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Is ADHD a disability?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is considered a disability under federal law. Several rulings ensure that ADHD is recognized as a disability, including:

  • the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • the Individuals with Disabilities Act

Since ADHD is recognized as a disability, some children and adults with this condition qualify for special modifications in schools and workplaces. In some circumstances, adults with ADHD are protected against discrimination from their employers. A counselor or social worker can help you determine whether you qualify for these special accommodations at work. In addition, children with ADHD are entitled to receive fair and reasonable accommodations in public schools. When ADHD symptoms impair a child's ability to perform their schoolwork, the child may qualify for special education services.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

ADHD isn’t always classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). People with ADHD are only considered disabled (in the technical, legal sense of the word) if the ADHD substantially limits them in a major life activity, like self-care activities, seeing, hearing, working, and learning. Since not everyone with ADHD is that limited, not everyone is considered disabled under federal law.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.