Michelle Teel Interviews ADDA Workplace Issues Chair, Linda Walker, PCC
ADDA recently launched a new website, ADHD at Work (adhdatwork.add.org). Created by the ADDA Workplace Issues Committee led by ADHD Coach Linda Walker, PCC, the webpage answers major questions such as whether or not to disclose an ADHD diagnosis at work and offers suggestions and tips for dealing with common ADHD issues that frequently arise during the work day such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity. I had the opportunity to speak with Linda Walker about the new Web site and her experiences as a wife, mother and coach of adults dealing with ADHD in the workplace.
According to recent research, more money is wasted in the workplace among adults due to ADHD than among students in schools. According to the research, 30 percent of people with ADHD are likely to have chronic unemployment issues and 24 percent of people collecting long-term disability meet the criteria for ADHD.
Walker said the research shows adults with ADHD lose 22 days of productivity each year due to ADHD. “We spend a huge amount of time in the workplace and when there is funding, it goes to children, because there is more empathy towards children, but the money really needs to go to adults because adults have a lot of issues at work,” Walker said.
“The survey disclosed employers didn’t know anything about ADHD and there is a lot of bias around ADHD. ADHD really costs society because we aren’t treating it properly.”
Walker said before the ADHD at Work website was developed, volunteers would respond to emails from stressed adults with ADHD. They would ask if they should disclose their ADHD diagnosis to their employer and ask for tips to perform better and stay on task.
“They are stressed because they are overwhelmed and working overtime to hide that they are struggling and most people are hiding they have ADHD because there is a chance that they could lose their job,” said Walker.”
“This website allows employers to look up answers to their questions we frequently get such as ‘How do I talk to an employee with ADHD?’ and ‘What kind of accommodations do I need to provide for this person?’ instead of waiting for a volunteer at ADDA to respond to an email.”
Walker does not have ADHD, but her husband and their 28-year-old daughter both have the condition. Walker who has been married for 32 years to Duane Gordon, the president at ADDA says, “ADHD is not an easy thing to have.”