25th Oct 2021 by Adjust
October is ADHD awareness month, which seems like the perfect time to learn a little more about this misunderstood neurotype.
ADHD isn’t just about difficulties, there are many positive sides to ADHD. It can often mean a person is very charismatic, sensitive, passionate, creative, outcome focussed and have unique ways of solving problems. It can also affect focus or concentration, but those are a couple of the areas that someone might be dealing with in the workplace. A person with ADHD might also fidget a lot, have issues with their working memory, or seem to constantly switch tasks. These may mean that an employee needs workplace adjustments in order to reach their potential. And one of the most productive adjustments for an employee with ADHD can be their workplaces engaging in education and awareness raising of ADHD.
To help improve understanding of ADHD, Marianne Eloise has written a 7 step guide to ADHD:
1. Adults can have ADHD!
For a long time it was believed that only children could have ADHD, and there are many people who still perpetuate the myth. While there are more children diagnosed with ADHD than adults, it is untrue that it’s possible to “grow out of it”. Symptoms and characteristics of ADHD may look different in adults–they may be less hyperactive for example, but could struggle more with prioritising, organisation and relationships.
2. There are lots of jobs that suit people with ADHD
Many people with ADHD may struggle to cope in very rigid settings, like education or office work. However, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t thrive in those environments with adjustments! The jobs people with ADHD seem to suit best are ones that are flexible, have an understanding manager that allows them to be creative with how they approach their role. Many people with ADHD are outcome-focused and driven by high-pressure environments, so jobs like paramedic, doctor, athlete, speakers, designer, journalist or even firefighter could be great fits.
3. There are three different types of ADHD
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, but everyone who has it is different, and many people won’t even have every aspect of it. There are three different types of ADHD: impulsive/hyperactive type, inattentive/distractible type, and combined, with has elements of the other two and is the most common. Those who are primarily impulsive/hyperactive are more likely to struggle with sitting down for long periods of time, while for those who are distractible, their difficulties might be less noticeable and more internal. For instance appearing to be listening but perhaps thinking about other unrelated topics.
4. Hyperfocus can be a major positive in the workplace
The idea that people with ADHD can’t focus at all is a little bit of a misconception. While they may struggle to concentrate on certain things or remember to do certain tasks or to settle down to anything they aren’t immediately grabbed by, many are capable of “hyperfocus”. Hyperfocus is a kind of laser focus on one task, often something that the person is especially interested in. While it can be difficult when someone is focused on the “wrong” thing, if it’s something they need to do, it can enable them to look at things more closely than another person might.
5. Medication is a personal choice for people with ADHD
The most common medication for ADHD is stimulants, often known by brand names like Adderall and Ritalin. These tablets can help people to focus and can reduce their impulsive behaviours, but they can also have side effects like a loss of appetite or anxiety. Many people with ADHD find medication helpful, especially with work and other responsibilities, but many others choose not to take it because of its side effects or the perceived effect on their personality. It’s a personal, individual choice and what’s right for one person won’t be for another!
6. People with ADHD may need workplace adjustments
While ADHD can make some aspects of life a little more complicated, there is no reason a person who has it can’t have jobs, enter education, or get into relationships just like anyone else. However, they might need some extra adjustments and support. What that means is individual, but it could be as simple as a flexible work schedule, an understanding of the basics of ADHD, or permission to doodle or fidget without being admonished. Flexibility is a benefit to everyone, and a personalised approach to work would be a positive outcome of making those adjustments in the workplace.
7. Nothing “causes” ADHD
People “blame” ADHD on everything from TV to absent parents to phones to junk food. While some things might exacerbate symptoms, ADHD is a neurological profile that has always existed. It’s just a slightly different way that a person’s brain is wired and it’s a part of who they are–as a society, we need people who are able to think differently.
We aim to start the neurodiversity conversation in every workplace through training and consultancy and hope you have enjoyed this quick 7 step guide to ADHD.
If you would like to learn more about ADHD or our services then contact us at Adjust.