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Disability Services

Documentation Guidelines for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

NOTE: Although the more generic term Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is often used, we will use the official nomenclature from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Currency

Since accommodations are based on the current impact of the disability to the student, documentation must be no more than three years old.

QUALIFICATIONS OF DIAGNOSTICIAN

Professionals diagnosing ADHD must have comprehensive training in differential diagnosis & direct experience with adolescents and adults with ADHD.  The following professionals are considered qualified:  clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other qualified medical doctors. All diagnosticians must be impartial individuals who are not family members of the student.

CRITERIA FOR COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT

Evidence of Early Impairment:  Because ADHD is, by definition, first exhibited in childhood and manifests itself in more than one setting, historical and academic information must be gathered by the evaluator.

Evidence of Current Impairment: Assessment should consist of more than just a self-report.  It should include a history of attentional symptoms, including evidence of ongoing impulsive, hyperactive or inattentive behavior that has significantly impaired functioning over time.  The report should also include developmental, medical, psychosocial, and family history as it relates to the current diagnosis of ADHD.

Alternative Diagnosis and/or Explanation:  The assessment should also examine the possibility for a co-existing diagnosis.  It should explore possible alternative diagnoses including psychiatric and medical disorders as well as any educational or cultural factors which may impact the individual and result in behaviors similar to ADHD.

Diagnostic Battery:  Neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment is critical in determining the current impact of ADHD on the individual's ability to function in different settings.  Assessment must include standardized measures for intellectual functioning and achievement, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity as delineated in the DSM-IV.

Diagnostic Report & Summary:  The diagnostic report must be a comprehensive interpretive summary synthesizing the evaluator's judgment for the diagnosis of ADHD.  The report must include:

  • All quantitative information in standard scores and/or percentiles; all relevant developmental, medical, familial, medication, psychosocial, behavioral and academic information;
  • A specific diagnosis of ADHD based on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.  The report must also identify in clear, direct language, the substantial limitation of a major life function presented by the ADHD. 
  • Specific recommendations for accommodations based on significant functional limitations must be supported by the assessment.
  • Indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of ADHD symptoms, as designated by the DSM-IV, are mediated by the accommodations.
  • Official letterhead  with names, titles, professional credentials, addresses, and phone/fax number of the evaluator as well as the date(s) of testing.

IMPORTANT:

Students can not receive accommodations until all proper documentation has been received and evaluated by the Disability Services Office (DSO).  Prior history of a certain accommodation does not guarantee its continued provision.  An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation of a disability. 

Once the documentation has been received, a student must request services and accommodations.  This will NOT be done automatically and must be initiated by the student. The DSO will be ultimately responsible for determining appropriate accommodations in accordance with the law. 

ALL DOCUMENTATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL BE ASSESSED ACCORDING TO THESE REQUIREMENTS.