Workplace Accommodations for ADHD

Workplace Accommodations for ADHD

Criterion for Accommodations

ADHD symptoms become less impairing with age, but research estimates that 20% of the disabled college student population is diagnosed with ADHD.

It must be demonstrated that medications and other treatment interventions have failed to effectively alleviate the occupational and/or academic impairments.

There is no single typical accommodation profile for those diagnosed with ADHD.  This means that the diagnosis in and of itself cannot be used to determine the appropriate accommodations.

Having a disorder is not the same as having a disability.

The presence of “ADHD symptoms” alone is not adequate for a diagnosis, because many students and adults report experiencing a number of “ADHD symptoms.” Additionally, many psychiatric disorders feature inattention as a common symptom.

The rate of comorbidity ranges between 35 and 50% and increases in adulthood.

Online questionnaires or other self-report forms are not adequate for a diagnosis of ADHD.

Response to stimulant medications is not evidence for the diagnosis of ADHD.

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Impairment
  • Relative to the average person in a general population
  • Relative to the person’s own intellectual ability
  • Relative to peers at the same intellectual level

Documentation cannot be more than five years old.

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Appropriate Accommodations

Accommodations are intended to minimize or eliminate an impairment, but they cannot provide an unfair advantage.

Common accommodations:

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnostic Criteria in the DSM-5

The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines ADHD as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, has presented symptoms in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities) for at least the past six months, and has direct negative impact on social, academic or occupational functioning.

The DSM-5 specifies that several symptoms must have been present before age 12 (American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, 2013).