7 posts tagged “ADA”

Living with a mental health condition? See these helpful pointers for your next job interview

Posted March 19th, 2018 by

Unsure of how to navigate that job interview? You’re not alone. Members have exchanged their experiences and strategies here on PatientsLikeMe — from worrying about how to control nervous twitches to advice about not oversharing. Read on for more info about what you need to disclose to your potential employer, and hear how other members get through their interview jitters.

To disclose or not disclose? Sharing your mental health condition

“I’m damned if I’m open about it, and I’m damned if I try to hide it,” writes a person living with schizo-affective disorder in this Fast Company article. Weighing whether to disclose your condition and risk not getting the job against the stress of hiding a condition while performing a job isn’t easy. But Art Markman, PhD, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, offers some guidance:

While you don’t have to disclose your mental health condition during the interview, Markman recommends that you should at some point set up supports at work for success. To get protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must tell your employer about your condition to get accommodations before there are any issues. This also enables your employer to structure your job in a way that might reduce stress.

Remember to breathe

Shana Burns, contributor to The Mighty advises dealing with anxiety you might have ahead of an interview by focusing on your breath:

“In through the nose, out through the mouth, count to 10 and slow everything right down. You are tingling because you are breathing too quickly, slow it down, and it will stop. This is a temporary feeling. It will not last forever.”

Burns adds, “Remember that you are OK; distract yourself — however you need to distract yourself, do it, and be kind to yourself.”

4 interview tips from PatientsLikeMe members

1. Overdressing is OK, but try not to overshare

“I have a Doctorate degree in Education. …I tend to want to overshare thinking it will make the interviewer realize that I know a lot about the subject or position. Oversharing things about myself frustrates my friends and family but at least they understand why…. I’m just trying to connect, but it is so out of [whack].”

“I have visible tattoos and piercings. I’m willing to remove a piercing while working if I have to. My tattoos are on my wrists…I plan on wearing long sleeves to the interview.”

2. Gaps in your resume? Practice what you want to say about your work history ahead of time

“I guess it’s a fine line between saying too much and just coming off as smart and enthusiastic…I always have too little to say. In my interview on Monday, the first thing they asked was ‘why aren’t you working up to your education?’ That, and gaps of time off due to illness, make a decent resume look suspicious to employers. I stammered something about ‘illness’ but should have been more prepared. Role playing is a good idea, at least for those painful questions. And I just have to keep doing it (ugh)…”

  • Tip: Speaking of preparing for tough questions, The Muse provides some common interview questions and coaching to how to answer them.

3. Show your interest in the company and the job

“Eye contact is very important. Smile. Sell your good points, you have many.”

“Learn a little bit about the company before going into the job interview (“I learned a little bit about the company going into the job. For example, I worked at Victoria’s Secret. So I learned what my favorite part about the company was. You can be a little cheesy and say things like ‘I love that _______ store remembers its audience. It’s a strong quality of this store to have sizes and styles for every shape.'”)

4. Come with questions (even simple ones)

“Have a question or two prepared for when they ask ‘So do have any questions for me?’ That shows that you are truly interested. They can be simple like what is the dress code or roughly how many hours will you work a week.”

What has your job interview experience been like? Do you have any helpful tips to share? Log in or join PatientsLikeMe and jump in the conversation.

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“What do you mean I can’t bring my service animal in?” Member Craig talks life with fibromyalgia and service dogs.

Posted November 27th, 2017 by

Craig Braquet (woofhound) is living with fibromyalgia and severe degenerative disc disease, the result of a multi-car accident in 1979. We first introduced Craig when he joined the 2015-2016 PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors, but today we introduce his dogs, Luna, Oliver and Dakota (check out their cameo in Craig’s recent #MoreThan video). See what Craig has to say about training his own service dogs, taking them into public places, and how they’ve helped him manage his condition.

Service dog for fibromyalgia

Craig with his service dogs Luna (left) and Oliver (right).

Finding motivation to “get out of bed and rejoin society”

“Luna is where we began my journey with personal service animals,” Craig says. Luna, a Great Dane, is now retired from being a service animal, though she’s still one of Craig’s closest companions. “Before Luna, I stayed at home, my pain levels were more than I could handle. I spent most of my days sleeping, trying to heal my body from the stresses of constant pain, my illness had overshadowed me.”

Craig says Luna gave him a new purpose in life, and he found that training her to be a balance and stability service animal gave him the motivation to “get out of bed and rejoin society.” Regular exercise is beneficial for people living with fibromyalgia, and Luna helped make that effort worthwhile.

Since Luna, Craig has adopted Oliver and Dakota, also Great Danes. “Oliver took to his Service Animal Training just like Luna did,” he says. “He learned quickly and looked out for me in public, he’s calm in noisy, stressful situations and doesn’t pay attention to any other animals when he has his service gear on.”

When service dogs are turned away: Know your rights (and responsibilities)

While the American Disibilities Act (ADA) has clear guidelines about the rights of those with service animals, Craig has found that not all establishments are aware of these laws. On a recent trip to Truth or Consequences, a small town in New Mexico, he was not allowed to bring Luna into a local hot springs spa, even when he explained that she was his service animal.

Unfortunately, Craig has had several similar experiences with his dogs. His advice on what to do in this situation? “When you have a legitimately trained service animals and you are turned down by an establishment, you’ll get the quickest assistance if you demand your rights and require them to call the police instead of you making the call. This way the police can help to educate the proprietor when they arrive.”

Craig says that while knowing and understanding your rights as a service animal owner is important, so is the behavior of your animal, “the most important thing here is to make sure you have an impeccably trained service animal before you attempt to somewhat ‘force’ your rights. Even a trained Service Animal can be denied access if the dog is unruly, loud, or poorly trained.”

How to get a service animal

Service, therapy and emotional support animals: What’s the difference?

  • The ADA says a service animal is “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.” Other species of animals, trained or not, aren’t considered service animals. The ADA doesn’t require professional training for service animals, and people with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves (but state and federal laws differ, so make sure to read up on your state’s laws). Check out this FAQ to learn more.
  • A therapy animal is an animal that’s been trained to help lift the spirits of people other than its handler. Therapy animals often visit places like hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the people living there, though their handlers are not given public access rights like those of service dogs and their owners.
  • Emotional support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and can help with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, but don’t need to have any special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. While emotional support animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan to provide therapy to their owners, they’re not considered service animals under the ADA.

On PatientsLikeMe

See who’s tracking their experience with service animals on PatientsLikeMe, and check out what some members have said in more than 150 treatment evaluations on pets.

FIbromyalgia and service dogs

“Always for the better”

When we asked him how his animals have impacted his health, Craig simply said “always for the better.” Their companionship provides him with physical and emotional support, and they act as “the antidote to any stressful day.”

Do you have a service animal? Share in the comments how they’ve impacted your life and your health. And join the conversation with others discussing this in the PatientsLikeMe forum

 

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