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Many larger companies have "equal opportunity" policies for employment and ask if you are Aboriginal, handicap, disabled (I've seen some include women in this list). I have been diagnosed with dyslexia by a psychiatrist and this technically is a learning disability, which is a sub class of disabilities. Should I be selecting the "disabled" option in applications? I'm a little embarrassed about it. At school I do get special accommodations for this. Obviously this is not apparent about me. Come to think of it, what exactly are they looking for when they ask about disabilities? Is that if a person is blind/deaf? In such a case wouldn't they be applying for particular positions anyways?

This position would be in Canada.

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    What country are you working in? – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 28 '15 at 9:25
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    Is that if a person is blind/deaf? In such a case wouldn't they be applying for particular positions anyways? Actually the number of positions they wouldn't apply for is very small. They can with accommodations perform almost any job. – mhoran_psprep Jan 28 '15 at 13:04
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Should I be selecting the "disabled" option in applications? I'm a little embarrassed about it. At school I do get special accommodations for this.

If you anticipate asking for special accommodations during the application process (for example, if you are required to take a test that is usually written, but need it read to you), then you should indeed select "disabled" in the application.

If you anticipate asking for special accommodations for your dyslexia after being hired, then you should indeed select "disabled" in the application, and expand on that in the section that is usually provided for comments.

This will set up the process with HR, and make it easier for you to formally ask for, and receive your necessary accommodations - either during the application process, or after being hired.

Come to think of it, what exactly are they looking for when they ask about disabilities?

If this is the US, they are mostly asking the question so that they can report the results to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission).

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It would be helpful to know whether or not you are referring to positions in or outside of the US.

In the US, most companies are prohibited from asking if you have a disability or if you are disabled. You may only be asked if you have the ability to perform specific job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation is defined on a case-by-case basis but there are no shortage of speech recognition, speech output, magnification, and word prediction options available for use if necessary in the interview process or post-hire.

Certain larger companies and federal contractors are covered under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and are able to take affirmative steps to hire qualified individuals with disabilities so are permitted to collect data for that purpose. However, my understanding is that data is typically only viewed in aggregate form. They can't compel you to self identify and either way, this information won't be visible by interviewers or involved in a hiring decision.

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My understanding is that in Canada it is to your benefit to disclose any disabilities which may effect your job performance. What a former head of HR told me was that if you disclose and require accomodation you are legally protected but if you do not disclose and require accomodation, your company is under no obligation to provide it and can fire you for failing to fulfill your duties if you cannot manage without.

That's why I always disclose that I am colour blind in interviews. 99.9% likely that it is a non-issue but I would hate to get fired because I can't use some piece of badly designed software.

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