Career Strategies for Living with ADHD
What you should know as an employee with ADHD
By: Dorothy Watson
Adults with ADHD work in a myriad of environments ranging from offices, schools, hospitals, to construction sites. Employees with ADHD bring many different skills to a workplace. They tend to be creative, energetic, and problem solvers. Many people with ADHD have very successful careers. Others experience ADHD symptoms and behaviors that affect their work. These people may have trouble remembering information. They may be unable to focus in unstructured or noisy work environments. Still others work best with a consistent distraction, such as the radio on beside them.
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to help prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. A person with ADHD can be considered to have a disability if it interferes with major life activities like work.
Qualified people with ADHD have the right to be considered for any job just like people without ADHD. They must be able to do the work with or without accommodations. However, the law provides that accommodations must be made if a person asks for them. The request must be considered reasonable to the employer.
Reasonable accommodations can include:
- Using a computer to help with written work and organization
- Using a tape recorder to take notes
- Providing a quiet office space away from distractions
- Extra time to learn new jobs or perform tasks
- Providing written and verbal instructions
- Clearly defining job requirements
There are many ways you can control ADHD on your own. Discrimination is against the law. So, don’t be afraid to ask if you need changes at work. It is important that you:
- Learn more about your rights
- Read and understand the law
- Contact a human resources representative
- Ask for help if you need it
The laws are there to help. It’s your responsibility to seek it.
1. Job Accommodation Network (JAN). (2008, March). Accommodation and compliance series: Employees with learning disabilities. Retrieved May 9, 2008, from http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/LD.html
2. Bruyère, S.M. (Ed.). (2001). Working effectively with people with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. [Brochure]. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.