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How do you tell your boss you have ADHD?

There are approximately 8.7 million adults living with ADHD in the United States. Although ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, there are still stereotypes that make it difficult to open up about having ADHD at work.

Dr. Sasha Hadmani, MD, a board-certified physician and clinical expert in ADHD, believes that people don’t disclose their ADHD for fear of being treated differently by their employer or colleagues. “People are afraid of not being seen as capable or made up in the workplace,” she says. “Stigma comes from a place of misinformation or lack of education about ADHD. Oftentimes these are inaccurate preconceptions.”

The Kansas City psychiatrist doesn’t just work with patients and offer ADHD advice Instagram to 389,000 followers. In January, Simon & Schuster released her book Self-care for people with ADHDwhich contains a chapter that delves into the complexities of having ADHD in the workplace.

Dr. Hadmani has also been developed recently The genius of focus, a mobile app that helps people with ADHD better understand the inner workings of their brains. It’s the first ADHD-related app created by a board-certified psychiatrist. Dr. spoke. Hadmani and a few other experts on ADHD Forbes on how to disclose ADHD to an employer.

Building confidence

Building trust with your boss must be done carefully. Without crossing any boundaries, get to know your boss better through business events or a one-on-one get-together.

Work slowly to build a relationship so that you have an initial framework to build on before discussing ADHD. After spending time together, you can start a dialogue about how things can be improved rather than the need for amenities.

“The phrasing of your approach is a little different, so it feels like you’re heading toward a common goal,” says Dr. Hadmani.

Consult an expert

Meet with an ADHD expert before revealing your diagnosis. A doctor or coach can give you comprehensive language to share with your boss. They can clearly explain what your needs are, and how to communicate those needs in a professional setting.

Know that ADHD experts are not hard to find. Type ADHD on Instagram and a variety of doctors and coaches will appear. Make sure your search extends beyond social media. Take the time to find a doctor near you who specializes in ADHD and read reviews before making an appointment. You may want to consult a physician about your disability rights and documentation before telling your employer.


Try to adjust to your workplace before disclosing your diagnosis. Really find out if you work in a nerve wracking environment. Have other employees disclosed ADHD? How did things go and were their needs met? Consider all of this before you sit down with your manager.

“If you’re having a sit-down conversation with your boss after you’ve tried to adjust yourself but they don’t get it, and it’s really affecting your life in a negative way, then you should definitely get out,” Schnittman says.

Be real

ADHD clinicians and coaches believe that people with ADHD must be unusually neurotic in and out of the workplace.

“I’m usually, chronically, forever, open, honest, and divulge everything,” he says Dr. Edward HallowellFounder of the Edward Hallowell ADHD Centers. The Harvard alum wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until he was 32 years old. He believes professionals should be transparent about ADHD in the workplace.

“I think we should live in a world where you can describe your mind without fear of being punished,” he says. And if you feel like you’re being punished or judged because of your ADHD, it may be time to find a new place to work.

Don’t let a lack of inclusiveness in one place discourage you from future endeavors in another. Having ADHD can be an asset in the workplace, something that is often overlooked due to stigma and stereotypes. Individuals with ADHD have many strengths. We’re creative, we’re inclusive. We think outside the box. We can over focus. “We’re adding a lot of value,” Schnittman says.

Companies should have different types of learners. Neurological comprehensive, neurological diverse, neurotypical. We complement each other.”

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