have an interpersonal job demand, but introverts may find it difficult while extroverts don't.
MS can often lead to difficulty with certain job demands. In one study, people with MS reported problems with fatigue, impaired cognition, endurance and job stress. This can create difficulties with the physical and cognitive aspects of many jobs. JDAPT gives you a clear roadmap for discussing your health with your workplace. You can make plans in advance, so the accommodations are ready when you need them.
Accommodations that increase accessibility can help people with episodic disability continue to work, even if they have difficulty meeting certain demands. A flexible and supportive approach can help ensure the needs of the workplace are met without burning out workers with disabilities.
As the ACED says, health conditions don’t necessarily lead to disability. It’s the barriers found in the social and physical environments that create disability.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who Can Use the JDAPT?
Anyone can use the JDAPT, but it’s designed for workers with chronic health conditions and those who work in organizations and want to support workers with health concerns. These are the people who will get the most value from the tool.
Is the Tool Accessible to Those With Disabilities?
Yes, the tool is designed to be accessible. It can be filled out by you or in conjunction with someone you trust. It’s also accessible on mobile devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, if that’s easier for you. The assessment takes about 15 minutes to be completed and can be saved if you need to rest and come back to it at a later time. In addition, the ACED team is happy to arrange accessible formats and communication support if you request it.
How Confidential Is the Information Shared on the Tool?
JDAPT doesn’t ask for any personal details, such as your name or email address, even if you save a draft. It also doesn’t save your results once the tool is completed. So, make sure you save your PDF report before going to another page. After you have a copy of your report, you choose who you want to share it with.
Can the JDAPT Address Physical and Cognitive Job Demands?
Yes, the JDAPT helps you assess job demands in four categories: physical, cognitive, interpersonal, and working conditions. This lets you get a full picture of how your health impacts on your work and ensures you don’t forget any area of your job.
Is There a Cost Associated With Using the JDAPT?
No, JDAPT is offered free for anyone to use.