The question of whether or not ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is a true disability is a controversial one. While many people who have ADD feel that it is very debilitating and seriously affects their educational and career opportunities, others feel that it is simply a minor problem that one could easily remedy if he or she tried hard enough.
It is important to note that ADD has been officially designated as a disability by the American with Disabilities Act. Those who have severe ADD and cannot get a job are entitled to Social Security benefits while those who have a minor or moderate case of ADD are legally entitled to the same workplace protection that would be given to a person who has a physical, visible handicap such as missing limbs or paralysis. Legally speaking, ADD is regarded as a true disability, not only in the United States but in other first world nations as well.
Severe vs Moderate ADD
At the same time, it is important to note that there are many people with mild or even moderate ADD who have no problem caring for themselves, finding employment and leading a normal life. Such individuals often have to work harder than their colleagues, as those who have ADD find it very difficult to concentrate and work together with others. Many people with ADD also need to take medication in order to manage their condition. However, a lot of people with ADD have no problem leading successful lives and in many cases the employer and other employees at work are completely unaware of the person’s condition.
On the other hand, there are a few people who have severe ADD and are thus unable to find employment. Such people cannot manage a regular job and even find it difficult to manage their own home without the help of a relative or caregiver. These individuals usually make do by living on disability checks or Social Security assistance, which enables them to get medication and work towards learning how to manage their own affairs.
One reason why many people doubt whether or not ADD is a real disability is the fact that the diagnosis process is not clear cut. Unlike other disabilities, ADD does not have a physical, visible impact on the body and the doctor who gives the diagnosis has to rely heavily on testimony from parents, teachers and, in the case of adults, former employers and colleagues. There have been cases when rebellious, undisciplined children have been wrongly diagnosed as having ADD when they simply needed to learn better behavioral skills; this had added to the popular misconception that ADD is not really a disability. However, the fact that ADA and other laws clearly list ADD as a true disability clearly show that this condition does require treatment, assistance and special care. Thankfully, many people with this disability are able to manage it with or without medication and are able to lead productive lives, manage a regular job and successfully care for themselves and their family.
Matthew Wallace, MD advises physicians and business owners on how to incorporate sound financial planning principals into their busy lives and protect against the real threat of losing one’s income due to disability. Prior to entering the financial planning profession, for eight years Matthew practiced Family Medicine before being severely injured in an auto accident that left him unable to continue his medical career.
He lives in Orange County, CA and is married with three beautiful children. Matthew is an avid chess player, an aspiring chef and writes for his website www.doctordisability.com.