To Disclose or Not to Disclose?

To Disclose or Not to Disclose?
by Karen McCulloh and Beth Marks

411 on Disability Disclosure
Do you homework before deciding to disclose. The decision of whether to disclose is entirely up to you.

If you need an accommodation you must disclose. This is true for both higher education and employment. So the choice to disclose or not is contingent upon the need for accommodations. 

The issue then becomes at what point does a person disclose? Although disclosing a disability is a choice protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the choice of not disclosing a disability where accommodations are needed and cannot be provided, may set up a student or employee to fail. The fear of rejection or stigma directed to a student or employee that has a disability does not have the same impact as denying oneself the accommodations by choosing not to disclose and setting up an environment that is potentially less successful in academic or career advancement.

Also, an important point that might be made is that before choosing a school, ensure that the university, college or technical program has a disability services department. It would also be helpful to research if the school has or has had other students with disabilities enrolled in their nursing or allied healthcare programs. You may also want to speak with the disability services coordinator to see what his or her experiences has been with students enrolled in their nursing or allied healthcare programs and the types of disabilities students have had.

Below are some additional resources for you to consider:

McCulloh, K.J & Marks, B. (2012). To disclose or not to disclose? NOND Website FAQ Resources. NOND, Chicago, IL.

Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

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