Guidelines for Documenting ADHD

Jefferson Community College students, either incoming or enrolled, who believe they may be eligible to receive accommodation(s) based on a disability arising from a diagnosis of ADHD must submit written documentation to verify their eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

The following guidelines are intended to help define the type of information needed to substantiate eligibility and to support reasonable requests for accommodation(s). According to researchers Glutting, Monaghan, and Adams, as based on the work of Barkley et al., “ADHD represents the manifestation of developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Symptoms must be present in multiple settings and typically appear before age 7.”

According to the ADAAA, major life activities are:

  • Caring for oneself
  • Standing
  • Thinking
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Lifting
  • Communicating
  • Seeing
  • Speaking
  • Working
  • Hearing
  • Breathing
  • The operation of a major bodily function
  • Eating
  • Learning
  • Sleeping
  • Reading
  • Walking
  • Concentrating

Reasonable accommodation is an effort on the part of the College to provide equal access to its programs and services while maintaining the essential nature of the College’s instructional programs. Accommodation(s) is determined on an individual basis as substantiated by diagnosis and impact to major life functions. Documentation review, accommodation(s), and student support are provided through the Scanlon Learning and Success Center Disability Specialist.

Evaluator Qualifications

Psychiatrist, psychologist or neuropsychologist conducting the assessments, rendering diagnoses of specific disabilities, and recommending reasonable and appropriate accommodation(s) are the only individuals qualified to do so. The name, title, and professional credentials of the clinician, as well as information about his or her licenses or certifications, area of specialization, and location of employment or practice, should be included in the documentation. In addition, the evaluator should not be related by blood or marriage to the student being evaluated.

If medication has an impact on any major life activity, the prescribing doctor must further document those effects.

Timeliness of Testing

The purpose of testing is to determine a student’s current level of function and need for accommodation. Evaluation should have been conducted within the past three years.

Diagnosis and Reporting Criteria

The ADHD evaluation should be comprehensive and should provide clear and specific evidence that ADHD exists as defined within the criteria of the DSM-IV. In addition, a diagnostic interview should be conducted by the qualified evaluator to address relevant historical and background information as well as any dual diagnoses. The clinician should also use direct language in the diagnosis and explanation for recommended accommodation(s). Terms such as “individual learning styles,” “learning differences,” “academic problems,” and “test difficulty or anxiety” do not substantiate a disability. Terminology such as “suggests” or “is indicative of” should also be avoided.

Documentation for ADHD will, therefore, include a specific diagnosis based on DSM-IV diagnostic criteria and will describe the degree to which the diagnosed disorder impacts a specific, major life activity or activities for the individual being evaluated. A diagnosis in and of itself does not automatically qualify an individual as having a disability. A prior history of accommodation without proof of current need does not warrant accommodation.

Requested Accommodation(s)

In order for services to be provided at the college level, specific requests for accommodation(s) must be made. An explanation for each recommended accommodation and its relationship to substantiating evidence should be included.

For additional information, please consult the Jefferson Community College Catalog for sections addressing disability policy and disabled student services. If you need further clarification of, or have questions in regard to, these guidelines, please contact Tanya Hoistion, Disability Specialist, in the Scanlon Learning & Success Center, at 315-786-2335 or thoistion@sunyjefferson.edu, Jules Center, Room 6-202.

The Disability Specialist is the College’s approved person for deciding reasonable and appropriate accommodation based on the documentation recommendation, the disability, and the essential skill for each course. Accommodations are decided on a case by case basis.

Individuals with concerns about the evaluation process or the accommodations provided by the College may seek assistance, review, and appeal through Jefferson’s ADAAA/504 Compliance Officer, at 315-786-2401, Lansing Building, room 1-109.

Work Cited

Glutting, Joseph J., Maureen C. Monaghan, and Wayne Adams. “Some Psychometric Properties of a System to Measure ADHD Among College Students: Factor Pattern, Reliability, and One-Year Predictive Validity.” Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development 34.4 (2002): 194-209. Wilson Select Plus. 14 Feb. 2003. Web.