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

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  • ADDled
    Member
    #88196 |

    Just wondering if anyone has requested accommodation for ADHD at work? What was your experience?

    All I can say is I’m having a heck of a time right now at my workplace and I am really discouraged. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age there are companies still employing HR techniques from the Industrial Revolution. I feel really alone at work dealing with this situation.

    Enquiring minds want to know….

    purlgurl
    Member
    #92249 |

    I have! I work with children with disabilities (and without), and I had a really rough time last fall (feeling overwhelmed *all* the time, depressed, etc. – and this is work that I really enjoy most of the time!). After going through the ADHD diagnosis process, and reflecting back on that time, I realized that I had had very “attention-intensive” groups (very young, complex disabilities), without very many/any “break” groups (older kids, less complex disabilities, etc.) during my shifts.

    So, I talked to the supervisor in charge of scheduling before *this* fall (’09) began, explained my theory about Fall ’08, and asked her, when possible, to schedule me with alternating groups during my shifts. Sometimes that’s not possible, just because of the kids who happen to sign up for a particular day, but she has made a real effort and I think it has made a big difference to my quality of life and stress levels. Also, I get some leeway on non-urgent paperwork (i.e. filling out reports to go to parents – urgent, filling out my reports for other staff – not as urgent), but I have to say that I think I get that leeway because I am an excellent staff person (99% of the time :). Our department manager was thrilled for me when I got my diagnosis, because I felt so great about how the puzzle pieces of my life were fitting into place, and she has written two reference letters for me for scholarships particularly for people with disabilities.

    Things that I think make it easy(er) for me to get accommodations: I am really good at my job (I have been lucky enough to find work in which I can shine, and I am taking a related program in school to expand my scope of practice); I work in a health care facility for children with disabilities (disability-accepting workplace culture, and belief in transcending disability); I am not afraid to ask for accommodations when I need them, and I definitely have the confidence to advocate for myself . I do *always* try to prepare a plan for how something might work out before taking a request to a supervisor/prof/etc. – this summer, I designed for myself a 3-year plan to complete a 2-year diploma (with medical documentation supporting a request for a reduced course load) – apparently my plan may become the basis for an “official” 3-year option, which makes me really excited! We have ADHD, and we are creative people – play to your strengths when asking for accommodations. :)

    I recognize that this combination of factors does put me in a privileged position, and that getting accommodations can be MUCH harder in other kinds of workplaces. But my experience so far has been pretty positive.

    ljsmith13
    Member
    #92250 |

    The only accommodations I’ve asked for was:

    1. When our team was asked to change their hours so everyone was in the office between 10 am and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. I explained about days when I’d had little or no sleep before, and the fact that I’m just not functional on those days. Sometimes, I need the entire day to just rest, so it would be a sick day. Others, I just need to sleep a few more hours and then I could work, but needed to do so from home. The only concern expressed by our director was “Does this happen often?” and thankfully, I was able to say no. So for now, I have no problems with this.

    2. Trying to get exercise in my day without impacting my evening “schedule”. I’m a diabetic, which complicates things. I’ve been told basically, exercise 2 hours after a meal, and at least 2 hours before going to bed. I normally wasn’t getting home until 6:30 in the evening, and having dinner by 7:30/8 p.m. was the norm. However, the doctor treating my ADHD, wanted me in bed and asleep by 11. Do the math – the earliest I could get to bed with my schedule, if I exercised would be almost 1 a.m. Something had to give. What I ended up doing was negotiating an extended break in the afternoon (45 minutes instead of 15) and I take a walk. Before the shift in hours for my team, one of my colleagues would leave earlier (3 p.m.) and I’d walk her down to the train station, and then walk back to work during the 45 minutes. Great exercise. Though, I’m floundering now, because she now leaves at 4, I leave at 5 p.m. and returning to the office for 15 minutes just isn’t appropriate. I’m currenlty trying to get into the office a half hour earlier so I can leave with her at 4 and just go home from the train station. (Not an easy feat for someone with delayed sleep phase syndrome who’s natural bedtime is around 3 a.m.)

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92251 |

    I work as a teacher in a college so they are pretty concern with this kind of disorder with student and they offered me some accomodations. They offerd me to see the student psychologist if ever I needed tips in between my on meetings with my psychologist and they work with me, a teacher couselor and the chief of my department to take care of my reputation that had build before I was diagnose (being late, mixted-up in papers, procrastinator) helping my relationship with collegues and students . Because the student were complaining of my organisation and not my skills and knowledge they were reassured, I am still being monitored and still as to prove myself but I have a safety net around me and for now it’s been working ok (not perfect but better).

