by Olivia Duan
DISCLOSURE & LEGAL RIGHTS
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, which protects people with mental or physical disabilities from discrimination, provides legal protection for workers with ADHD.
Therefore, if you are a qualified employee and choose to disclose your ADHD to your employer, you will be protected under the ADA.
However, negative attitudes and stigma against ADHD still exist in the workplace; because of this, many adults with ADHD choose not to disclose their disability at all.
REASONABLE WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS
There are certain pros if you do decide to disclose your disability to your employer.
First and foremost, they are legally required to provide “reasonable accommodation,” or a modification to the job environment that will allow you to perform the job to the same level as your coworkers without ADHD.
Reasonable accommodations can range from job to job. Some examples include a private workspace for less noise or uninterrupted work time for less distractions.
Here are some common workplace accommodations other adults with ADHD found useful:
Focus & Getting Rid of Distractions
For people with ADHD, focusing can be next to impossible in a busy, hectic work environment.
Common accommodations include noise-canceling headphones, private workspaces, and designated “focus” times where coworkers and phone calls cannot interrupt you.
If none of these accommodations prove to work out, you can even ask to work from home, provided that your work can be done at home, of course.
“Time-Blindness” and executive dysfunction can make it difficult for people with ADHD to get work done on time.
Common accommodations for time management include the usage of timers and other assistive technology, the allowance of flexible schedules, calendars and task lists, and time-management training or coaching.
If you have trouble making it to meetings on time, you can ask your employer to allow you to attend remotely. You can also disclose your ADHD to your coworkers– having an “accountability buddy,” a partner who works in the same timeframe as you and holds you accountable for your work, can be extremely helpful!
It’s not that you’re careless— ADHD can make catching small details difficult. In addition, ADHD, particularly the hyperactive variant, can make you bored easily, especially if your work is repetitive or hard to stay interested in.
Thankfully, there are some common accommodations for detail management. You could ask for small, structured breaks, standardized templates to help you check your work with, and written instruction templates for daily, repetitive tasks.
You can also ask for breaks for more physical tasks; when a long project is becoming too boring, you could take a break to complete a hands-on physical task, which can help raise your dopamine levels.
STRATEGIES WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO DISCLOSE
As we mentioned before, stigma around ADHD sadly still exists. If you are hesitant to share your disability, here are some self-made workplace strategies you can use:
Apps and websites such as Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Microsoft To-Do can be great for finishing tasks on time. Block out certain times on your schedule to work on tasks and set notifications and personal timers so you don’t forget! Most of these apps already come with the option to add notifications and reminders, making them especially useful for employees with ADHD!
There are lots of good options for making sure you remember important details. Having a color-coded system for note taking can be useful. You can use sticky notes, a small whiteboard near your desk, or an electronic option.
Also, make sure to jot down notes during meetings, no matter how much you think you’ll remember everything!
SOURCES FOR MORE HELP
For additional help on work accommodations, legal protection, and discreet strategies, we recommend checking out these amazing websites:
Crista is trained to coach as an Academic coach, Executive Function (EF) coach, and individuals with ADHD. Crista can be reached through her website at www.ConnectedPathwaysCoaching.com/contact-us.