Is ADHD a disability under the Congress Disability Act (ADA - Americans with Disability Act)? You will receive different answers based on who you ask. So it is important to learn as much as you can so you can be prepared and find the right people to talk to. An attorney that is knowledgeable in the Disability Act will be the best to talk to since they study the law instead of someone that doesn't and takes guesses.
The congress disability act (ADA) changed in 2008 and went into effect in 2009. This update made it easier to be classified as disabled. For some people, this needed to happen. You can read an update on this at the bottom of the page. There will be a link to click on.
Years ago (before the 2008 update), I wondered if I could have some kind of classification under the ADA. I have had problems at my job where I get spacey and have a hard time sitting at a desk and working behind a computer. My psychologist said I wouldn't qualify.
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I went and talked to the college counselor about my ADHD, I was told that I do qualify for help because I had a doctor's diagnosis. I don't know if it was under the Congress Disability Act or that they make sure to help people that do need it.
I wasn't looking for a free handout, I just wanted some help. At jobs, they wanted more out of me but I didn't focus enough for that. Some got rid of me but I wasn't a risk of any danger, so they shouldn't be able to do that. I can't take test like everyone else because it takes me longer to read through and understand what is being asked. These are just a couple examples
People that have ADHD, we have to work so hard just to do things that others do with ease. One time I was looking for a job and as I was filling out an application, it asked if I wanted to be considered for Affirmative Action based upon a disability? I didn't notice that before because I never really thought about myself as a person with a disability.
I do know some ADHD people that have been fired because of their ADHD even though they warned the employer that they can't do certain things because of their condition and the employer made them do it anyway.
I also struggle with interviews really bad. I lose focus and have no memory when they ask questions, especially the "tell me of a time when"... So that hurts me a lot when I go for jobs.
I thought that maybe if I could fit under the Congress Disability Act, I could be considered for Affirmative action and have a helping hand to get a job. One of the complaints a prior employer had, was that I have a problem with focusing and retaining what was being taught, especially during a lecture training.
Sadly, they did not ask me what was going on. They just judged me as not caring about my job. They also said that I wasn't picking things up like everyone else. (Yea, its called ADHD) So they ended my employment.
If it wasn't for me using an excellent vitamin and mineral supplement, than I would be 100x's worse. I also try to keep a good diet for ADHD. As much as this helps, it still doesn't take away all my problems.
Some may find that they are eligible for a 504 plan that gives rights, protection, and modification for the student. A student is eligible for a 504 plan if they have a physical or mental impairment. Read more about the 504 Plan if you need help with ADHD limitations. Just know that dealing with schools for your children can be very difficult. They would rather you drug your child and then put them in a special school then to comply with the 504 plan. I hope you don't but you could be up for a big fight.
Is ADHD a disability under the ADA?
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC, 1992). Therefore, some people with learning disabilities will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.
A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment (EEOC, 1992).
To be a disability covered by the Congress Disability Act, the impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. These are activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty.
Examples are: walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, and working. These are examples only. Other activities such as sitting, standing, lifting, or reading are also major life activities (EEOC, 1992).
Side note: Court cases are important. It lets you see the direction the courts are willing to go. If the courts say that ADHD does qualify, than that is helpful to us. In that scenario, the results are valuable to research to get the details of where we stand.
Most courts have agreed with the activities listed by the EEOC. For example, in Brown v. Cox Medical Centers, 286 F.3d 1040 (8th Cir. 2002), the court noted that the "ability to perform cognitive functions" is a major life activity.
In Gagliardo v. Connaught Laboratories, Inc., 311 F.3d 565 (3d Cir. 2002), the court held that "concentrating and remembering (more generally, cognitive function)" are major life activities (Fram, 2004).
There is so much detail and information to the Congress Disability Act already on the internet.
See this link for some additional great information.
If you need help with the ADA, please be sure to talk to an attorney that handles disabilities. They can give you some direction. This is what I recommended when I was asked about it. Does ADHD qualify for disability job projection?
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