    I did present my case with my psyhologist and doctor notes and also avoid some details and talk more about the solutions and suffering I had experience in the last years.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92252 |

    I was fired

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92253 |

    i worked as an admin assistant in a call center and was given noise reducing headphones (i LOVED those things!!!) i was also exempted from the 3 min gateway for arrival and departure from work – they made you clock in no more than 3 min before the hour and no more than 3 mins past, but i didn’t have to be that exact, as long as i made up the time at the other end.

    i hated the job anyways, and only lasted about a year there. i was bored to tears.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92254 |

    wow!! I have been repremanded a few times in my past job, for being late, or just in time, literally running in to punch in on the register!! It never mattered that I always would more than make up for the late arrival by staying later than required. Often I had stayed to help unpack new stock, or pitched in to cover the managers butt, when she would forget or not do something correctly.

    Now that I think of it, I feel like suing their asses for the harrasment that I received in the past few months before I booked off on stress leave, to get away from her. She was an idiot, who had no idea what to do half of the time, and the other half of the time she managed to fuddle her way around. I ran a store and had way more experience than her, and my sales numbers were always the top 5 of all the 5 Calgary stores.

    Sometimes people just dont get it!! If she had tried to work with me, instead of against me, she would have had the strongest sales person in her store still.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92255 |

    Somehow, I don’t think that my comments will serve much purpose except offer some degree of hope and faith that things will get better.

    With my career in the military as a financial/administrative resource manager, attention to details and accuracy is paramount. In the past, since about 2003, I could not pull myself together sufficiently to be functional or efficient. I was written up, verbally reprimanded and put on probation more times than I can count.

    It wasn’t until a year and half ago that a new supervisor came into town, who eventually noticed that I carried some very similar traits that both his daughter and nephew exhibited. Upon learning that my son was ADHD, he suggested that I get myself assessed and perhaps find some answers as to why I am the way I am. (I have really cut this story down in size, so that I do not bore you with meaningless details).

    At the time upper management was looking at me and looking for ways to get me to ‘smarten up’ and to ‘give my head a shake’. Needless to say, once the diagnosis was made, all the heat that was once there was completely extinguished.

    After that, everyone then had something concrete to say and to explain why I was the way I was! When they found out that I was seeing specialists for medication and a coach, they got behind me completely to accommodate me in order that might evolve into the best that I can be.

    All in all, what I am saying is this. There are those who are willing to open their minds and hearts to see that we as ADHD’ers have some fantastic abilities despite our disabilities. That those who are unwilling to accommodate us or who are unwilling to be compassionate and supportive, are simply threatened by us and what we are capable of achieving. They are quick to judge, condemn and criticize and then dismiss us before they actually know what the real issues are.

    In my heart and mind, those people who treat us with such disregard and disdain shall, sooner rather than later have their nastiness turned back upon them ten-fold. I have seen it, I have witnessed it and can say with certainty that their lives will be affected in the most negative fashion for their treatment of us. It always comes back to haunt them.

    At any rate, things will surely work out for the better and in your best interests. It always seems to happen that way.

    Distracted66

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92256 |

    i sort of informed my manager of my ADD, but no one ever mentioned it again(i think they’ve forgotten, plus one of them no longer works there). I spoke to my manager and co-workers about sending me emails with tasks and providing as much info as possible. Also to include deadlines, so i’m not panicking to get everything done as soon as it comes into my inbox. I’m slowly learning to be able to say no to people and not deal with everything at once, but it’s progress not perfection.

    working as a receptionist, isn’t the most ideal job for someone with ADD, but i try to make it work as best as i can. I”m fortunate that i have an awesome co-worker who makes sure i eat and helps me out when i’m getting stressed out.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92257 |

    When I was working for the state, I was a Work Adjustment Coordinator for the mentally ill. Yep! I worked in the mental health system. You would think that people in that stream would get it. I had my way of organizing my data and most of it was on computer–my own computer, for although I was promised to receive one, never did I see one. So, I brought in my own. I worked on that thing for three years, until one day, my supervisor told me I had to remove it. Turns out that the state forbids personal computers due to a risk of violation in patient confidentiality. They even wrote me up for that. That could be violated whether it’s mine or the state’s–all my information was on a disk. Plus, they claimed that no one knew that it was my personal PC. LIE–anyone who knew me, knew it was my personal PC. Anyway–got rid of it and asked if I could get one in it’s place in my office. Response was “NO”. They made a computer “accessible” on the other end of the building–didn’t work that well and it was very inconvenient for the work I had to do with my patients. So I had to go to the library. The productivity slowed down, which frustrated me to no end. So I went to EOE Department and reported it. This was done after several attempts with my supervisor and director. It didn’t do much good since ADHD isn’t technically a disability described in the Disability Act here in Maryland. Everyone else had computers in their offices except me. Although I was diagnosed at age 52, I knew I had it for years when I had my second son. I’m almost 58 now and it’s still kicking my butt when things get so overwhelming. I’m now working for an organization–still in mental health, but there’s not a problem because my supervisor has also ADHD. She understands.

