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Requirements for Documentation of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Requirements for Documentation of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

In accordance with the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Amherst College provides to students with documented disabilities those reasonable accommodations needed to ensure equal access to the programs and activities of the College. In order for a student to be eligible for coverage under Section 504 or the ADA, the student must be shown to have a physical or mental impairment that imposes a substantial limitation on a major life activity. A student who requests auxiliary aids, support services, academic modifications and/or other accommodations on the basis of a disability is required to submit appropriate professional documentation supporting the legitimacy of the request. In particular, documentation submitted in support of requests for disability-based academic accommodation based on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) must comply with the following guidelines:

1. Documentation must be prepared by a qualified professional. Professionals conducting the assessment, rendering the diagnosis and recommending accommodations must have comprehensive training in the differential diagnosis of ADHD and relevant experience with an adolescent or adult ADHD population. The name, title, professional credentials, license or certification, area of specialization, and professional employment of the evaluator must be stated. All reports must be on professional letterhead (not a prescription pad), typed, dated and signed.

2. Documentation must be current. While a diagnosis of ADHD may be considered life-long, the nature and severity of its manifestations may change over time. Because reasonable accommodation must reflect the student’s current level of impairment and the current impact of the ADHD on academic performance in a relevant educational setting, all documentation must be recent, i.e. based on an evaluation completed or updated no more than three years prior to the request for accommodation.

3. Documentation must be comprehensive. Given the multifaceted nature of ADHD, documentation should present information gathered through a comprehensive assessment based on: developmental history and school performance history; interview with the student and with the student’s family or previous teachers; observation of current functioning in various settings; intellectual and educational testing; and experienced professional judgment. Documentation should include: a description of the individual’s presenting problems; a clinical summary of historical and current ADHD symptomology in more than two settings; evidence that other possible causes for the attentional problems (e.g., anxiety or depression) have been ruled out; a discussion of the intensity and frequency of the symptoms that render them inconsistent with normal, adolescent developmental patterns; a report of relevant neuropsychological or psychoeducational testing and a discussion of how the results of that testing reveal patterns supportive of attention problems; a professional diagnosis; and an interpretive summary.

4. Documentation must include a specific diagnosis. Based on the standard diagnostic criteria delineated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Association, the documentation must explicitly and definitively state a diagnosis of ADHD, specify the DSM-IV code designation based on type, and identify which of the DSM-IV symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity have been persistently present and are causing significant impairment to functioning in two or more settings.

5. Documentation must provide relevant academic interpretations and recommendations. The documentation must include: an interpretive discussion of how the ADHD symptoms exhibited by the student impose a substantial limitation to current academic functioning; specific recommendations for auxiliary aids, support services, academic modifications and/or other accommodations to address those functional limitations; and a detailed explanation as to how the effects of the student’s specific ADHD symptoms are mediated by the suggested accommodations.

Adapted from Policy Statement for Documentation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults, June 1999 (Revised), Office of Disability Policy, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541 and Guidelines for Documentation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults, 1998, Consortium on ADHD Documentation.