I saw an amazing ad last weekend – a woman in a wheelchair was poking gentle fun at her coworkers for being a little “different.” There was an awkwardly-dressed young woman, a guy who had some issues with copiers and another with a loud voice. The wheelchair bound woman admitted to her own disability – coffee-making impaired.

It was GREAT. This could be SO helpful for ADHD folks like us. So I hurried to their website – www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com to see what they were doing on behalf of the “different” people who are employed (or trying to be).

It’s a new site, so not much is going on yet. But there was a link to send free e-cards to others as an aware-raising tactic. Great idea. Until I saw the first card. It was a young woman sitting at a completely cluttered desk with the caption “Clearing impaired – I hid a hundred dollar bill on your desk somewhere. Let me know if you find it….”

Ouch. That hurt.

The site that purported to lay waste to labels had just inflicted injury on the single most prevalent trait of ADHD — clutter. I wasted no time in drafting an email to them- this is it:

Dear Fabulous Administrator

I was thrilled to see your “think beyond the label”
PSA on TV last week and finally made it to your website.
Love the idea. Love the content. Don’t love the first
ecard, “Clearing Impaired.”

The rest of your ecards are clearly making fun of
people who are really NOT impaired, but this one
is making fun of people with ADHD. Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder is  just as much a disability as being
confined to a wheelchair or having a visual impairment
(I know a lot about this since my son is both visually impaired
and ADHD). And ADHD IS covered by the ADA although
you’d never know it by the success rate of lawsuits. Even
four firefighters in Florida were defeated in their attempts
to receive simple accommodations for their ADHD. It’s
an uphill battle, since people think we could do better
if we’d “just try harder.” Hmmmm … do they think people
in wheelchairs could walk if they’d “try harder?”

I know it’s picky but I am on a campaign to make sure
employers and the rest of the world know how devastating
ADHD can be. Estimates show the cost of ADHD in the workplace
is $19 million a year just in the US. And unfortunately,
ADHD folks DO miss more work than others with
disabilities. We are late. But we are brilliant and
creative and eager.

Please consider expanding your definition of
“disabled” to include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder.” We need a little love, too!

Thanks for listening


I invite you to visit the site, too. Maybe I was being too sensitive (another common trait for ADDivas like me). Or maybe they forgot that ADHD is a disability too….