    Don’t get me wrong. I totally enjoyed the work with my patients in the state, but it was the idiocy of the Administration and Management that plucked my last nerve. With my work, my ADHD worked greatly for me, but under the stress, it kept me in boiling oil.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92258 |

    I was struggling at work and I did inform my boss of my ADHD. Fortunately, I work for a large national corporation that prides itself on diversity and accomodation. I was provided with a workplace assessment and a few options were suggested including moving me to a desk in a quieter area, providing me with noise cancelling headphones, providing a “do not disturb” sign to put up to advise colleagues not to distract me, and moving my shift to a time that was easier for me to manage. I am really lucky, and the only reason I had disclosed is because I had been working with my manager for a year by that point, and I knew that her own son had some developmental issues, so she would be understanding.

    billd
    Member
    #92259 |

    I informed my boss nearly a year ago, after seeing the documentary and adding all things up. I then later saw a doc and told my boss what the doc said – confirmed, yes, ADHD.

    I asked for a couple of accommodations based on that and my new-found understanding of my long-term on-going issues.

    He wanted me to sign up for and attend these training boot camps – full week, 8-9 hour days of intense training in large groups. VERY counter-productive for my brand of ADHD. So I requested an accommodation – that I be allowed more CBT training more one-on-one, and the ability to learn over the Internet, etc. at my own pace. Balked.

    This summer some of our hours were changed to shift my work day to hours later in the day. There went my early morning quiet time, my time to concentrate, to get things done, before the crowds arrived and the interruptions started. further, it shifted my commute to and from to the rush hour. NOT good for an ADHD person with a bad history of traffic violations (speeding) and temper issues in heavy traffic.

    So I requested an accommodation – shift my work hours BACK to where they were.

    BALKED.

    Neither would cost the employer a single penny, no inconvenience at all, and in fact, the trainiing for me would be CHEAPER by several thousand dollars!! It would be a net savings, I’d get more done, get more out of training, and would be no negatives to the employer at all.

    I’ve not heard back since the two doctors submitted their own findings and replied to the forms the employer wanted completed by medical providers, but in each case, both doctors supported my requests, listed the reasons. One stated the driving was an issue, among other things, the other stated I needed the early quiet time as well as the learning issues with large groups in a boot-camp situation. He suggested a quiet office, the ability to close my door, and move my work hours to earlier times.

    It would seem that they would have to comply – but I expect a court battle and have told our HR person here, who has an ADD son, that I fully expect this to go to court based on how they have treated me so far and all the hoops they made me jump through.

    The place I work? A government agency – we help people with mental and physical disabilities get training and jobs and become self-sufficient tax-paying individuals with full meaningful employment.

    Ironic, eh?

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    At first they made the accommodations that I asked for (lists of what I’m working on instead of verbal commands among other things) and they really tried to be helpful, but I’ve found as time goes on, especially when we are busy, they do not want to take the time needed to accommodate my ADHD. I work in retail and this time of year everyone has short tempers and less time to deal with the little mistakes I make, and it’s frustrating for everyone. Luckily, my HR person is a great person and sees that I am an asset despite (or because) of my ADHD. She not only tries to help with that, but tries to work around my schedule as a single mom, too. It’s annoying to deal with the middle management who don’t want to deal, but at least I know she’s in my corner.

    mjstelly
    Member

    I found this site the other day due to their show being aired on a PBS fundraiser. I was diagnosed with ADD (Inattentive) 10 years ago. Fast forward to 2011. I found a job doing cutting edge IT work. I was so excited (plus, I’d been unemployed for 18 months prior). I thought, “this time it’ll be different.” So, I decided that to be different, I had to act different. So, I told my new boss about my diagnosis. That was my undoing.

    No attempt at accommodations were made. Three months later, I was called into my boss’ office. Without warning, without explanation, without any indication that anything was amiss, I was told that, “I didn’t get it and I never will.” With that, I was fired. “Get what?”, I asked. I was dismissed with no further explanation.

    Later, I spoke with a friend who retired as a very high-powered HR executive in the auto industry. She explained that under no circumstances should I ever do that again. Once I told my boss, I became an identified liability. It made perfect sense to her that since the company was in the process of trying to impress buyers, they needed to make themselves look more profitable. Laying off staff is the quickest way to achieve this. And, voila, I was the identified target.

