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Old 08-25-03, 01:17 PM
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Post Attention Disorders at work

Source:http://abcnews.go.com/sections/livin.../add_main.html

For people with ADD, work is a battleground, where they endure daily assaults on their self-esteem and constant frustration. (ABCNEWS.com)

By Tristanne L. Walliser
ABCNEWS.com
Feb. 4 — Milele Landrum painfully remembers what it was like starting her work day.
“Our district meetings would begin at 8 a.m,” she says. “By 8:15 a.m., I was at my wit’s end. I’d begin to fidget. I’d need to go to the bathroom. I’d need to go get a cup of coffee. I was like a mischievous child—it was so self-sabotaging and often I felt very bitter and angry.”
Landrum, who is now a career trainer at Mount Hood Community College in Portland, Ore., describes a work life fraught with frustration and immobilizing confusion. “I’d never been able to stay on a job longer than 18 months.” she says.
Despite frequent job changes, Landrum considered herself “fairly successful in life.” It never occurred to her that she might have a real problem that was getting in the way of optimum work performance. But two years ago, she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), a condition that affects an estimated 6 to 10 percent of adults.
Like Landrum, many adults with ADD see the workplace as a battleground, where they endure daily assaults on their self-esteem and constant conflicts with coworkers.
“I’d been characterized as belligerent and a bully by my colleagues,” Landrum says. “If I had an idea or task that needed to get done, I would disregard all other ideas because I was so hyperfocused on what I wanted to do. But at other times, I would just stagnate and be overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks.”

To Tell or Not to Tell?

Workplace awareness of ADD has grown considerably since the passage of the 1990 American Disabilities Act.Under the provisions of the act, adults with diagnosed ADD can demand workplace accommodations, just like people with other types of disabilities.
But many people with ADD are reluctant to admit it to their bosses or ask for special help. If they don’t disclose it, they may have trouble on the job. Some fear they may lose credibility at work, or that they may even lose their jobs.
Whether you let your boss know you have ADD or not, counsels Dr. Lynn Weiss, “You need to learn how to use your ADD to your advantage.”
“The point is not to change you into a non-ADD person,” says Weiss, who has ADD herself and is the author of ADD on the Job, “but to make adjustments for they way you are. To use an analogy from nature, if you take a cactus out of the desert, and put it in swamp and it goes rotten, you don’t give it medication to keep it in the swamp.”
Other ADD experts agree.
“Above all, do something you like,” advise Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey in their book Answers to Distraction. “Motivation overrides ADD, so if you’re doing something you like, chances are your ADD will not get in the way too much.”
Because everyone with ADD is different, the “right career” really depends on the individual. Some people with ADD need a great deal of structure, while others do well if they lots of independence.
“In general, ADD people are not well-suited to a regimented corporate jobs or a rigid hierarchical company,” says Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, a psychologist who also has the disorder. “A job that minimizes paperwork and is not too detail-oriented is very well-suited to the ADD person.”
The author of ADD in the Workplace, Nadeau advises people who have it to expect to have multiple career tracks, and to experiment with work till they find something that suits them.

Be Your Own Boss
Self-employment is one option for people with ADD, because the person who acts as his or her own boss is better able to control work flow and environment.
“One of the biggest problems I had in the workplace was not being able to deal with office politics,” says Melissa Petty, a Dallas psychotherapist who chose to become self-employed when she learned she had ADD. “Many ADD people don’t get the right signals.”
Because of these uncertainties, Petty was in a constant state of anxiety that she might be humiliated or get fired. “If you’re unhappy in your job, cut your losses and quit now,” she advises.
Let’s say you do like your job, but still have trouble coping. By getting professional help for your ADD and making a few workplace changes, experts say, you may see significant improvements.
“Now that I’ve seen a therapist, gotten medication and joined a support group, I’ve changed immensely,” says Landrum. “I’ve learned to use my time much more effectively. And I now use stackables, color-coding systems and highlighters all the time.”
It also helps in if you work in a place where the attitude towards ADD is enlightened, but that’s not often the case.
That’s too bad, say Nadeau, because ADD has a “tremendously positive side. ADD people are high-energy and incredibly good brainstormers. They will often happily work 12 to 15 hours by choice. The business community should not fear ADD. Instead, they should see that they have a potential gold mine here.”

