In the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the term disability was defined as, “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment (ADA, 2007).” Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD, on the other hand is defined as a neurobiological disorder marked by developmentally inappropriate attention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity (Diehl et al, 2004). In presenting these two, I believe that ADHD can be categorized as a disability according to the definition presented by the ADA. This is because ADHD is a mental impairment, and the effects of this disorder and what it does to the individual can become a hindrance in performing activities of daily living. It can be seen from observing an individual with ADHD that his attention span is short, opting to change his activity every so often without getting to finish them, trying to concentrate and to focus is a problem for them too. The constancy of changing and moving around a lot makes them grow tired and weary in a shorter span of time than normal people do, and their impulsiveness cannot be good in situations that require serious pondering and not making haste decisions.
According to the current ADA, treatment for disabilities such as ADHD should be compensated for by the private employer’s insurance and healthcare benefits (Jones, 2006). Much of the amendments that are to be made in the proposed 2008 ADA are central to the language that was used in the original act. The amendments suggested was to have a more accurate definition of disability, changing a couple of vague words to more specific ones, and was concluded by Parry to include much less people with disabilities if the Senate passes it (Parry, 2008). Since these are the only major changes, I think that benefits like the IEP and 504 will still be included; however it will all depend on the employer. I think that the ADA was structured in a way that it was made flexible and can cater to anybody’s demands, may it be the employer or the employee. This is because the amendments still did not mention anything specific.
I think that the employers will not really be affected by this because they have long studied how the ADA can be used for their advantage. These employers certainly have looked into this matter already, and the amendments made can be concluded to be made for them more, and not necessarily for the disabled individuals. An example was a case that happened in Verizon. In 1999, a bipolar employee was terminated on grounds that her disorder does not adhere to the company’s definition of professional conduct (Fischer, 2008). However, the company was nice enough that for the years of her employment they paid her off days when she went to psychiatric therapy (Fischer, 2008). This shows that the company did what they thought was necessary to keep the employee from losing her sanity, but at the same time they were able to find a way to get rid of her.
In the case of adults with ADHD, I think that employers should have accommodations that include a place where these people can relax and keep their minds stress free. A person with ADHD can get tired easily, especially if he or she becomes hyperactive, hence a sleeping area with limited number of hours per sleep, 2 hours will be fine, can be done. Also, it is imperative that they have trained psychiatrists within the workplace that can help these employees when their attacks start. It is important for employers to consider giving free medications and treatment to their employees not only to minimize cost but to have optimal production as well (Schmid, 2008). I believe that even if these issues are not covered in the ADA it is every employer’s duty to keep their employees safe and in their top performances, disabled or not. We all know that this is a right that every human being should be basking in, no discrimination, no strings attached.
ADA. (2007). Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Retrieved August 17, 2008 from http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm#Anchor-Sec-49575
Diehl, T. S., et al. (2004). Psychiatric Nursing Made Incredibly Easy. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Fischer, M. (2008). The ADA Does Not Protect Persons With Bipolar Disorder in the Fourth Circuit. Retrieved August 18, 2008, from http://library.findlaw.com/2008/Jan/1/247193.html
Jones, N. (2006). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources During a Pandemic. Retrieved August 18, 2008, from https://www.policyarchive.org/bitstream/handle/10207/2809/RL33381_20060421.pdf?sequence=1
Parry, J. (2008). ADA Amendments Act of 2008: A Glass Half Empty or Half Full?. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.abanet.org/disability/docs/ADA%20Amendments%20Act%20of%202008.pdf
Schmid, R. (2008). Workplace tests show high cost of ADHD. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.northjersey.com/business/workplace/19273149.html