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 Daniel Bedingfield, ADHD

Daniel Bedingfield, ADHD

Margaret Harris says there are ways to cope with staff who have ADHD

May 16, 2010 12:00 AM | By Margaret Harris

Parents and teachers run ragged by children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) should spare a thought for the adults suffering from the disorder.

It was long assumed that children diagnosed with ADHD would eventually grow out of the problem – usually at puberty – but this is not always the case.

Time management, prioritising, screening out distractions or simply getting started on a lengthy to-do list can be extremely difficult tasks for people with ADHD.

What’s more, many adults with the disorder were never diagnosed, so have no explanation for their behaviour.

Occupational therapist Andi Bengis says that many adults often diagnose themselves when their own children are found to have the problem.

This was definitely the case with Saul Hirsch (not his real name).

He says he found himself mentally ticking off every single thing on the list of classic symptoms of ADHD.

A look at his school career should have alerted his teachers that he had ADHD. Hirsch says he was not a team player and was often in trouble for being disruptive and distracting his classmates.

Today he is self-employed because he knows that he would never be able to cope in the confines of the corporate environment.

Bengis says that adults with ADHD are best suited to companies or industries that are “off the wall”, such as advertising.

Companies that don’t have a corporate mentality – and which don’t have a dress code – will be the most accommodating, Bengis says.

In fact, many of the characteristics of ADHD are highly sought after in today’s working world. For example, the ability to think laterally can be a huge advantage.

Bengis says that those with ADHD who find themselves in an “unfriendly” environment will invariably find themselves in trouble for being late, missing deadlines, missing meetings and “just not getting things done”.

But ADHD does not have to be debilitating.

Lawrence Wordon, the MD of recruitment group Kelly, says: “A co-operative approach between those with ADHD and their employer is key to a successful working relationship.

“Managers, in particular, can be proactive by forwarding regular memos, with widely spaced paragraphs, to employees in an effort to summarise spoken instructions,” Wordon says.

“The granting of regular breaks is also an effective tool to combat the effects of ADHD in the workplace.”

He also has advice for those with ADHD. “They can also take several measured steps to counter the challenges of their condition, for example, the use of check lists and a daily planner.”

Other methods include asking colleagues to send information in writing for tracking purposes; working earlier or later in the day when the environment should be calmer; breaking work up into smaller, more manageable chunks; avoiding over-scheduling and arranging for uninterrupted blocks of time during the day where phones are diverted straight to voice mail.

Dr Dora Wynchank, a Johannesburg psychiatrist, says: “Adults with ADHD should seek treatment and counselling as soon as the first signs of ADHD are recognised. Treatment should be an individualised collaboration between the treating psychiatrist and the particular patient; identifying his/her specific needs and lifestyle. Flexible dosing of medication, with the patient in charge, can ensure sufferers lead a successful work life.”

Bengis agrees that, as with children, medication can help.

Source:  http://www.timeslive.co.za/business/careers/article449801.ece/Attention-deficit-a-boon-for-bosses



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