ADHD Disclosure & Accommodations

A Quick 101 Guide for ADHD Employees

ADHD Disclosure: Pros, Cons, and Professional Opinion

If your ADHD makes it difficult for you to perform on the job, you may consider telling your boss or human resources office that you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Disclosure is a big decision, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • 💟 If they’re aware of the challenges you’re facing, your boss/employer may be more understanding and willing to make changes to enable you to succeed.
  • ❗ On the other hand, if you’re truly struggling, they’re probably already aware of that, and disclosure can be a risk.
  • 📊 Myths and misinformation abound. Before saying anything, you may want to explore a little to find out what the person thinks about ADHD by floating the subject in a general or incidental way.
  • 🔐 There are laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in some countries. It’s important to check your local and federal laws to know whether or not you’re protected before disclosing.

Ultimately, many legal professionals, HR reps, and other professionals suggest disclosing only in the case that you need accommodations, and have been unsuccessful in obtaining them on your own. But there’s still a silver lining.

If you need help at work, you can ask for accommodations without disclosing your ADHD. You may have even done so before, without realizing that’s what you were doing! Any time you request a change to your workspace, work processes, or procedures in order to help you perform better on the job, you’re technically asking for accommodations.

ADHD Accommodations at Work: 11 Examples

Not sure where to start? Below are some of the most commonly requested accommodations for adults with ADHD:

  • A quiet or secluded work space
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Assistance with chunking large projects into smaller ones
  • 5-minute breaks; once every 1-2 hours
  • Color-coded notes, folders, etc.
  • Frequent performance reviews
  • Concise workplace procedures printed on cards
  • Option to work from home
  • Visual timer (for those who struggle with time management or time blindness)
  • Freedom to record meetings
  • A white noise machine, or permission to use headphones/earbuds to help with focus
  • ADHD coaching

How Do I Know What ADHD Work Accommodations I Need?

Whether you decide to disclose or not, there are all kinds of ways to adapt the workspace, and the work process, to better fit your unique brain.

If you’re not sure what it is you need, here are a few questions to get you started:

🚧 What are the hurdles or roadblocks that make this task challenging?

✅ Is there anything you could ADD to the space or process which would make it easier?

❌ Is there anything you could REMOVE from the space or process that would make it easier?

📈 Is there a different task or process that could accomplish the same goal?

🧘🏼‍♂️ Could this task, or others, be delegated to give you some extra time or reduce stress?

👥 Is there someone else who could work with you, or help you break the project down into more actionable pieces?

How To Ask for ADHD Work Accommodations

Once you’ve decided on an accommodation, the next step may just be to implement it. Depending on where you work, you may have more or less flexibility to adapt your space and processes. Many adaptations are things you could potentially do on your own, with no one the wiser. If it is something you need to ask for, though, here’s the best approach for asking for accommodations:

  1. ☔ Describe your struggle and its circumstances.
    : I’m struggling with completing this project because I don’t really know where to start.
  2. 💭 Outline a solution.
    : It would be helpful to have someone help me break projects into smaller, more actionable pieces until I get the hang of it.
  3. 📈 Highlight the benefits of the solution to your boss, co-workers, and the company.
    : I think this would help me to complete projects more quickly, and with fewer mistakes, so we could potentially take on more clients and improve client satisfaction.

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