Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is commonly thought of as a “kid thing,” but kids grow up to become adults – and the same problems that ADHD causes kids in school can cause problems in the workplace.
Many people with ADHD can be wildly productive employees if they have a few reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments made to the work environment or workplace expectations in order to create a level playing field for people with disabilities.
It’s all about what works for you
Not everybody with ADHD needs the exact same accommodations in order to function well in the workplace, so what you need may vary considerably from someone else with the same condition. With that being said, here are a few common accommodation requests:
- Flexible deadlines: Setting rigid deadlines can be challenging for people with ADHD due to their fluctuating attention and focus levels. Flexible deadlines (within reason) can reduce stress and enhance the quality of work produced.
- Distraction-free environments: Minimizing distractions in the work environment can significantly help people with ADHD. A quiet, well-organized space can help maintain focus and complete tasks more efficiently, and noise-canceling headphones can be a significant help.
- Visual aids and organizational tools: Visual aids, such as color-coded calendars, task lists and automated calendar reminders, can provide structure and reduce the likelihood of forgetting important responsibilities. Even reminder apps on phones can be considered assistive devices.
- Breaks and movement: Frequent breaks and opportunities for movement can help people with ADHD manage their energy levels and maintain their focus. Allowing short breaks during tasks or incorporating physical activity into the workday can improve attention span.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects roughly 4.4% of the U.S. adult population – or millions of people around the country. Yet, many workplaces are reluctant to treat ADHD as an actual disability, and some people even report being fired simply for telling their employer about their condition.
If your employer refuses to negotiate in good faith about accommodation requests you’ve made or otherwise discriminates against you, you have legal options available. Consider seeking legal guidance to learn more.