Most employment situations include specific performance expectations that an employee is expected to meet. Often, this performance expectation is tied to the amount of time needed to complete a task. The YLI study examined this concept by looking at whether youths with disabilities felt that they needed more hours to complete a task than their colleagues without a disability. 

Of the 450 YLI survey respondents:

  • 54% think that they need more hours to perform the tasks than their peers without disabilities at work
  • 57% believe they need to work more hours to stand out to their employers.

Although the evidence related to high-performance expectations cannot be interpreted as proving this to be a barrier to employment, the YLI Advisory Committee expanded our research on this subject by looking at how working long hours affects a person’s well-being.

The YLI advisors identified a few ways to manage performance expectations before the job application as well as after being employed. During the job application, it’s suggested that youth understand what they want to do and what type of employers they want to work with—find those who see their potential. Before accepting a job offer, it’s crucial for young people to look at what the job demands might be and avoid a mismatch in the expectations of the employer and the employee.

Communication is key at work!

Working long hours to complete tasks and meet the expectations of employers can have negative impacts on a person’s mental health, particularly when this carries on over an extended period of time.

Aside from the ability to fulfill employment responsibilities, development of communication skills is a key part of maintaining employment. When youth feel overwhelmed at work, it’s critical that employees recognize the signs of burnout and have a conversation with and the employer to discuss expectations and how one’s needs can be met. Employees can also set and stand by their own boundaries. Having the awareness to check in with yourself, knowing when to pull back or have a conversation with your employer, while identifying if your boundaries have been breached will create a framework where the needs of both employer and employee are being met through open, honest communication. (If the conversation involves disclosing your disability, click here for resources on disability disclosure).

An inclusive and productive workplace is a workplace that promotes individuality and fosters the strengths of its employees. By allowing people to be their authentic selves, they are likely to feel valued and confident, which can lead to greater engagement and productivity. This can also encourage employees to share their unique perspectives, resulting in valuable contributions to the organization. When employees feel engaged, they are more likely to work independently and efficiently.

This toolkit is a constant work in progress; we’ll always be adding and updating resources as new information is found and as we expand our database. Please enjoy what we have so far and stay tuned for more updates coming soon!


Are you seeking ways to regulate your emotions or manage your stress at your own pace?

Are you looking for ways to improve your ability to focus at work?

Good time management helps you reduce stress by giving you direction when you feel overwhelmed with your workload. Some of us may have a harder time focusing due to our disabilities. Read more below and discover how to overcome the barrier to focus and manage our time more effectively at work.


Are you wondering how to communicate your expectations with young employees with disabilities?

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This toolkit is a collective effort between the YLI team and you.

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Resources on the YLI Toolkit webpages, including, but not limited to, the text, graphics, images, links, and other materials are intended for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. The Disability Foundation and Affiliates do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the linked websites. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk. The information provided on YLI Toolkit webpages are designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your care team. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical attention because of something you read or see on YLI Toolkit webpages.

The YLI Toolkit does not offer specific medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call emergency personnel (911) to receive medical attention.