Supporting Your Employee Diagnosed With ADHD

Supporting Your Employee Diagnosed With ADHD

April 24, 2023

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been a topic of news recently. Celebrities such as ex-professional footballer Jermaine Pennant and TV personality Tommy Mallett are raising awareness of Adult ADHD, due to their recent diagnoses.

ADHD is a condition that affects people’s behaviour, and whilst most cases of ADHD are diagnosed in childhood, there are some cases such as the above that go undiagnosed until adulthood. Adults with ADHD may find they have problems with:

  • organisation and time management
  • following instructions
  • focusing and completing tasks
  • coping with stress
  • feeling restless or impatient
  • impulsiveness and risk taking

Ways you can support an employee who has been diagnosed as ADHD

ADHD can be a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010 which may mean the employee has a protected characteristic and you should be consideringw what reasonable adjustments you can make. If an employee has been diagnosed with ADHD by a health professional, they might disclose this on any health declaration form and provide you with information on what medication they are taking for this.

Where this happens, we advise meeting with your employee to discuss their diagnosis and how it affects them on a daily basis, from their perspective. This will enable you to discuss what support they believe they need from you, to enable them to deliver in their role.

Here are our top tips to support an employee with ADHD:

  1. Understand their condition – If an employee notifies you that they have ADHD, the first step to supporting them is to research their condition and understand the behaviours they may display because of this. There is a lot of material online relating to this!
  • Be inclusive – Remember to flex the way you deliver information, an employee with ADHD may not respond to an instruction or understand a procedure in the same way as those who do not have ADHD. When implementing a new process or policy, take the time to sit down with the employee and provide them with written material and give them context to the purpose of this procedure. They are most likely going to want to know the ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Why’ to each change, to fully understand it.
  • Implement a ‘virtual time out’ – Agree with your employee a discreet signal where you can notify them that they need to take a ‘time out’ without making this obvious to their colleagues. This can be used at times when you suspect your employee is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated and requires a 5 minute ‘breather’. This will prevent situations escalating and the employee acting impulsively.
  • Accept that there may be errors – Find a way of praising the employee on areas of good work and constructively feeding back where errors may have occurred, once again providing them with full context and mutually agreeing how to overcome similar challenges in future.
  • Seek permission to consult their GP – If you feel that further recommendations are needed to enable you to support your employee, seek permission from them to contact their GP. The GP will provide you with some further information on the employee’s prognosis and provide recommendations on how to support them at work.
  • Your employee could benefit from a Neurodiversity Coach– these coaches support employees in the workplace with their ADHD and seek to support strategies to manage the impact.

Finally we found this poem that demonstrates rather beautifully how ADHD may manifest itself. If you’ve not already read it, we recommend you take a look. There’s also an interesting documentary on BBC Iplayer about how private clinics are diagnosing ADHD without a psychiatrist and prescribing medication.

If you need further advice on how to support an employee with ADHD, please contact us on 01527 909 436.

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