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Is ADHD Considered A Disability Under the ADA?

Does she appear disabled? Nope. Will she grow up thinking of ADHD as a disability? I hope not. But then again, in the work world....the word disability has its place.


Many people who are ADHD or have a learning difference don't think of themselves as disabled or qualifying for rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This makes sense for two reasons: One, we're moving towards talking about our minds as different, not disabled or in other words, different thinkers are the critical and innovative thinkers. Many of us find genius ways to work around ADHD-related challenges (poor working memory, time blindness and emotional reactivity). We have strengths, such as hyper-focus and we are adept at thinking quickly and strategically. Many of us can write creatively. We excel at problem-solving under deadline or in high-pressure situations. Those of us who have had any type of coaching or therapy, have trained early and often that people will come to understand us if given the opportunity. That gives us tenacity and relentlessness in business. With all that going our way...

...why on earth would we look for a way to risk being stigmatized? Why ask for disability status? disabled? One reason to be able to fight back against discrimination or harassment you may encounter because you do your work differently or may need miss work or adjust times. Much of this can be handled by discussing your needs and how you do your best work in advance of an issue. But biased supervisors and cruel harassing coworkers happen. In those cases, according to the EEOC government website, the ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment practices such as recruitment, training, job assignments and pay. It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the ADA.

Here are a few resources to help you understand the ADA and your protection under it:

EEOC's website's employment rights section.

NIH's Social Wellness Toolkit.

SOAR's Search Tool (Searchable Online Accommodation Resource)

Stay strong. Stay different. This question came from a reader of the blog. We welcome your queries on topics important to you as a neurodivergent worker or employer. Email us: rebel talent at elephants-everywhere dot com.

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