I Choose to Disclose My Diagnosis. What Should I Say to my Manager?

Rachel Worsley  |  23/03/2024

If you wish to disclose your diagnosis, request a meeting with your direct manager or supervisor at a time that suits both of you. Make the meeting request by email if possible and get the appointment booked in your calendars. The following example script is based on a fictional marketing role, but the general gist of the conversation should apply to most jobs.

  1. Point out how much you enjoy the job, the work, the people and the support of your manager to date. 

“Hi John, I am really enjoying my role in marketing and I’ve appreciated all the great tips that you’ve provided me about how to create engaging proposals for clients.”

  1. Point out the great feedback that you have received on the job, from the manager or from your colleagues. 

“As you know, I’ve had some great feedback from my colleague Mary who really liked my idea about how to make Instagram videos that feature dogs.” 

  1. Mention that there is one issue that is holding you back from being able to maximise your work output, such as your difficulty to concentrate in light of distractions. 

“I know you’ve mentioned that I’ve had quite a few spelling mistakes in some of my recent proposals. I’ve been sitting in the “hotseat” area of the company, which is full of ringing phones and flickering lights. It’s very difficult for me to concentrate in that setting.”

  1. You can choose to disclose your diagnosis at this point. Ensure you keep the description of ADHD to a brief minimum, with an emphasis on the positive aspects of ADHD. 

“I was recently diagnosed and started treatment for ADHD. I am not sure how much you know about ADHD. Most people wouldn’t know that ADHD is the two extremes of concentration. That means that I can get very distracted in an environment such as noise and people around me. However, I am able to hyperfocus in situations where I enjoy the work and there are no distractions, like flickering lights or ringing phones.” 

  1. State your proposed solutions and be prepared to negotiate with your manager for a win-win scenario. Write down 2-3 different solutions and refer to them.  

“I make fewer mistakes when I work in a dedicated quiet space. Would I be able to work from home like my colleague, Mary, once a fortnight? I can use that day to finish marketing proposals.” 

“We do have clients coming in all the time and it’s a good idea that you are able to meet with them when they do arrive.” 

“I know that the spare boardroom upstairs doesn’t have anyone from 9am - 12pm. Perhaps I can work there for three hours a day to complete my marketing proposals. What do you think?”

“Sure. As long as you keep an eye on your email if we need you to come down for a meeting.” 

  1. If your manager only agrees to the accommodation on a trial basis, make sure you check back with the manager after the trial period. Make notes on how the accommodation has been beneficial for you. 

“Hi John, I’ve been using the boardroom for the last three weeks and I’ve managed to submit three marketing proposals without too many careless mistakes. You even noted in our last email that there has been a noticeable improvement! I’m grateful for your support and hope we can make this arrangement permanent.”

“That’s true. I am happy to ensure the boardroom is free from those hours, unless we do have client meetings. I will let you know in advance if that would be the case so you can find an alternative place.” 

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