Should you or shouldn’t you?
As an adult with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you are likely affected by symptoms that include inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. These can cause difficulties managing time, being organized, setting goals and holding down a job. With ADD/ADHD, there can be days where you struggle to keep your focus and complete the work at hand.
ADD/ADHD is a condition that is under protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That means if a barrier in the workplace prevents you from adequately performing your job, you may ask for work accommodations.
Here’s what you need to know before taking this step.
A diagnosis of ADHD by itself does not automatically entitle an employee to accommodations.
Rather, you must disclose your documented diagnosis to show your ADHD “substantially limits a major life activity,” notes ADDitute Magazine. To seek protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you need to show you are otherwise qualified to perform the job, and you must work for a company with at least 15 employees.
Even if you meet this criteria, using your condition to request accommodations can be a big move. Many people have attitudes about ADD/ADHD that may color their perception of you. While disclosure might gain you an accommodation, it could hurt your chances for future advancement if the organization believes that your ADD means you can’t handle other responsibilities. In fact, you might do better to start off testing the waters to determine if you can get accommodations without mentioning ADD. In any case, you’ll want to thoughtfully consider how to broach this subject with your employer.
How to prepare for the conversation
Identify your obstacles
Take a serious look at your job responsibilities and assess the problems you have in handling them. Whether you are struggling with meeting deadlines, are late to work a few times a week, or facing a different barrier, make a list of the issues you’re having and how you’d like to discuss these with your boss.
List ideas for accommodations
After you’ve identified your obstacles, for each one, write down a few ideas for accommodations that will help you do a better job.
State your rationale
Back up each accommodation up with sound and persuasive reasons why they would be beneficial for your job performance. If possible, use numbers and specifics to help make your case.
Once you’re prepared, set up a meeting with your boss to discuss how you can improve your job performance.
It’s important in making your case that you focus on positive statements that do not come off as demands. Keep the conversation professional, using business terms to discuss the problems you’re encountering and the solutions that you suggest. Remember to also keep your request reasonable, only asking for more expensive accommodations if your company could afford to help. End the meeting with a summary of the accommodations your boss is willing to make to ensure you are both on the same page.
Remember, your boss and organization rely on you to help them succeed, and your success is their success. So most bosses and companies are understanding and willing to accommodate requests that can enhance your performance. Having a constructive conversation can potentially lead to you being a greater asset to the team and being able to thrive in an environment that is more adaptable to your needs.
Don’t let ADHD define you – define yourself by how you take control. As a certified ADHD coach, I can coach you through management of your symptoms that may be affecting your job and help you to lead a more healthy and productive day-to-day life in both your personal and professional lives. To learn more, call me today at 914-478-0071 to schedule a free phone coaching consultation.