ADHD Accommodations at Work?


If I disclosed my ADD to my company’s human resources department, could I get an accommodation that would allow me to come in a little later than the rest of the staff? I can’t seem to get to the office by 9 a.m.

ADDitude contributor Robert Tudisco is a practicing attorney with ADHD and an expert on special education law and disability advocacy.

A diagnosis of ADHD, in and of itself, does not entitle an employee or student to services and/or accommodations.

You must disclose your documented diagnosis, and show that your ADHD “substantially limits a major life activity” — in this case, your job. In order to seek protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must show that you are otherwise qualified to perform the job, and you must work for a company with at least 15 employees.

While disclosing your disability to your boss will protect you under the law, consider carefully whether you want to do it. Not all employers are positive or knowledgeable about ADHD, and you don’t want your boss thinking you are making excuses.

Depending upon your employer and the competitive nature of your work, you may find yourself passed over for advancement or you may be disciplined a lot.

If this is the case, there are ways to achieve your objective without taking the risk of full disclosure. Tell your boss that you are more productive later in the morning, and that coming in later would benefit you and the bottom line. Instead of working 9 to 5, suggest that 10 to 6 or 11 to 7 might work better.

Since Robert Tudisco was diagnosed with ADHD, he has researched and written extensively on the subject of special education law and disability advocacy, and now specializes in the area as a practicing attorney. He is a former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides specialized coaches for students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Impairment. He has served on the National Board of Directors of CHADD and is a former Vice President of ADDA. He is a frequent resource for the media, including CBS News, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, ABC News, The BBC, The Today Show, CNN, USA Today, and The Seattle Times.

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