I’m Baaacccckkkk!

I went back to work this week. It was only part-time and may be part-time for the foreseeable future, but I am back. I think.

I have been told I set a land speed record in getting back to work. I don’t see it as anything extraordinary. Everyone has something they have no intention of giving up for a disability. A lot of people don’t want to give up driving – ever! Others insist upon playing golf or attending church every week. I want to work. I pretty much need to work.

I have done this job for 38 years. It is my profession. In many ways it is my identity and my purpose.

I am a fortunate person. Instead of a cloud of misfortune, ‘dumb luck’ has followed me around pretty much my entire life. When I stop to consider how fortunate I have always been, it is a little unsettling  – when is the tide going to turn? However, I try to give thanks for this crazy, incredible run of good fortune whenever I can.

I have been fortunate to have the help of a lot of good people in getting back to work. My husband takes me in and a friend drives me home. Blindness and Visual Services (BVS) has helped to fill my office with ‘toys’. I have a CCTV and a handheld reader as well as a zoom feature on my computer. My low vision specialist has me trying ‘funny glasses’ that magnify and either allow me to read or – another pair – to look over a classroom full of kids. Thank you.

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of help in getting back to work from my husband and others driving me to and from work and from the people getting me my ‘toys’.

People on the job have been very supportive. The custodian set up my CCTV. The computer person has been scanning materials onto a tablet so I can enlarge them.  I have literally been welcomed back with open arms by many staff. Thank you.

Very importantly I have been welcomed back by the administration. I am being given a chance to prove myself. They have been willing to work with me even though things are going to be a bit ‘different’ from now until I am either retired or forced by the disease or finances to go on disability retirement. Thank you.

I’ve been welcomed back by my co-workers and the administration. Thank you.

As I said, I have always been fortunate.  Not everyone gets to work with the kind of people I work with, for example. I have not once had to utter the phrase ADA but maybe you will.  ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act. As much as it is hard for me to wrap my head around it, I now come under this act. Damn.

The ADA says no employer with 15 or more employees may discriminate against an employee based on a disability in any aspect of employment. The law stipulates that both the employee must be able to perform essential functions of the job and that the employer must make reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The employee and his reasonable accommodations must not create undue hardship for the employer, his business and his clients.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) has laws governing the rights of the disabled employee and the employer in companies with 15 or more people.

There are a lot of other things associated with ADA. For example, these are the laws that gave us ramps and cut curbs. However, I will be staying with this simple information in this posting. Follow the links if you are looking for more.

How does ADA affect me? I am back to me with all of my cool toys.  At least for now. I have told my boss to watch me. How am I doing? Am I making mistakes? Am I too slow?

My ‘undue hardship’ would fall squarely on my students. Not having that. That is why I’m back…I think.

I’m back to me with my cool toys and under the watchful eye of my boss.  I won’t let my students be affected by my ‘undue hardship’.

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