Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a relatively common condition, but people tend to think of it as a “childhood” issue that interferes with someone’s ability to function in school.
They often forget that children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD – and the same issues that caused them difficulty in school haunt them in the workplace.
Small accommodations can make a big difference
With appropriate accommodations, people with ADHD can excel in the workplace. Some adjustments might include:
- Flextime: This can reduce the stress and pressure that individuals with ADHD often experience when working against the clock. Work-from-home options and split schedules can also make it easier for someone with ADHD to be productive.
- A structured environment: Creating a well-organized workspace can help individuals with ADHD stay focused and reduce distractions. A corner cubicle or the ability to go into a conference room to work on a project, for example, might make it much easier for an employee with ADHD to function.
- Memory aids: Providing clear instructions and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps can also be highly beneficial.
- Organizational tools: Digital calendars, task management apps, and text-to-speech software can help individuals with ADHD stay organized and on track.
- Anti-distraction devices: The use of headphones with white noise, earplugs or other tools designed to manage distractions can help people with ADHD stay on track. Asking to wear headphones while working is very common, especially in environments where it’s not really important (or actually detrimental) to pay much attention to one’s surroundings.
Accommodations for ADHD are often legally mandated under laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – but not all employers understand the condition or seem willing to make reasonable adjustments. ADHD has been deeply stigmatized, so they may see an employee with ADHD as simply unmotivated or lazy. That can lead to refusals to accommodate their needs or retaliation and termination. If this has happened to you, experienced guidance can help you explore your legal rights.