My Desk Is a Mess! Do I Have ADD?
Who among us hasn’t had the occasional discombobulated day at work, when we feel messy, disorganized and incapable of setting priorities? What with endless e-mails, phone calls and meetings, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at work. But does that mean you have ADD?
“ADD is like life these days,” write Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey in their 1995 best-selling book, Answers to Distraction. “The fast pace of everyday life, the search for the sound bite, the proliferation of the fax machine, cellular telephones, computer networks, bulletin boards, and e-mail systems, our widespread impatience, all these very American traits are also very ADD-like.”
Given the similarities between modern life and ADD symptoms, it’s no wonder many people would turn to ADD as an explanation for their work problems.
Your desk may be cluttered and you may not be meeting your deadlines, but that doesn't mean you have ADD, says Dr. Martin Teicher, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
“To determine if ADD was the cause of your clutter,” says Teicher, “You’d have to go through a careful diagnosis. If ADD was not present before age 7, you don’t have it. ADD has to have emerged during childhood.”
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Old 08-25-03, 01:23 PM
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Great article
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Old 08-25-03, 01:32 PM
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Awesome article. Thanks for posting it!
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Old 03-15-04, 02:40 PM
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yep! I can so relate!
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Old 06-25-04, 11:02 PM
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Can be that the teachers missed the ADD in childhood? Dr. Teicher assumes that every teacher and every system had the knowledge and resources to get the child evaluated. This can be expensive and time cosuming for the teacher. As I understand it, children could have different types of ADD. If you don't have the disruptive types, you will not be referred to the professionals. If your parent is in denial, you won't be evaluated. If the district is trying to save bucks, they'll say we'll do it next year. If the teacher is young and inexperienced or sweeps things under the rug, the child is not evaluated. If the process is started in one district, and the student moves and parents don't follow through...

Many things could have happened in childhood, and the older you are the less it was known about ADD, no? So, to simply say "you didn't have in childhood" forget it, is dead wrong!!

I'm not a professional and this is my opinion, what do you think?
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Old 06-26-04, 04:35 PM
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I agree with you, I grew up moving around in foster homes and jumping schools all the time, I had tests taken, but no one ever disclosed the results. And I don't have a way to go back and get them (files sealed). So current doctors can only go by medical records after age of 13 in my case.

1990 American Disabilities Act: I was not aware of this law, and I did not know I was suppose to tell my employer about my mental health. He does know cause I told him after wards about my problems, but can he hold that against me for not having disclosed this before hiring? If I am wanting to see what this does to help me in the work place?

Last edited by NightStar; 06-26-04 at 05:17 PM..
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Old 06-26-04, 05:17 PM
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Awsome Artical

Thank you for posting it.
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Old 06-26-04, 08:29 PM
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You don't HAVE to disclose to your employer anything about your particular disability, but if you do, you cannot be discriminated against, or lose your job because of it. Depending on your employer, you may be able to receive certain accommodations for your disability, such as a quiet workplace, etc.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which took effect July 26, 1992, prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. An individual with a disability is a person who:

Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
Has a record of such an impairment; or
Is regarded as having such an impairment.
A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:

Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position;
Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
An employer is required to make an accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer's size, financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation, nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

Source: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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Old 06-27-04, 01:15 PM
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I agree with the post that says if you have ADD be propared for various job changes. I have found out by "the school of hard knocks" I can't do costomer service where all I do all day is sit in front of a computer and answer the phone. I should have known my mom always said " i spent the first twelve months teaching you to walk and talk, I haven't been able to teach you to sit down and shut up yet" I'm 40ish

