The answer to whether ADHD is a disability is subjective, as people are now straying away from the word disability and referring to ADHD as a learning disorder.
Is ADHD a disability?
In Canada, ADHD qualifies as a disability when the impairment is severe enough. For some individuals, ADHD is mild or moderate in nature. Behavioral therapy is available for people who are born with specific learning disorders like ADHD.
That being said, there is a lot of debate concerning whether ADHD is a disability or not as many people believe disability to be a derogatory term. The word "differently abled" is generally used instead. With proper therapy and treatment and the support of parents, children with ADHD can learn to manage and get the most out of the different way they learn.
What you need to know about ADHD
The symptoms related to ADHD have a vast spectrum as different people have different experiences. However, here are the most common ADHD symptoms:
- Low attention span: People who have ADHD can suffer from low attention span as they can get distracted easily. This can impact academic success so it’s important for parents to help their children develop autonomy.
- Forgetfulness: People with ADHD easily forget things so it can be hard to focus on tasks and complete them. Some individuals can have trouble multitasking which can be a problem at school or at work.
- Difficulty sitting still: This is a common symptom in children who suffer from ADHD and anxiety. Children who feel restless often shake their legs or fidget their hands while sitting.
- Talking over people: Some people have the habit of cutting people off while they are talking. This is a common phenomenon among people, but it is also a symptom of ADHD.
Types of ADHD
1. Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type
Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive types are the most common ADHD types that people suffer from these days. As the name suggests, this is a combination of both impulsive and inattentive ADHD.
2. Hyperactive-impulsive type
People who suffer from a hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD showcase hyperactive and impulsive behaviors while interacting with people in their daily lives. According to doctors, these behavior changes are visible from an early age. People who suffer from hyperactive-impulsive ADHD can be fidgety in their behavior, as they tend to talk over people during conversations.
3. Inattentive type
The inattentive type of ADHD is more common in girls than boys. People who suffer from inattentive ADHD tend to lose their belongings such as pencils, bags, and papers. On top of this, they can have trouble focusing on more than one task at a time.
According to experts, the inattentive type of ADHD is more receptive to symptoms. From an early age, people tend not to listen to people around them, which can lead to a learning hindrance. The attention of parents plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
The causes of ADHD are still under consideration by experts. Some believe that ADHD is the result of behavioral patterns. For example, some believe that watching a lot of TV and consuming sugar can cause ADHD in children. Other experts believe that the causes of ADHD are more closely related to genetics rather than behavior. Similarly, some people think that a brain injury or concussion can trigger ADHD.
On top of this, the consumption of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy can also lead to ADHD in children. Premature birth is also linked to ADHD as scientists believe that the brain does not develop fully which can cause ADHD in children when they grow up.
Do People with ADHD Qualify for the Disability Tax Credit?
In Canada, people with ADHD qualify for the disability tax credit (DTC) if they meet the criteria set out by CRA. You can qualify for the DTC if you or your child has a significant disability related to their condition.
Some children have mild ADHD with little to no disability while others have severe ADHD with significant disability. The documentation provided by your healthcare provider will determine if you qualify or not for the tax credit. To qualify, your health care professional will have to complete the T2201 form and submit it to the CRA for review. If you or your children qualify, you will be able to claim a disability amount on your tax return.
Tips to manage ADHD symptoms
There is no cure for ADHD but one can learn to manage the symptoms with a few daily life changes. For example, ADHD can be managed by exercising daily. A lot of people who have been diagnosed with ADHD need to move around often and do some cardio every day to ensure that they are not stuck in one place for long.
Physical activity stimulates the brain so that you can focus on one task. Similarly, if your doctor prescribes medication, it can help manage ADHD. There are also apps available to help children manage the symptoms of ADHD. Kairos enables children to carry out their daily routines independently. Kairos includes a parenting coach that makes it possible for parents to have access to validated advice on different matters (sleep management, routines, positive reinforcement, etc.).
Kairos also gives parents access to free resources:
- Printable daily routine chart
- Printable emotion wheel
- Routine cards to make your children’s daily tasks easier
How is parental support important for people suffering from ADHD?
Having supportive parents is essential for people who suffer from ADHD, especially for children under the age of 10. During the early years, if parents pay close attention to their children's behavior, they can identify the symptoms of ADHD.
Parents can set a routine for their children, which can help them focus on tasks and develop autonomy. They also play an important role in helping their children manage their symptoms through daily activities that stimulate their brain and encourage learning.