How Does ADHD Disability Fit In With The Americans With Disabilities Act Passed In 1990?

Where does a person with an ADHD disability stand when it comes to the “American with Disabilities Act” which was passed by congress in 1990? I’m not even sure I can answer this accurately, but I’ll try nonetheless.

In 1990, US congress established the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) in order to improve the rights of disabled people. In essence, the law was passed so as to ensure disabled aren’t discriminated against when it comes to things like employment, education, transport, health care, and etc. Before we continue, let me just make it clear that the ADA was introduced to protect disabled people – it was NOT introduced to protect people based solely on the diagnosis of a disability. Let’s just say, there a big difference between losing the tip of one finger, and losing one’s entire arm.

According to recent statistics, there are roughly sixty million people living with a disability in America, ranging from very mild to very severe disabilities. Of these 60 million people, many are able to go about their daily lives and function in the same way everyone else can, including several million who have mental health disabilities such as ADHD. So, is a person with an ADHD disability covered by the ADA?

This is where the question becomes somewhat tricky to answer, because in truth, there are three answers:

1. Yes

2. No

3. Perhaps

We also need to bear in mind at this point, that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is in fact a recognized disability, but that still doesn’t guarantee protection under the ADA. As with most health conditions, ADHD symptoms can be very mild or very severe. Additionally, the condition can almost always be treated, in which case the symptoms are kept under control. The best way to look at this would be to look at it from a very logical point of view.

Inattentiveness for example, is hardly likely to prevent a person from getting gainful employment, and it’s also not likely to have a significant impact on the way a person goes about their daily life. The same can be said about hyperactivity and impulsivity; both are which are at the forefront of ADHD.

Of course, as is to be expected, countless people with ADHD have in the past gone to court in order fight their case, and in a very small percentage of cases, they have won. The Supreme Court has however, now gone ahead and placed restrictions/limits on the act. The court has stated that if a condition, even if it’s considered to be a disability, can effectively brought under control, to a point where the person in question can lead a normal life, that person will not qualify for protection under the ADA.

What Does This Ruling Mean for People With ADHD?

If a person with ADHD wants special accommodations granted under the ADA, they will need to provide substantial proof that they are in fact disabled. In other words, they’ll need to prove that at least one of their major life activities is significantly limited. Such proof would have to include a detailed report from one or more duly qualified doctors with plenty of relevant experience. ADHD disability may also need to be confirmed by a State appointed panel of clinical psychiatrists, depending in the nature of the claim being made.

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3 Tips On How to Keep Your Job Even if You Have Poor Health

At times your health may decline. Such an event can cause you to wonder how that will affect your life and/or job. You worry about such issues when a nagging backache won’t go away or you contract a viral cold for the sixth time in a year. Even more people worry when they suffer with devastating chronic diseases.

Still, it’s not good to worry too much if you have a simple sickness, i.e. you’re a bit under the weather. When you work full time for an employer, he allots you specific segments of time off per year. It may be designated as vacation, sick days or PTO, personal time off. When and if your health falters and you need more sick days than you have accumulated, you have a problem. (If you’re self-employed, taking time off is a different matter entirely.)

Note: It’s peculiar, but important to this discussion to consider that many employees have less than stellar “job performance” records because they drag in to work with “colds” and/or recurring, persistent, health problems. That causes the employee to be ineffective in his job even when he’s working!
*Whether you suffer with pesky health problems or an occasional virus, how you handle your time off from work can make all the difference in how you’re perceived as an employee and how your employer is willing to handle your absences when they do come. I know this subject well because I not only sold employer health insurance plans and personal disability policies, but I found it necessary to use my employee health/disability/leave benefits to the fullest. After a long period of struggling to maintain my professional career, I went on disability and stayed on it for 15 years. However, I started healing five years ago and now I’m completely well using the same strategies and techniques that I share with my clients every day.

The risk of having an employee with poor health is obvious to the employer: lost productivity, having to shuffle other people to pick up the employee’s slack, disruption of business, etc. The risk to you, the sick employee, is more complicated because if you miss too much time or your work product suffers badly, you may risk losing your employment lifeline.
3 Tips to Avoid Losing Your Job:

#1: Use your “sick” days for real illness. That sounds obvious, but many people are tempted to fudge on this one. Don’t be tempted to call in sick when you’re not. Use your sick days wisely. Be sure that your employer knows that he can count on you and when you ask for time off, you really need it.
#2: Plan your doctor’s appointments when they are the least likely to interfere with your job. Always use personal time (off the job) first. If you must make appointments during work hours, schedule them when you’re the least busy or responsible for producing work that your employer needs completed for important projects.
#3: If you have a recurring or continuous illness that requires more doctor’s care, therapy or special appointments, plan your work absences very carefully, if you can. (With some sicknesses, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia or autoimmune illness, that can be a huge challenge.) You may be able to handle a health issue on your own, but if necessary, explain the problem to your supervisor. Most employers are willing to work with a valued employee. If you haven’t missed work frivolously and you’ve kept a good work record for performance, most employers will accommodate your health needs for certain periods of time, i.e. for cancer or physical therapy treatments. (This is particularly true if you can complete your work assignments at another time, i.e. during flex-time hours.)

BONUS TIP: If and when you encounter severe or long term chronic illness, you need to do intensive, investigative planning. Do it by yourself and as discreetly as possible. Anonymity may be necessary at first. Check out your employer’s disability, family leave and health insurance policies extensively. (Note: Smaller employers may not offer the same benefits as larger ones.) Educate yourself on your benefits or lack thereof. Your future health insurance status and financial future may depend on how well you do your homework. If necessary, get a caring friend or a professional to help you. Be up front with your physician about what is expected of you in your job and ask if he advises you to continue working. Also, don’t forget to include any personal disability or health income policies into your planning strategy.
If if seems that a period of disability is imminent, discuss the situation with your physician immediately. Have him document every health complaint, symptom, office visit, test and procedure in your chart. Your doctor is the one who writes disability (instruction) orders for your employer. He also supplies data to your insurance company and completes his portion of disability claim forms, if necessary. Plus, he may be able to advise you on how much of a disability (time) period to expect because of your illness, the severity of your symptoms and your future potential to return to work.
With any long term or chronic illness, planning and information are critical. If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, allergies or any autoimmune illness, check out the Health Matters Show [] where you’ll discover all kinds of answers about how to heal from illness! Plus, while you’re there, ask “Your Most Pressing Question.” You specially may want to know “how” to keep “your” job! I’ll try to answer it. Cinda Crawford, ELTHp, ELT Health Practitioner and host of the Health Matters Show. Remember: Take charge of your future and your health.

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