Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the nerve cells of the spinal cord and brain. As ALS progresses, the motor neurons that span from the brain to the spinal cord to the muscles are destroyed, leading to a loss of muscle control. This can lead to involuntary muscle movements as well as the inability to speak, swallow, and breathe. Around 20,000 people in the US have ALS and most are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70. 

Accommodating Employees with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s Disease

People with limitations from ALS may develop some of the limitations discussed, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with ALS will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Note: Link to AskJAN for more information about ALS.

Oklahoma WorksOklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, and Oklahoma ABLE Tech have collaborated to provide this information and advice to those seeking accommodation in the workplace.  

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