View Full Version : Professors Struggles

04-25-16, 12:10 PM
I am a full professor, and this is the end of my 14th year in academica. I was finally diagnosed with ADD at the end of my doctoral program, when I recognized myself when pursuing a specialty in Gifted Children. I have always struggled with organization and focus, but somehow learned to overcompensate for my deficits by working slowly but slavishly, when I returned to college as an adult--determined not to fail this time, as I had in the past. I graduated summa cum laude in my phd program, from a top-tier university. I have a huge record of publications, but the efforts to organize teaching materials has become increasingly difficult, despite medication, and due to the comorbid diagnosis of severe, frequent migraines (and vestibular migraines), are almost too much. The last couple of years I have received comments from students about problems with disorganization and confusion--but this is in addition to positive comments (e.g., my passion for the subject, creativity, etc.), as well (but that are not as frequent as in prior years). My department head emphasized these problems in my last review--with only one sentence on my outstanding and prolific list of publications this past year. I have not told him or any of my colleagues about the ADD diagnosis, although they do know of the migraine struggles. I fear this review may be a documented effort to begin to the termination process.

I am struggling with the decision now if I should disclose this, and what the possible negative repercussions might be. To have both ADD and severe, frequent migraines (despite treatments), is a double-whammy to the ability to concentrate, focus, be productive, and be organized, as well as memory issues (which are becoming more of a concern as the migraines are increasing in frequency and severity again--possible linked to all this stress).

From the little research that I have found on ADD and the Disabilities Act, it seems ADD is questionable, and that the Act is really there to ensure employers make "reasonable" accommodations for people with disabilities.
So here are my questions:

1. Does anyone have any information on cases of people with ADD receiving workplace accommodations? If so, what were they? Were any of the cases people in academia?

2. Is there anyone else with a similar work history who might share their experience, and what helped or hindered them? What might the pros and cons be in disclosing in academia?

3. Does anyone suffer comorbid migraines?

4. Can anyone refer me to a coach with these specialties? To someone who specializes in the Disabilities act?

Thank you for any and all help you can offer.

04-25-16, 07:35 PM
Speak to a disability lawyer - ask if they've worked with someone in academia before and look over their quals (probably on their website) before you hire them. You need a good lawyer unless you have a union that can help you. It's worth it as you make a decent salary and the cost is not that high for a consult, especially compared to the overall value of your salary.

I think your migraines alone may qualify you for disability if they are so severe they affect your performance - but I'm not sure. Disability lawyer would know.

Do you think another medication might help you more, if so, I'd get it. I'm guessing it might not help though if your current meds are already helping you in other areas. I have severe migraines too sometimes and yeah, even just the migraine alone, nevermind ADHD, can leave me confused and not really functioning.

Do you think stress, lack of exercise, or eating habits affect your migraines? If so, I'd try to improve in these areas. It helped me a lot though didn't totally cure the problem.

Also, I'd give more specifics on the types of organization problems you are having on this thread, maybe someone in academia here can give you tips on organization. I find the tips given by people here can often be very helpful.

Can you get a teacher's assistant if that would help?

I'm not in academia so can't really give you more advice than this. Best wishes.

04-25-16, 07:41 PM
I'm not a dr but the migraines could be linked to neck problems. Although I haven't gone through the full range of treatments neck problems can be ameliorated. Certain people who write in hear have much knowledge of this.

To my best guess I wouldn't disclose ADD because it's so misunderstood, however if it's a real problem maybe it would be worth confiding in a superior. Just a thought.

04-25-16, 08:28 PM
Could all your performance issues be blamed on your headaches? Cause if so, I forgot to say the reason I suggested you ask your lawyer about whether headaches can be counted as a disability is that I think you could not disclose your ADHD and just blame things on the headaches and get accommodations in that manner.

Would accommodations help you? Cause if they don't, yes they can still fire you though the firing would most likely be delayed a bit. I don't agree with just giving a blanket, don't disclose. It does help sometimes. That's why I suggested lawyer - it really isn't all that much money (about $500 probably for one consult which is all you need).