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Reply To: Have you ever asked for accommodation at work for ADHD? What happened?

Reply To: Have you ever asked for accommodation at work for ADHD? What happened?2013-10-02T13:22:10+00:00

The Forums Forums The Workplace Who to Tell? Have you ever asked for accommodation at work for ADHD? What happened? Reply To: Have you ever asked for accommodation at work for ADHD? What happened?


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My first thought as I was reading was the option of asking your employer for modified hours while you’re taking the course. I think that is what I would try first……………
…For me being up late once a week wouldn’t be that big of a deal. At least I don’t think it would. I don’t usually sleep more than 6 hours a night. But I never really thought about how that affects me mentally before. I mean, I know, I’ve been told many times that it’s important for me to get enough sleep. But I just don’t know how it actually affects me.

I KNOW how it affects me (and my son). My son gets physically sick and mentally exhausted and is “short” with others.
Generally speaking it impacts short-term memory. Gee, ADHD adults, short term memory, anyone remember what that is and what else can impact it? How about what we “have”? So those of us with ADHD will see MEMORY issues get worse.
Along with that is increased frustration over the memory thing – so you have a snowball, you have more memory trouble which frustrates you, and the lack of sleep also adds to that possibility in some people. We already say what we think at the drop of a hat – get frustrated with something or someone, what’s the result going to be? Not pretty in my case. On a good day it’s best to not ask me if that dress makes you look fat unless you want to hear an honest opinion. On one of those days, take that times 2 or 3 if you also ask while I’m “busy doing something else”, then I get frustrated at the interruption on top of it all.
The “sleep doctor” lady I see treats a lot of adults with ADHD as well. The ADHD and sleep issues seem to go hand-in-hand. So she knew what was up with me in my first visit. Her suggestion to help with my EDS (near-narcolepsy) AND ADHD was to get a full 8. She said as important, even maybe more important in her studies was CONSISTENCY. Always wake at the same time every day, get to bed at the same time every night. If something must flex, keep the wake time the same flex on the bed time. Our brains are often still in overdrive at the end of the day anyway so getting to bed and then falling asleep can be an issue at times, but she had a whole sheet of tips to help me with that as well. I have to be honest – when I remembered to follow her direction, when I was following her direction, my ADHD symptoms were better controlled in some areas. Not all, but memory was better for sure, and my “attitude” got a bit better according to my wife and a couple of friends. But alas, with my list of things to do, anxiety over things at work, I’m getting about 4 or 5 hours now and it’s really catching up with me badly.
EDS – excessive daytime sleepiness. I can fall asleep sitting or standing, I can’t sit in a class situation, can’t listen to long lectures or speeches (that’s an issue I’ve had since birth with ADHD anyway) so don’t even expect WORK out of me after about noon. SLEEP combined with some Adderall XR helped, but the Adderall effect is pretty much gone now, I bet in large part due to lack of sleep!
The other issue that really concerned her was my sleep states and timing. Normally for a “normal human” (thank goodness I’m not one of those and am in no danger of ever becoming one!) REM state starts after about 90 minutes. It can be 60, but 90 is most typical and normal. Dream state begins after you’ve been asleep for a while, that’s why they are often “middle of the night” things – you wake at 2am or 3am from a dream or whatever, for example.
Not this guy – I enter dream state BEFORE I get to sleep, REM happens moments after I enter sleep at times. The sleep study had that poor doctor a bit concerned and confused. I exhibited signs of true narcolepsy, but not enough to be clinically labeled as such, so she had to put me in the EDS slot, leaning toward narcolepsy.
Imagine you are sitting in a room with a co-working going through an online class. It’s been a while, the EDS starts to hit and you find yourself looking around the room wondering where the couch went, and where the girl went that was sleeping on the couch -only to realize only seconds had passed and you were in a room taking an online class and there was NO couch, no girl. It was so real I was actually in both worlds at the same time, but the one was a dream – it had started as I entered sleep. That ain’t supposed to happen!
Whoa, talk about a drifting topic.
Sleep – you need it. ADHD people need it as bad if not worse. The “I can get by on….” is IMO, bunk. No disrespect intended, but that’s exactly what you are doing – getting by. And what do we think of those who are “getting by” at work? Slackers. LOL. Seriously, do you want to get by, or really live and achieve?
I can get by on weeks of 4 or less a night – but I know that’s just what I did. I wasn’t living, I wasn’t my best, or doing my best work.

Accommodations – they are there for “us”. Don’t take advantage just because they are there, but when one has ADHD, sleep is even more important, and the doctors will tell you (well, they ALL told me, several of them) that SLEEP helps ADHD symptoms and consistency if a real key. So stick to a consistent wake time, bed time, number of sleep hours as much as possible, and I’d just have to suspect you’d find a doctor to put that in writing and make it as a suggestion for treatment, allowing you to get an official accommodation if you choose. HOWEVER, one can sometimes approach an employer or boss and explain things, explain any “Special needs or circumstances” and let them know you are full aware of how things impact you and out of concern for you doing a good job for them you’d like to talk about a schedule change.

I got an official reasonable accommodation a couple of years ago. It worked GREAT. I could tell the difference in my performance, quality and quantity of work and general attitude. Then early this summer they changed their mind and yanked it away. Because it was reasonable, because it was no cost to the employer, wasn’t a hardship and had no impact at all on “business”, it was reasonable. The courts support a schedule change when it meets that criteria and can order employers to comply. Even the U.S. EEOC, ASKJAN and other entities and sites suggest that as one of the top 3 or 5 suggestions as an accommodation! The government supports it, universities suggest it. And in my case, I was talking 30 minutes.
So, at the advice of some attorneys, and an employee of the ICRC, I have filed an official complaint. They parallel file with the U.S. EEOC so the clock doesn’t run out at the federal level. And regardless of outcome, if the ICRC deems the case had merit, even if they side with the employer in the end, I can get a “right to sue” letter. And in this case, due to not only WHAT they did, but HOW they did it, and the fact they admitted it was ok in a signed document 2 years ago allowing that schedule, they have in effect said “we agree this is reasonable”. So to change their mind and rip it away with no good reasoning or explanation, I’m told by some they’d be totally shocked if I walked away with the ICRC siding against me. (ICRC – Iowa Civil Rights Commission as they violated Iowa’s 1960s laws as well as the federal ADA and ADAAA, etc.)
And since the boss was praising my work and quality of work during that time, that just adds to the stack of stuff against ’em.