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Workplace Accommodations for Adults with ADHD

By Eileen Bailey

ADD/ADHD is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act and individuals with ADD/ADHD can be entitled to certain accommodations at work based on their needs. 

A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder does not automatically justify accommodations in the workplace.  There are many adults with ADHD that perform their jobs well and do not require additional or special assistance. However, some people do require accommodations, and can receive protection under the American’s With Disabilities Act. 

Before requesting special accommodations, take the time to determine what you need, why and how you expect the company to meet your needs.  When requesting accommodations, you will want to supply your employer with information on your disability, the accommodations you are requesting, a reason for each accommodation and what benefit they will receive for supplying you with extra assistance. Providing this information will probably give you a better response from your employer.

The first step is to evaluate your job and your duties.  List which parts of the job you do well now, and which parts you feel you could do better with assistance or accommodations.  Be as specific as possible.  For example, you may be required to attend meetings and be responsible for following up on ideas presented at the meeting. You may feel that you should have a record of the meeting to allow you to be more accurate in your presentations. You might want to request that you be allowed to tape record meetings.  You may state that you will supply the tape recorder or request the company supply you with one. Remember to indicate why this will help you in your job, for example, by recording the meetings, you can go over the important points again, with fewer distractions and make sure that you have followed through on all-important points. 

Your employer will need to understand why your ADD/ADHD causes problems.  List the symptoms of ADHD, as they relate to you, not a list of generic symptoms. Include information on how they affect your job performance. Be as specific as possible.  Instead of indicating a memory deficiency, include information on inability to focus, becoming easily distracted or problems with short-term memory.  The more specific you are, the more detailed of a plan you can propose to your employer.  

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