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  • ADD, ADHD, Will it Get Your Attention or Not?

    I’m not quite sure how to start this blog today. The road map is a little fuzzy as psychologists will attest to ADD “Attention Deficit Disorder”, and ADHD “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” as a challenge to get your arms around. We’ll call these disorders, “Disabilities” as they would fall under the ADA or “American with Disabilities Act of 1990” if diagnosed and recorded. For a person with this disability it’s a problem of not being able to focus, being overactive, not being able to control behavior, or a combination of all three. A diagnosis of ADD or ADHD would mean these symptoms would be out of the normal range for a person’s age or development. The question being “What is Normal?" It’s further defined as “A neurological condition involving the under activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for the regulation of: Attention, Impulse Control, and Motor Activity”. So as a Supervisor, HR Professional, Teacher or Parent what do we need to know to understand these disorders?

    The symptoms are generally evident before the age of 7. Boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD. Fact is; it is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children. To be clear on this, Parents and teachers do not cause this. There is more and more information available regarding this disability. This disorder takes off in two directions: ADD “Attention Deficit Disorder”, and ADHD which is similar and adds Hyperactivity to the mix. The ADD sufferer tends to be less disruptive, and typically has low self-esteem. This is due in part to chastisement and criticism from unknowing adults, teachers, peers, or supervisors. There is a lot going on in their heads. They are inattentive because everything gets in their way. The ADD sufferer has keen senses and is easily distracted by sounds, smells, touch, or sight. One time it was explained to me like this. “If a fly landed on your desk you might swoosh it away, for the person with ADD it’s like a 747 jet landed on his desk”. Paying attention to detail is not even on the scale, or even paying attention for that matter. The result is real friction in a classroom and at home. As an adult with ADD the results are more acute, functioning on the job with peers or even holding a job becomes a major hurdle. Now let’s add Hyperactivity to this. This person cannot sit still, they are very impulsive, with sometimes uncontrollable or unreasonable behavior, often acting out to gain attention, cannot wait for his turn, acting before thinking, and they cannot complete a task before jumping into another. This is a lifelong event. This disability as we know it can never be outgrown. In time and with understanding it becomes manageable. Behavioral therapy is used by psychologists to teach children along with parents, and teachers, healthy behavior and how to manage disruptive behaviors. Asking questions like “What are you doing? What should you be doing?” In some cases it can be partially controlled by medication.

    My purpose here is not to cover all of the symptoms or all of the answers, but to challenge all of us to become more familiar with this disability, as it becomes an ever bigger part of our lives, and that we are able to be more attentive to it. We need to develop an awareness, and understanding that would allow us to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem at home, school, or on the job. For more information on this topic please visit; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002518/#adam_001551.disease.causes


  • Americans With Disabilities Act Requires Being More Human Friendly

    Have any of you ever tried to navigate that law? The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law 101-336: was signed into law July 26, 1990 The law prohibits discrimination against qualified people with disabilities in employment, public services and transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications. I’m not even sure its Lawyer friendly. In laymen’s terms The ADA is a law requiring all of us to be more Human friendly. It’s really quite simple. Make it easier for those who meet the definition of the law to function as normally as possible without creating a safety hazard for themselves or others, and without bias to their disability. This is why there are handicap icons on parking lots all over the USA, and the rest rooms have wider doors, and paper towel dispensers are hung at a certain height in public restrooms, and handicap access to public buildings is now common place. This is just on the surface there are numerous disabilities to consider including sight and hearing impaired as well as mental impairment. Further, according to the government website this law provides comprehensive civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, State and local government services, and telecommunications. http://www.ada.gov/reg2.html

    Defining the Disabilities follows:

    The Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA) has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

    A physical impairment is defined by ADA as "any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine."

    Neither ADA nor the regulations that implement it list all the diseases or conditions that are covered, because it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list, given the variety of possible impairments. This definition was last revised in April of 2013, and continues to be fluid.

    The overview of the law indicates that the law is divided into seven subparts A through G. A: purpose and application, B: General requirements, C: Employment by Public entities: D: requirements for program accessibility in existing facilities, and for new construction, E: Specific requirements relating to communications, F: Administrative procedures for enforcement, G: designates the federal agencies responsible for investigation of complaints. Getting dizzy yet? Without submersing myself and you into the language of this law, and all of the too many wherefores and wherebys, Let me say that as a company you will need to address this issue if you haven’t already, and make sure you have a ADA Written Plan, videos are also available to help understand this law.

    So what can happen if you are not compliant with ADA? The following is taken from “Disabled World” :

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), through formal and informal settlement agreements as well as lawsuits, and the department dedicated to enforcement of ADA law, has achieved a degree of accessibility in society for people with disabilities through pursuit of thousands of cases.

    According to general rules which govern lawsuits that are brought before the federal government, the Department of Justice is unable to file a lawsuit unless it has first unsuccessfully tried to settle a dispute through negotiation. The Department does have the ability to file lawsuits in federal court in order to enforce ADA law, as well as obtain court orders that include back pay and compensatory damages with the intention of remedying discrimination. The Department, under title III, can obtain civil penalties of up to $55, 000 for the first violation on the part of an offender, as well as $110, 000 for subsequent violations.. http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/ada/ada-law-accessibility.php

    Yes there has also been some abuse of the system by overzealous lawyers as well, and the cost to defend yourself can put you out of business.

    We really can’t cover everything here, that would almost be impossible, and not the intent of this article. It is important however to inspect your facility for access, look at doing an ADA committee, and know where to find the information related to your situation. Please also visit this link about myths and facts. http://www.ada.gov/archive/mythfact.htm So really you see the Americans With Disabilities Act requires being more Human friendly.

  • Disabled Employees and Their Rights on Safety

    The law prohibits any employer from encouraging discrimination in the workplace. In fact, no employer is supposed to base their hiring decision on discriminating factors, such as not hiring a disabled person because of their disability. Richard Alaniz of Accounting Web discusses in his post when an employer needs to consider applicants or employees with disabilities a threat to the working environment and what employers can do to maintain safety while avoiding discrimination.

  • Government Buildings Not Safe for Disabled Employees?

    The US Capitol may be a dangerous place for people with disabilities to work. Most curb ramps and sidewalks are not in compliance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and pose safety risks for those who are in wheelchairs; sadly, employment discrimination is also an issue in the congressional workplace. In fact, these claims have increased over the past five years. Sunlen Miller covers the full report: Congressional Workplaces Pose Safety Risks for Disabled.

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