I work in the software industry, which can be pretty competitive. I am an excellent programmer but programming positions almost always involve some sort of overtime situation. I've had some that are much better than others, but I don't think I've ever had one where there wasn't an implicit expectation that a hard deadline be met even if it requires overtime.
I have a ADA-recognized disability that prevents me from working in long stretches. In certain circumstances, I have had to use the ADA to take leave or request an accommodation via the HR department of the company. In two specific circumstance where I've done this, the tone between my manager and myself has completely changed. They are reluctant to give me responsibility and it often feels like I become someone to be worked around rather than part of the team. In one circumstance, I took a leave and I was more or less accused of gaming the system.
I completely understand the manager's position - I don't think it's right, but with all the legal stuff involved on top of managing, I can sort of understand what happens here. I've gotten by for a few years doing contract work because it's easier to manage my hours, I would like to find a long term position.
My question is this: This disability is not going away and I would like to find a job where I am respected and can use my skills to their fullest despite my disability. What is the best way to approach new employers so that I can describe what I need without making my employer wary or sounding overdemanding when first offered a position?
I understand I'm not entitled to this, but I also feel like I perform just as well if not better than any of my peers, even if you take into account my reduced time in the seat. My performance reviews attest to this. I am more than willing to have a frank conversation with my manager about what I'm capable of and what I'm not, but they seem less willing to do so.
I'm looking for pragmatic answers, preferably from someone in a similar spot or a manager who has felt they have dealt with this successfully. The answer 'take a less demanding job' is not appropriate - my experience over 4 positions is, paradoxically, the more challenging the workplace, the less judgement I have faced when taking leave.