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Assistive Technology for State Employees with Disabilities

What is Assistive Technology for Employees with Disabilities?

Assistive technology (AT) in the workplace is a tool used by an employee with a disability to accomplish a task or to enable him or her to perform a function of the job in question. AT may be a "low tech" item such as blocks under a desk to accommodate a wheelchair, or "high tech" such as screen reading software for an employee who is blind. Employees with disabilities have the right to request assistive technology or assistance that would enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs, and employers are required to consider using assistive technology as a form of reasonable accommodation.

How Do You Know What is Available and If it Would Work for You?

You can increase your knowledge of available assistive technology by consulting the Job Accommodation Network or the Illinois Assistive Technology Program (contact information below). IATP has a publication entitled Workplace Technologies for People with Disabilities that you can request. It also has a loan program with some devices available for you to try before you or your agency purchases them. Other organizations and agencies dealing with specific disabilities, such as the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, have information about technology to assist people with those disabilities (contact information below).

What is Your Next Step to Obtain Assistive Technology?

Once you know the technology best for you or have a couple of alternatives in mind, you can begin a discussion with the agency EEO/AA Officer or the ADA Coordinator about requesting the device. All state agencies have a reasonable accommodation form that is available from the supervisor, the agency EEO/AA Officer, or ADA Coordinator. The reasonable accommodation process should be interactive, which means you and the agency negotiate whether the accommodation will be provided and what form it will take. The agency could grant the request, suggest an alternative, or ask you for more information. A workplace evaluation may be needed. An agency is not required to provide a specific accommodation if an alternative solution is effective. Further, an agency is not required to provide an accommodation that would cause 'undue hardship,' which is determined on a case-by-case basis and is defined as significant difficulty or expense. If you have been unfairly denied accommodation, you may file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (information below). For further information about your rights, visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website, at

Contact Information

Job Accommodation Network
P.O. Box 6080
Morgantown, WV 26506-6080
800-526-7234 (V) in the U.S.
800-ADA-WORK (V) in the U.S.
877-781-9403 (TTY)
(304) 293-7186 (V)
(304) 293-5407 (Fax)

Illinois Assistive Technology Program
1 W. Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 100
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 522-7985 (V)
(217) 522-9966 (TTY)
(217) 522-8067 (Fax)
800-852-5110 (V/TTY) – IL only

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission
528 S. 5th St., 2nd Floor, Suite 209
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 557-4495 (V/TTY)
877-455-3323 (V/TTY)
(217) 557-4492 (Fax)
(217) 557-4487 (Videophone) (IP)

Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind
1850 W. Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666-1331

Department of Human Rights and
Interagency Committee on
Employees with Disabilities

222 S. College, Room 101
Springfield, IL 62704
(217) 785-5119 (V)
866-740-3953 (TTY) (ICED website)

Department of Human Services
(DHS employees' Only)

Bureau of Job Accommodation
100 South Grand Ave. E.
Springfield, IL 62762
(217) 782-7691(V)
(217) 557-5564 (TTY)
(217) 558-1050 (Fax)