Many aspects of employment pose a challenge to people with ADHD. The characteristics of good performance at work include: good time management, ability to self-organize, good problem-solving ability, ability to concentrate, self-motivation, and the ability to delay gratification in the pursuit of long-term goals and rewards.
People with ADHD are impaired in the part of the brain that controls executive functions that enables us to perform effectively. People with ADHD have problems with occupational functioning. As a result, they are unable to hold down jobs, and if they do have jobs, they occupy the lower status jobs that nobody else wants. People with ADHD also have poor job performance and more sick days when compared to normal people.
Dr. Russel Barkley is a clinician who specializes in ADHD. He proposes 6 recommendations that employers should be aware of when managing employees with ADHD.
- Understand that ADHD is a neurogenetic disorder, not a choice, lifestyle, or a disorder arising from social factors such as TV, video games, or diet.
- ADHD involves a deficiency in self-regulation to achieve further goals. This means that people with ADHD have difficulties with tasks involving self-awareness, self-restraint, working memory, emotional self control, self-motivation, planning, and problem solving.
- Working memory problems mean people with ADHD find it hard to keep in mind information about projects, tasks, goals, and rules at the same time. Instructions should be clear and written, and supporting employees to build reminders, to-do-lists, calendars, or use any method to externalize memory and keep it in their visual field should be helpful.
- A key aspect of ADHD is difficulty with time management, so timers, computer-based reminders, or anything else that shows the passage of time in relation to deadlines may be helpful.
- By breaking down long-term projects into shorter steps with more frequent deadlines can provide opportunities for feedback. By doing so, he recommends that people with ADHD should find it easier to motivate themselves.
- Making a person with ADHD more accountable to others for the way that they work may help them be more productive.
Dr. Russell A. Barkley is a world-renowned authority on ADHD or ADD. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, and has written several books on the topic of ADHD over the years. Two of his most recent books are “When an Adult You Love Has ADHD: Professional Advice for Parents, Partners, and Siblings” and “Managing ADHD in School: The Best Evidence-Based Methods for Teachers.”
If managed properly, employers can have a significant competitive advantage by hiring people with neurodiversity, such as ADHD.
Dr. Russell A. Barkley
A diversity of life experiences, attitudes, ways of thinking and behaving are vital to prevent group think from seeping into any organization.
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