Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD is a neurological condition that may impair a person's productivity and rate of learning, though it does not affect specific academic capabilities as is the case with learning disabilities. ADHD may constitute a disability if the symptoms are severe enough to significantly affect a major life activity, such as learning. The role of medication is especially important with regard to ADHD and disability status since medication treatment may reduce the symptoms to the point at which they are no longer disabling. Thus, students with ADHD do not automatically qualify for accommodations. The following documentation guidelines are provided to assure that the documentation of ADHD demonstrates an impact on a major life activity and supports the request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.
I. The evaluation must be done by a qualified professional.
A. This documentation can be prepared only by a person who is not a family member of the student and who is qualified by professional training and practice to diagnose and treat the impairment leading to the disability. Appropriately qualified professionals include: licensed counseling/clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and other relevantly trained medical doctors.
B. The evaluator must include credentials, licensure/certification information, address and phone number.
C. The evaluation must be typed on professional letterhead, signed and dated.
II. Evaluation documentation must be current, usually within the past three years, so as to address the current level of functioning and need for accommodations. An updated evaluation may be required if observed changes may have occurred in the student’s performance or new medication(s) have been prescribed or discontinued. The update should then include an assessment of functioning and accommodations, and be related to the previous diagnostic report. Individualized Educational Plans (IEP) and Section 504 plans are valuable sources of information but are not sufficient for documentation of a disability and establishment of accommodations.
III. Documentation must be comprehensive.
A. Diagnostic interview, including educational, psychosocial, occupational and medical history. Demonstrate evidence of ongoing behaviors that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings, having manifested in early childhood, even if not then diagnosed.
B. Relevant psychological testing, questionnaires, interviews or observations used to identify the AD/HD behaviors. Any tests and scales that are utilized should be recognized instruments that are valid and that have appropriate norms. All subtests and other test scores must be reported in standard score format. All assessment devices serve as supplements to the diagnostic profile but will not be accepted as substitutes for clinical observations and sound diagnostic judgment.
C. Relevant medication and other treatment history, including how such treatment affects the student's current functioning. Also include whether the medication as prescribed was being taken during the course of the evaluation. A history of medication usage or a positive response to medication does not confirm a diagnosis, neither does it support or negate the need for accommodations.
D. A specific diagnosis with appropriate DSM code. Rule out alternative diagnoses or explanations, or explain their relative impact upon functioning.
E. A statement of whether the symptoms the student is currently experiencing rise to the level of a disability as defined by Section 504 and the ADA and in what ways the disorder substantially limits a major life activity, particularly academic learning. Clinically significant impairment should be differentiated from common developmental patterns of adolescents and adults (e.g., procrastination, disorganization, distractibility, restlessness, boredom, academic underachievement or failure, low self-esteem, and chronic tardiness or lack of attendance).
F. Recommendations for accommodations that are directly related to the student’s current functional limitations, realistic and specific to an adult (possibly residential) educational setting, and can be reasonably provided.
IV. The Office of Accessibility and Disability Services will make the final determination of eligibility for accommodations and reserves the right to deny services or reasonable accommodations while the receipt of appropriate documentation is pending. Students must complete the application process, submit disability documentation and bring a current detailed schedule before they can receive accommodations and services. All documentation is confidential and on file only at the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services.