Is ADHD a disability?

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Is ADHD a disability?

Severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disoccder (ADHD) is considered a developmental disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity challenges ADHD can cause make it hard for a person to function in a work or school environment.

Aside from the legal context, not everyone defines ADHD as a physical disability. It can make these terms controversial.

This article discusses ADHD, it’s potential as a disability, how you can get diagnosed and what federal disability benefits you may be eligible for if ADHD is present. This article also discusses possible accommodations at school and work, such as taking frequent breaks and extra time to finish work.

ADHD is a developmental disability.

ADHD symptoms usually begin in childhood but can continue through adulthood.

The symptoms of ADHD in children include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Daydreaming
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Conflicts between peers
  • Excessive talking
  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Risk-taking

Hyperactivity in adults can appear as extreme restlessness or exhausting others with their activity. Hyperactivity can manifest in adults as restlessness or by wearing out others with their activity.

ADHD may be regarded as a developmental disability if the symptoms are severe enough to affect a person’s ability to function in school or work.

Any condition that affects daily functioning and occurs during childhood is considered a developmental disability. These conditions may affect learning, behaviour, motor skills or language development.

What is ADHD?

ADHD can affect a child’s learning ability. The inability to pay attention for long periods, impulsivity, and inability to stay still are all symptoms of ADHD.

The Legal Rights of Students at School

  • Additional time for completing assignments and tests
  • Allowing the child to move about frequently is important.
  • Quiet learning environments outside the classroom
  • Shorter assignments
  • Help with Organization

Students with ADHD might be eligible for special education or other aids and services related to ADHD from their school district.

Workplace Accommodations and Legal Rights

ADHD can persist into adulthood and cause problems in the workplace. The inability to pay attention is one of the most common symptoms of ADHD in the workplace.

Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities against discrimination at work. This law requires employers who have 15 or more workers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to people with disabilities to enable them to be successful at work.

A diagnosis of ADHD will not provide you with automatic protection under the ADA. A healthcare professional must confirm that your condition is causing you disability.

Suppose your ADHD symptoms are affecting your ability to perform your job. In that case, you should discuss your diagnosis with the person in charge of human resources to see if any accommodations can be made.


  • Delegating work
  • Taking frequent breaks
  • Technology Assistance
  • Realistic workloads
  • Adjusting the workspace to minimize distractions
  • Modified work schedule
  • Change of position within a company

Disability Benefits: How to Apply

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability Programs are among the most important federal programs for people with disabilities.

In some cases, children with ADHD might qualify for federal disability benefits–Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration. There are some strict criteria for eligibility. The child’s condition has to cause “marked and serious functional limitations”, and the symptoms must last for at least a year.

Adults with ADHD must meet similar requirements to qualify for federal benefits. The condition must prevent them from doing any “substantial gainsful activity”, and it has to have lasted at least one year.

To receive benefits, you must first get an ADHD diagnosis. Next, you must apply for benefits to see if your child or yourself qualify.

All applications for disability benefits will be considered individually. For assistance in completing the application, you can call or apply online. Visit the Social Security Administration Website for more information.

Diagnosing ADHD

Parents and teachers may first notice symptoms of ADHD. The diagnosis of ADHD can be made by a child’s health care provider, such as a family physician or paediatrician. A 2014 national survey found that 30% of children were diagnosed with ADHD by age six and 76% by age nine.

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) DSM-5, based on the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition, can also diagnose ADHD.

The criteria for diagnosing ADHD is based on a consistent display of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity.

Inattention symptoms include:

  • Attention problems during tasks
  • Schoolwork mistakes
  • Incomplete tasks
  • You can easily be distracted
  • Avoiding activities that require concentration
  • Losing items
  • Forgetfulness
  • Being unorganized

Hyperactive/impulsive behaviour can include:

  • Difficulty in taking turns
  • Interrupting
  • Excessive talking
  • Difficulty in sitting still
  • Tapping hands or feet
  • Playing quietly is difficult
  • Walking instead of running

ADHD can be diagnosed in adulthood. The diagnosis criteria include experiencing at least five persistent inattention symptoms and five persistent hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms.


What is Combined Type ADHD (Combined Type ADHD)?

You can read more about it here:

ADHD is a disorder that’s usually diagnosed in childhood. Its symptoms can persist into adulthood. These symptoms, such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness, can cause serious problems in the workplace and school.

ADHD is a developmental disability and not a learning disorder. In the workplace or classroom, accommodations can be made to make people with ADHD more successful.

A person with ADHD may qualify for federal benefits for severe symptoms. It is decided on a case-by-case basis.

The ADHD Brain and the Non-ADHD Brain

Very well: A Word of Advice

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you suspect they might have ADHD. They can help assess the situation and provide treatment options. Early detection of these symptoms will allow for faster interventions to be implemented to help your child achieve success at school and home.

Ask your child’s teacher about the accommodations available to make learning easier for your child. It can reduce their frustration and other negative behaviors affecting their learning ability. See a family therapist for tips on managing behaviors at home.

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