    I can’t speak for everyone. Others obviously have had better outcomes. For me, it was one of the most traumatizing firings I’ve ever experienced.

    billd
    Member

    That’s how I discovered the site………
    Reasonable accommodations in the U.S. are covered under the ADA and the 2008 amendments to the ADA. The latter helps some disabled folks in that is states employers (and others) cannot take medications into account when determining disability.
    For example – say you have ADD and the symptoms that “impair” you the most are mostly controlled by a medication. The employer can not say “since the symptoms are controlled by a drug, you are no longer disabled and no longer require any accommodaitons”. Nope – the AADA states that the condition as it exists without outside aids such as drugs must be considered, not the condition as it may exist with aids such as medications. Vision is the exception – if you have a visual impairment and it is corrected by lenses, then the employer may be able to dodge the accommodation since the lenses negates the need for same.
    In the case of ADD and drugs, I HATE what the drugs do to me, and unfortunately after nearly 2 years on Adderall, I find it is no longer having positive impact but is instead making me feel as if I’m on a constant adrenalin rush. On the other hand, the “sleep doctor” I see not only wants me on the adderall – she’d like to see the dose increased by 30%! I have to admit, the adderall does help control the EDS most of the time, but while it used to help with the ADD, I find myself right back where I was. And some folks won’t or don’t take medications due to side effects or other reasons – so if the employer says “you could take drugs to control it” where does that leave those where the cure is worse than the ill so to speak (I know, there is no cure – it’s a phrase meaning that the drug or cure makes one feels worse than not taking it at all, that’s all)

    Nearly 2 years ago, I fought for and won a couple of reasonable accommodations. One was a slight shift in my hours. Start earlier, avoid rush/commute traffic, and get in a bit if time uninterrupted, undistracted. The results were amazing – better than the Adderall. My accomplishments skyrocketed. I solved IT issues that others not only failed to solve for over 8 years, I found and fixed things they didn’t even know were a problem, or contributing to problems. I became the “consultant” to the entire department. I was solving problems related to things not even in my “job duties” and helped others accomplish projects more easily. I turned our IT department from something folks complained about, or had nothing good to say about into a “wow, what did you guys do, things are faster” or when asked how things were going “I’d not had any problems for weeks now”.
    Then the agency director, in order to “control” employees that supervisors wouldn’t deal with individually, decided NO one will work other than certain standard hours, period. He called my wife and I into his conference room, along with my boss (my wife works the same hours I do, but is directly under the agency director) and announced that we’d have to change our hours. I mentioned the accommodation and he went into a simple well-rehersed “it doesn’t matter, I don’t care” over and over no matter what I said, and he finally said “if you can’t accept that perhaps you could find something more suitable.”
    MISTAKE. Now I can call the union in as that’s called a threat to employment. And when I asked the EEOC and Iowa Civil Rights Commission what I should do – I got a “unless they can show hardship or unreasonable expense, they generally can’t do that”. The ICRC said “you should file a complaint, contact your union and get an attorney”.
    Easier said than done. The ADA is a law with no teeth unless you are a minority in the sense that all Americans relate to “black, hispanic, etc) and the EEOC, Dept of Justice, etc. all say they are swamped, it might be 6 months, then they may not deem the case worth their while.
    WOW, in a country founded on law and fair treatment, we have a law that helps guarantee same – and they won’t enforce it?
    If I were to go out on I235 and drive 75 you can bet they’d have the manpower time and resources to come after me – and ensure I was fined and paid the fine in a timely manner, but when it comes to jobs, security and fair treatment – “we don’t have time or resources”.
    By the way – I work for a state agency that helps those with handicaps or disabilities of all types and sorts find/get and keep “gainful employment” by helping with education, resumes, job apps, interview skills, and assistive technology. Anyone see any irony there?
    It has been the year from “you know where” already anyway, before this all came up – and I can see it ain’t over yet.
    I am not going down without a fight.
    If I file with the ICRC, they want to know if the organization/employer is part of a larger or parent organization, who they are – so they can file a complaint agianst them, too. Won’t Governor Brandstad enjoy that coming through!
    Now for the post just prior – if things are going well, no problems, no discipline due to job performance, etc. – then little reason to let others at work know. HOWEVER, if there are issues that relate to the ADD or ADHD and you let them know and you ask for help or accommodations, then you are covered, they can’t fire you if you have explained the reasons behind certain performance issues, and have asked for simple assistance. It then becomes a discrimination issue and is covered not only under the ADA and AADA, but also the civil rights legislation of the 1970s as well. Actually, my own can be covered under those laws, so the ADA might not be called into question here. I have a medical diagnosis, the professionals stated yes, I am covered due to the ADHD interfering with major life activities or however it’s worded and since the employer accepted that originally, they in 2011 admitted and agreed I was considered to be “disabled” under the law. So in a sense I have them there – they agreed (reluctantly, that was sure a struggle, too!) and agreed to the accommodations, agreeing with the doctor that it would likely help. Employer can’t have it both ways……….

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