This month we are pleased to feature an interview with Robert Tudisco, Edge Foundation Board member. Tudisco is a practicing attorney, an adult diagnosed with ADHD and has served on the Board of Directors of CHADD and ADDA. As a freelance writer, he has been published in both Attention! and ADDitude Magazines and is a frequent resource for the media about ADHD and disability advocacy.
Edge: You’ve been a leader in the disability community for the 10 years since you were diagnosed with ADHD. What are the ADHD projects you are most excited about these days?
Robert Tudisco: I am excited about the work that is going on at the Edge Foundation to provide scholarships and subsidized coaching for college students with ADHD.
When young students leave the structure of home and high school they often find themselves floating along in college without structure, accountability and the ability to advocate for themselves. For individuals with ADHD, this is a recipe for disaster. Edge Foundation coaches establish the structure and accountability that is crucial for these transitional young adults.
Edge Foundation is also making significant strides in establishing a scientific basis for the efficacy of coaching which has been lacking in this field as well as a means of standardization through their own coaching certification program.
Edge: So I imagine a coach can be helpful to a student in assessing whether or not they want to disclose they have ADHD or keep it private. Do you have an opinion on whether students should come out about their ADHD or not?
Robert Tudisco: Actually, I do not see it that way at all. A coach can be very helpful in helping a student understand their specific needs due to their ADHD and help them self report and seek supports in a post secondary environment. Under the law, it is always an advantage for students to self report their ADHD. In fact, under Section 504 and the ADA, post secondary students are required to self report and ask for services if they are to have any protection from discrimination about their disability. Disclosure for students is therefore a must.
Disclosure of ADHD in the workplace is more complicated than when attending school
When students enter the working world is when the question of disclosure becomes more delicate to resolve. In the first instance, most employers do not accept federal subsidies and employers with less than 50 employees are exempt. Additionally, for an employment claim, the disabled person also has to prove that they are otherwise capable of performing the job. Disclosure becomes even more complicated with respect to certain types of businesses where there is much competition for advancement and traditional stigmas can hold an employee with a disability such as ADHD back from advancement. Here, a coach can be particularly helpful in guiding a client toward a career that better suits their ADHD where their particular work style and creativity can maximize their effectiveness and also how to seek support without necessarily disclosing something that may be seen as a negative.