Ever have one of those days when you drop everything you touch and trip over everything? That was my day recently. I even tripped over my students. I am a teacher and usually have no major issues with my Charcot-Marie-Tooth. It was a rough day, but thankfully my students were understanding and helpful. But this got me thinking about whether I need any accommodations at work. What might they look like in a classroom setting?
I also had issues when I needed to take a class through my county to be trained to administer the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) to students. They wanted me to write neatly in the margin of the recording sheet, a roughly 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of space. I tried hard but could not do it. I was told I needed to be able to write my notes in that space or I would not pass the class. The instructor suggested I speak to Equity and Employee Relations. I had to meet with them to document that I have CMT to receive an accommodation for the recording of notes.
The woman I met with was very helpful and had a list of suggested accommodations for me:
- adjustable workstations
- writing aids
- lessened physical tasks
- accessible parking
- limiting walking tasks
At that time, we agreed that I did not need any workplace accommodations. We agreed to document the CMT and that writing in small spaces would be difficult. Thanks to this, I cannot be penalized for not writing neatly on the DRA or any other documents.
Now, though, I’m reconsidering if the aforementioned accommodations would help me with my tripping, tendency to drop everything, and fatigue. Do I need to revisit my case?
I am finding field trips are taking more of a toll on my body. Trying to walk fast enough to keep up with a group of 9- and 10-year-olds is exhausting. I love going on field trips, but I’m finding it is getting harder and harder to keep up with the class and to recover from the day.
Some days, I am exhausted just from teaching all day. There are many days when I have to teach sitting down because I am so tired. I need a nap by 2 or 3 p.m., but my school day is not over until 4:15 p.m. When tired, I tend to trip more and drop things. That is when I need to just stop and take a rest. I usually tell my students to read quietly or work independently for about 10 minutes so I can take a quick break. That sometimes helps.
I am hoping that my AFO braces will help alleviate some of the fatigue I am feeling. I think I will also ask my doctor about exercises to strengthen my hands so I do not drop everything. I’m uncertain about how to approach the fact that field trips are getting to be too much for me.
I love my job and working with the kids — I am not ready to give it up. But I might need to modify my daily routine to make it more manageable.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows employees to request reasonable accommodations for the workplace. What kind of accommodations do you have at your workplace?
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
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