Standing Up for Your Adult ADHD Needs

March 25, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

Once upon a time, in a land called Bryn Mawr, PA, I was afraid to stand up for my adult ADHD needs. I was first diagnosed my sophomore year and started to receive testing accommodations for my fall semester finals. It was so difficult to accept my adult ADHD diagnosis and even more difficult that I needed something extra to perform at the same level as everyone else. It made me feel less than.

Accommodating Adult ADHD Needs

And, then, I saw how my grades improved. I felt better when I was able to read those long-winded essay questions and was able to respond with well reasoned answers. It felt empowering!

The longer I sat with my diagnosis, the better I felt about my needs. When I take a test, I get extra time and a room to myself. I perform consistently better when my needs are met and I no longer feel like I'm getting extra-special treatment - the playing field is being leveled.

It can be hard to admit that having adult ADHD means we have different needs. But standing up for those Adult ADHD needs can make a big difference.A few years ago, I was called for jury duty. I had the same reaction many of us have: "Urgh, I have to go to jury duty!??!" I was pleasantly surprised with my experience.

I wrote on my little form they give you that I have adult ADHD and that it could possibly make it difficult for me to sit in the jury. The first judge dismissed me immediately after seeing my form. The second judge had me approach the bench. She mentioned seeing that I have a B.A. in Psychology and wondered that if I could get through my degree, then maybe I could get through a trial.

I was honest. I could do it if I was allowed to take notes. My memory, when it comes to things I hear, isn't always the best. When I'm able to write it down, my memory is a bout a bajillion times better. The judge honored my request - but, not without some difficulty.

Turns out, the courthouse was in a notebook shortage! The judge required that her bailiff acquire six notebooks (one for each jury member), never mentioning that I was the reason for the request. Her bailiff returned several times saying that there just weren't any notebooks around. Eventually, the bailiff found six semi-used legal pads and six pens for us. We sat through the trial, deliberated and the verdict was delivered.

I was so impressed with this judge taking my needs so seriously. It really touched me. And my fellow jury members, save one (she preferred to just listen), loved having the notebooks. It made deliberation so much easier; we were able to flip back and remember just what the witnesses had said. My adult ADHD needs being met made others able to learn and remember better. Now, that's what I call justice!

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, March 25). Standing Up for Your Adult ADHD Needs, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 4 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

Sally High
March, 27 2013 at 6:28 am

Many adults today, just like our adolescents, are overdiagnosed and medicated for ADD and ADHD. These medications are highly addictive if one has the propensity to abuse medications. Adults can learn to live with ADHD and channel their symptoms by using alternative methods other than instantly turning to medication. Medications may work for some time but we still, as a society, do not know the long-term harmful effects of these drugs. I personally was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child but my parents did not want to place me on medication. Instead I stayed active, played sports, was always finding ways to channel my energy. I did struggle with school and found it hard to pay attention but with all of the help out there today like the above post stated, there are ways to live with adult ADHD before having to seek medication as a first attempt. Seeking adult mental health therapy can be an excellent way to learn to see the signs and symptoms of adult ADHD and exploring with a professional ways to cope.

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