New Job

I am seeking opinion regarding alerting a potential new employer of my ataxic condition.

This is weird because I don't notice my balance and swaying or I have adapted. My wife has also grown to ignore it .I do get that unpleasant reminder now and then with a fall or other accident (cannot get out of my own way sometimes) and generally 1/2 speed of others. I am certain others notice (wonder what they say). Sometimes it can be real bad later in the day or low lighting, unfamiliar terrain etc...

Would you tell in advance?

Don't tell?

Explain if asked?

Do companies in the states get a hidden benefit by hiring disabled, tax or something?

Seeking advise

It's a tricky question for sure. I'm a teacher in the UK that has FA. Like you, my disability is not that noticeable and I am having a similar dilemma because despite what the law says I know that many headteachers would not employ me on a permanent basis because of what I may cost them in the long term. Of course they are not allowed to discriminate but that doesn't mean they won't! On the other hand, there are some parts of my job that would be too difficult for me to do, like orienteering or demonstrating PE so once in post, I have had to talk to heads about it and they have seemed surprised I didn't mention it before.

It really depends on what the job is and whether you can do it all without any difficulty. I would say, you are under no obligation to tell your employer, if you don't want to. I would go for the explain if asked option although be aware your employer would have a duty of care towards making sure you were safe and to make "reasonable adjustments" and that might be difficult if they didn't know!

Some info here about disability in US law here:

Good luck!

I was a teacher too.I did not have any obvious difficulties until about a year ago when my speech and mobility were iimpaired.

I suppose it depends on how your Ataxia has affected you.I couldn;t teach but I could do a more sedentary job.

My intelligence was unafffected but a new boss might be worried about you falling.They also might expect you to reach deadlines or answer the phone.

I suppose what I am saying is

It depends on your job.

It depends how you are affected and what your circumstances are.

Bosses are guided by Health and Safety but things may have changed.

A boss is concerned about absences, how much they will have to pay out in the future.

I know it doesn't seem fair but sadly it's a reality.

This is just a personal opinion and not to be taken as advice because we are all different.

as an employer I would be concerned about liability if you were hurt on the job from a fall. sadly, employers are interested in money-- thats why they hired you. if you tell them you could fall unpredictably my guess is they’d look for a way to let you go or withdraw the offer if you’ve not started yet. I think I would show up with a walking stick (i use a hiking pole) not say a word and let them assume that you have a knee or hip problem and need it. Somehow that would seem more acceptable than the symptoms of ataxia. They are not allowed to ask so leave it at that. AND be the best employee they’ve ever seen.

Hi S Wayman - I was reading elsewhere about disclosing a disability, but during the interview process. The gist was to disclose it after hired.

In your case, you already have the job; however, there are still annual reviews and others’ false assumptions that can unintentionally attach inappropriate stigmas to you.

Like it was said, everyone’s abilities differ; it might be a good idea to keep some kind of “form” of tangible examples of your abilities, when it took place, how you/your ability contributed, how that translates into cost-improvement, etc. whichever way you decide.

I worked as a social worker for the state I live in for 28 years. I worked with ataxia for 3 years, but because it continued to get worse, I retired 7 years ago (I was diagnosed with ataxia 10 years ago). My employer was aware I had ataxia, but NEVER pressured me about it. Leaving my job was my own decision, as I was having more difficulty keyboarding, writing and speaking (slurred my speech, especially when stressed/fatiqued), etc. When I could no longer do my job to MY SATISFACTION/STANDARDS, which were quite high, I retired. Therefore, I believe it's a personal choice as to what and whether you tell employer(s), depending on your situation. Others gave valid advice as well! My best to you..., ;o)

I lost my job because they were afraid I was going to fall and sue. They didn't care that if I fell because of my ataxia. I would not sue. I am looking for a part time job. Employers say I need to be in a wheel chair or walker. So my chances of falling are slim. Needless to say its been 2 years that I have been looking. Good Luck!