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Q: Is Adult ADD considered a legal disability & what resources are available? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Is Adult ADD considered a legal disability & what resources are available?
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: debmargal-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 26 Feb 2004 15:30 PST
Expires: 27 Mar 2004 15:30 PST
Question ID: 311203
I live in Seattle, and wonder whether there are any unemployment or
disability benefits available, or education grants, for adults with
ADD.  I have always worked on a contract basis, where I wasn't
"keyholed" into certain hours, just paid by the job.  I'm now at a
job, where I get in trouble if I am 5 min late, and if you aren't ADD
yourself, you can't imagine the anxiety over just worrying about
whether I can make it in time.  That is not the only issue - this job
and me may not be the best fit, and I may lose it because of that.  If
I do, are there any disability benefits, or educational grants I can
take advantage of, to get re-trained in a field that best fits me? 
Specifically, perhaps a 2 year accounting degree, so I can work and
support myself by doing independant bookkeeping from home.  I am good
at that.  I'm just not good about getting to a job at 8:00am, doing X
task from 8:00 - 9:00, etc, and Im setting myself up to fail, like
putting a square peg in a round hole.  I need a career with more
independant work and flexibility.  I have been on ADD medication, and
counseling, for about a year now, and it has helped, but I am still
struggling and feel like I am always on a treadmill.
Subject: Re: Is Adult ADD considered a legal disability & what resources are available?
Answered By: majortom-ga on 26 Feb 2004 20:42 PST
Hello Debmargal,

The primary piece of legislation applicable to your situation is the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Whether or not you have a
disability protected under the ADA depends upon whether or not your
ADD significantly restricts you from performing a major life activity,
such as the ability to care for oneself, to perform manual tasks, to
walk, to see, to hear, to speak, to breathe, to learn, or to work.

If you are covered under the ADA, your employer cannot discriminate
against you if you are able to perform the essential functions of the
position with or without reasonable accommodations. (Provided your
employer has 15 or more employees)

For a very detailed plain English explanation of how this works, see
the ADD Adults Pocket Guide to Anti-Discrimination Law:

Regarding Assistance:

Washington State has a Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
designed to assist disabled residents with training, getting, and
keeping employment.  Unfortunately, they have a waiting list.  They
are mandated to select those most disabled from the list first.  You
may have a long wait for services, but they are one avenue you might


If you decide to pursue a degree, your college or university will also
be subject to anti-discrimination laws.  Your school will need to
provide accommodations such as extended test-taking time if you make a
showing that they are necessary.  Here is an outline of disability law
and post-secondary education, from the Pacer Center:

Your school may have an office designated for handling
disability-related matters, such as this one at Seattle Central
Community College:

You may want to check with your prospective schools about what
services are available before choosing a program.  Also take a look at
what scholarships or grants are available through the financial aid
departments of the schools to which you are applying.

Don?t forget that federal grant or loan money is always an option. 
You can borrow money at an extremely low interest rate right now, and
student loans have very forgiving forbearance and deferment policies.

Here?s the Free Application For Financial Aid (FAFSA) website:

For more assistance, you might consider contacting a support group in
your area, such as

The Puget Sound Adult ADD Association
Meets the third Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Plaza Cafe, Room B, 
University Medical Center,Univ. of Washington. 
Contact Carol Flannigan, (206) 322-4413 or Ron Stein (206) 634-3122

Other Support Groups in WA State, from page on Adult ADD:

I strongly urge you to get legal help from someone locally ?
Washington State Protection and Advocacy provides information about
disability rights, as well as referrals:

I have enjoyed researching this answer for you.  Please let me know if
there is anything else you need and feel free to request clarification
before rating this answer.



Google Search Methodology
Seattle Central Community College
disability advocates washington state
Subject: Is Adult ADD considered a legal disability & what resources are available?
From: deedub-ga on 17 Mar 2004 18:03 PST
I've worked with various people with ADHD/ADD, full or borderline. I'd
recommend using the resources of the community colleges, state
vocational rehabilitation agency, and perhaps mental health agencies
to figure out what job would really work for you. Maybe independent
bookkeeping *is* the right job -- who am I to say what is best for
you? -- but there are aspects of that field that do not jive with
ADHD/ADD. A full career make-over may get you onto path that builds on
your past experience and makes good use of the positive aspect of your
ADD. One employer's "ADD" is another's "Damn! That guy's got great
energy! Give him a raise!"

And, on the other hand, many employees feel the promises of the ADA
and other anti-discrimination legislation are pretty close to empty.
Subject: Re: Is Adult ADD considered a legal disability & what resources are available?
From: debmargal-ga on 18 Mar 2004 16:50 PST
Actually, it is more the "independant" part that works best for me,
because I feel like I am always on a treadmill and not getting
anywhere, that not being tied down to someone elses expected schedule
works well for me.  General deadlines, such as turning in a form by
Mar 31st is no problem, but getting somewhere at 8:30 am presents much
more of a challenge.  Of course, the entire thing is not about being
late to work - there is much more to it than that, its that the
bookkeeping situation is where I'm at right now, and I'm trying to
work with that.  I see your point - where some of the aspects of this
job woudln't jive with ADD - and in thinking it over - I do best with
very loose supervision, in that I'd hate to be 100% responsible for
handling the accounting for a company, but I don't work well with a
timeclock.  I like to do my job - no matter how long it takes, when I
start, or when I finish, and work best when I have the freedom to set
those boundaries myself.  I've been sitting here all day NOT getting
to a huge invoice recon that I should be doing, but probably tomorrow
I'll bust ass and won't tear myself away from it.

A full career makeover is a very good idea - but starting from scratch
at 38 is a scary concept.

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