Attention Deficit / Attention Hyperactivity Disorder

ADD / ADHD are considered a medical or clinical diagnosis.  Students requesting academic adjustments on the basis of Attention Deficit or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders must provide documentation by a professional trained in the assessment of ADD / ADHD and has relevant experience in different diagnosis and the full range of psychiatric disorder in adult learners.  Recommended practitioners may include:  psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, licensed clinical or educational psychologists, and other appropriately trained medical doctors.

Documentation for students requesting adjustments on the basis of particular disability must include:

  • Evidence of early impairment – The condition must have been exhibited in childhood in more than one setting.
  • Evidence of current impairment – A history of the individual’s current attentional symptoms and the evidence of current impulsive/hyperactive or inattentive behaviors that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings must be provided.
  • An interview – The interview must contain self-report and third-party information pertaining to any significant developmental history; family history of ADHD or other educational, learning, physical or psychological difficulties; related medical and medication history; a thorough academic history; and a review of prior psychoeducational test reports to determine whether a pattern of strengths or weaknesses is supportive of inattention and learning problems.
  • Description of relevant employment history (if applicable).
  • Description of current functional limitations in an educational setting that is presumably a direct result of problems with attention.
  • Evidence that other diagnosis of explanations being ruled out.  The documentation must investigate and discuss the possibility of dual diagnoses and alternative or coexisting mood, behavioral, neurological and/or personality disorders that may confuse the ADHD diagnosis.
  • An examination of the neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessments administered to determine the current impact of the disorder on the individual’s ability to function in an academic setting.  Such data should include standard scores, standard deviations, and percentiles report in table format for those sub-tests administered.
  • A specific psychiatric diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association (1994).  Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity which were present in childhood and the current symptoms which have been present for at least the past six months and which impair functioning in two or more settings (e.g., school, work, home) must also be identified.
  • An indication of whether or not the student was evaluated while on medication, and whether or not the prescribed treatment produced a positive response.
  • Prescribed medication, dosages and schedules, which may influence the types of adjustments provided, including any possible side effects.
  • An interpretative summary which:
    • Indicates the substantial limitations to major life activities posed by the disability,
    • Indication of how patterns of inattentiveness, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity across the lifespan and across settings are used to determine the presence of ADD/ADHD,
    • Describes the extent to which adjustments are being requested,
    • Suggests how the specific effects of the disability may be accommodated,
    • An indication of whether or not the student was evaluated while on medication, and whether or not the prescribed treatment produced a positive response, and states how the effects of ADD/ADHD are mediated by the recommended adjustments.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other conditions are indicated.  The student and the disability support staff at the University will collaborate to determine appropriate accommodations or adjustments. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations or modifications that are realistic and that post-secondary institutions can reasonably provide.  A detailed explanation as to why each adjustment is recommended must be provided and should be correlated with specific functional limitations determined through interview, observation and/or testing.  Although prior documentation may have been useful in determining services in the past, current documentation must validate the need for services on the individual’s present level of function in the educational setting. The name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification as well as the area of specialization, employment, and state/province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the documentation. All reports should be typed on professional letterhead, signed and dated.

For further information on College Students with Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder check the following website.

Teaching Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder