Required documentation For Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Students requesting accommodations or other support services from the Office of Disability Services are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disorder on a major life activity, such as learning. Because symptoms of ADHD can ameliorate in late adolescence and adulthood, a comprehensive evaluation must have been obtained within the last three years. The diagnostic report must render a specific diagnosis of ADHD based on DSM-IV criteria, and must include the following information in order to establish eligibility for ADA protection:
Evidence of Early Impairment
Because ADHD is, by definition, a developmental disorder with onset in childhood that manifests itself in more than one setting, and that maintains a chronic rather than episodic course, the report must present historical information regarding behavioral patterns and academic performance.
Evidence of Current Impairment
Diagnostic assessment must consist of more than a self-report of symptoms; observations from an independent adult should verify the presence of at least six major behaviors. For individuals 18 years of age or older, the following symptoms, in addition to those set forth by DSM-IV, qualify as major behaviors:
- Trouble directing and sustaining attention in conversations, lectures, reading, driving
- Difficulty persisting with and completing projects
- Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living, such as managing money, paying bills on time
- Trouble maintaining an organized living/working place
- Inconsistent work performance
- Lacks attention to detail
- Makes decisions impulsively and does not anticipate consequences
- Impulsivity reflected in frequent moves, job changes, quitting of jobs
- Difficulty delaying gratification, seeks out excessive stimulation
- Restless, fidgety
- Makes statements or comments without considering their impact
- Impatient, easily frustrated
- Multiple traffic violations such as speeding, running stop signs
Diagnostic assessment must examine the possibility of alternative explanations of symptoms, including medical, psychiatric, educational, and/or cultural factors that impact the individual and may result in behaviors that mimic ADHD. The possibility of comorbid diagnoses must also be explored.
Diagnostic Test Battery and Determination of Severity
Scores from a single test or rating scale will not be considered sufficient to document a diagnosis of ADHD. Report of any standardized tests or rating scales administered in a diagnostic evaluation must include quantitative information, including standard scores and percentile ranks. Age and grade-equivalents alone are insufficient.
Comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment is useful in ruling out alternative or comorbid diagnoses, and aids in determining the current impact of the disorder on the individual's ability to function across a variety of domains. While a comprehensive neuropsychological or psychoeducational test battery is recommended, the Office of Disability Services recognizes that such information is not required in making a diagnosis of ADHD. However, the clinician must establish in the report that the symptoms of ADHD cause a clinically significant impairment that substantially limits a major activity, such as learning. Judgments of severity should be based on comparisons to the general population and not to a person's educational group or to a particular set of expectations. If the clinical renders a diagnosis of ADHD and chooses not to use standardized tests to evaluate the impact of the disorder on academic functioning, a well-developed explanation of how the severity of the disorder was assessed and how it will affect academic functioning must be included in the report.
Any recommendations for specific accommodations must be based on significant functional limitations and must be supported by the diagnostic assessment. Final determination of accommodations will be the responsibility of the Office of Disability Services.
Professional Credentials of the Clinician
Professionals conducting assessments and rendering diagnoses of ADHD must have training in differential diagnosis and the full range of psychiatric disorders. The following professionals would generally be considered qualified to evaluate and diagnosis ADHD: licensed clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevantly trained medical doctors. The report must be typed on official letterhead, and must include the name, title, professional credentials, address and phone/fax numbers of the evaluator.
Important Related Information
Prior history of any particular accommodation does not, in and of itself, warrant its continued provision. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation of a disability. Submission of documentation does not constitute a request for services or accommodations. Such requests must be initiated by the student by contacting the Office of Disability Services (ODS). The ODS is ultimately responsible for determining appropriate accommodations. All documentation received by the ODS is confidential and will be assessed according to these requirements.
Submit all documentation to:
Dr. Yvonne Foster
Director of Disability Services
Lebanon Valley College