The US Department of Education reports that as many as one in five people in the United States has a learning disability, but workplaces are only beginning to maximize their potential.
Landing a great job directly after college made 22-year-old Columbia graduate Tom Reed ecstatic. It was in the industry he wanted to be in (TV production), in the city he had grown to love (New York), and it came without the hassle of the long and tiresome job search that plagued many of his fellow graduates. Still, despite the tremendous relief of being gainfully employed, Reed was faced with the anxiety attached to one vital question: should he, or should he not, tell his superiors about his learning disability?
Disclosure meant a number of different things for Reed. If he told his superiors about his affliction, described by Reed as a non-verbal processing disorder which makes sorting fragmented information especially difficult, then his bosses could possibly treat the situation as a positive and find areas where they could maximize Reed's above-average creative faculties and find ways to work around his organizational difficulties.
On the other hand, if Reed "outed himself" as a learning-disabled person, his coworkers might take this as a sign of weakness and a reason to stigmatize and mistrust him. He had already chosen not to reveal his disability during the interview process, not wanting to risk being instantly rejected before having the chance to explain the positive aspects of his condition.