I have nursed.. patients, co-worker, and my employeers like a walking talking nurses, I went to school for drafting so I could learn how to comminucate the pictures in my head to the out side world, I recycle for a living. I am what you would call a "renegead ADDer.. I am the organizational part of the business. What a shock with treatment medications, and education I LEARNED I WAS AN ORGANIZED PERSON, the plus I can organized for the disorganized ( that would be my partner )because I was disorganized most of my life.. see THERE IS GOLD IN THEM THERE SRUGGLES AND LIMITATIONS it lies in the over coming there of. I use my AutoCad for graphic designs, building plans, show pictures of my ideas on how to fix a product, I have created some coool business forms intergrating my AutoCad drawings with things like Publisher. Took a week-end to figure out. I don't mind because I have learned TO LOVE A GOOD CHALLANGE.

Tammy
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Old 07-27-04, 11:26 PM
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You are absolutely right. Unless add is directly affecting the child's grades and life in general, the child won't be reffered. The inattentive type is the most likely to be overlooked, especially in girls...
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Old 09-08-04, 03:07 PM
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What about Canada? What do our laws say about ADD and the workplace?
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Old 11-30-04, 10:59 PM
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Several have commented about having or not having ADD from childhood. I was diagnosed for the first time with ADD at the age of 54. That doesn't mean I didn't have it before I was 54, it only means I wasn't diagnosed until that time. You just have to consider what you were like as a child to see if the ADD tendencies were present. It is not hard to recognize mine--even though I was never hyperactive.
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Old 12-27-04, 11:25 PM
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Fantastic article. I want to take it to my boss and show it to her!
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Old 12-31-04, 06:59 PM
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Talking

thanks for posting that i had adhd when i was a child but the doc said there is not enough proof that i had it for sure so now at 29 i felt i was getting worse so me and the wife went to see a psychologist and she said that back then they did not no enough about add/adhd and i took her test and she said i have adhd and some bipolar but she also said that the bipolar could be because i have adhd and she put me on a adhd med and said if this dont hlp the bipolar i might have to take a bipolar med with my adhd med


but one other thing where can i find a suport group

Last edited by privateeye475; 12-31-04 at 07:00 PM.. Reason: forgot something
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Old 02-02-05, 11:33 PM
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I have to share my 2 bits about ADD being undetected in one's childhood. I noticed that Dr. Teicher's comment was not that the ADD has to be detected by age 7, just that one would have it from childhood. At 42 years old I realized I am Inattentive Type ADD. I had never heard of that until about 6 months ago and would never have attributed my behavior to ADD, because I only knew of the Hyperactive type. It was never detected in childhood because I always did well in school. I am actualy stimulated in a learning environment. That is what enables me to focus. Plus, education was a high value in my family, as my dad was a university professor (the absent-minded - ADD - professor). I was an ideal student, taking copious notes and listening carefully to teachers - hyperfocusing on whatever the subject at hand was. Of course I procrastinated on any serious assignments (papers, exams) until I had enough pressure due to deadlines to produce the dopamine I needed to focus and get the work done - frequently pulling an all-nighter. It wasn't until college when I took classes in subjects (Chemistry, Physics) that completely disinterested me and I couldn't for the life of me keep up with the studying, and collected some C's and D's.
But then in graduate school I was interested in everything I was studying and got all A's through 2 Masters Degrees. So - I have always performed well in a learning environment where I am stimulated. It is just that once I get out of school and have to deal with the routine of work I get so bored. I probably average 18 months per job, and in some cases per career. I suppose I need to figure out a way to get paid to be a student. The closest I have come to finding that is my current job as an independent grant writer - doing grant research on a variety of subjects and writing grants to meet deadlines - earning dollars instead of grades. But still pulling those all-nighters! Agggh!
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