|Students seeking support services from Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) on the basis of a previously diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) must submit documentation that verifies their eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act. The documentation must describe a disabling condition, which is defined by the presence of substantial limitations in one or more major life activities. Merely submitting evidence of a diagnosis, and/or a discrepancy between ability and achievement on the basis of a single subtest score is not sufficient to warrant academic accommodations. Similarly, nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual “learning styles,” “learning differences,” “academic problems,” “attention problems,” and “test difficulty/anxiety” in and of themselves do not constitute a disability.
The guidelines below are intended to provide guidance for the assessment process, including the areas that must be assessed in order for SSD staff to make appropriate decisions. Examples of specific tests that may be used within each area are available upon request. A verification form is also available to provide guidance in the assessment process. Please do not hesitate to contact SSD at (512) 471-6259 if you have any questions.
While it is recognized that psychological testing alone does not justify an ADHD diagnosis, such testing is considered an important part of establishing the impact of the disorder on learning and determining appropriate accommodations. It is also essential in determining the presence or absence of other conditions that frequently co-occur with the disorder, which may be of relevance in the classroom. Comprehensive psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluations may be required to support specific accommodation requests. Evaluators should not be related to the individual being assessed. At a minimum, all documentation in support of an ADHD should include the following information:
1. DSM-IV or ICD Diagnosis (text and code) and information concerning comorbidity
a. Date of diagnosis.
b. Date of last contact. The assessment must be current. Accommodations are based on an assessment of the current nature and impact of your disability. Evaluations must have been completed within the last three (3) years prior to accommodation requests. In addition, depending on the nature of the disability, evaluations may need to be updated on a semester-by-semester or yearly basis.
2. Evaluation: A list of questionnaires, interviews, and observations used to identify the AD/HD. A summary should include information regarding the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms as well as treatment history including medication.
3.Functional Limitations: Should be determined WITHOUT consideration of mitigating measures (i.e. medication, etc.). If condition is episodic in nature, level of functioning should be assessed based on active phase of symptoms.
a. Major life activities that are functionally limited by the individual’s symptoms.
b/c. Behavioral manifestations of the diagnosis that functionally limits the individual in the academic setting. Information to consider includes the severity pervasiveness, and frequency of symptoms.
d. Any special considerations that should be made (i.e. side effects of medication, etc.)
General Guidelines for all Disabilities
It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified during the initial diagnostic process. A prior history of accommodation, without demonstration of current need, does not in and of itself warrant provision of a like accommodation.
SSD will make the final determination as to whether appropriate and reasonable accommodations are warranted and can be provided to the individual.
In addition to documentation as described above, transfer students should provide written verification of accommodations received (and dates served) from the previously attended school(s).
The diagnostic report, must include the name and title, and license number of the evaluator. A verification form is available to assist in the documentation process.
All documentation submitted to SSD is considered confidential.
The University of Texas at Austin
Documentation may be faxed to (512) 475-7730.