Approximately 9% of any given workforce is an employee who is caring for a child who has special needs. Raising a child with special needs often brings unique challenges such as finding the time and support needed to successfully balance work and home considering the extra time often needed for meeting with physicians, therapists, teachers, etc.
If your child’s needs are going to affect your work, you may want to consider talking with your manager, letting him/her know if you may need to take time off with short notice or expect to attend appointments during working hours, etc. Although employees who have children or other dependents with special needs are not protected under the ADA, there may be company sponsored programs or benefits such as Flex-Time that can alleviate some of the added burden and stress. Similar to disclosing under the ADA, open communication with your manager can often lead to a more successful working environment for you, your department and the company.
Although not considered a disclosure under the ADA, you will find it helpful to utilize all of the previous information about why, when, where and how to disclose, when you discuss your needs relative to caring for your child or other dependent.
There is no one right answer for every situation. Dealing with disclosure often requires making an informed but best guess decision concerning how your disclosure will impact your particular situation and position. Although the process can feel overwhelming, comprehensively considering why you want to disclose, weighing the pros and cons and looking at various strategies of whom to disclose to, how, when and where, you will ensure that whatever decision you make, it will be the right one for you. Always remember, this process is called disclosure, not confession.
May you have success in all that you do.