Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a “qualified individual with a disability is one who, with or without reasonable modification to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity.”
A person with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, caring for self, performing manual tasks, working, or learning.
I. Qualifications of the Evaluator
Attention deficit disorders are considered disabilities under the ADA if a major life activity is substantially limited. A diagnosis by a licensed professional, including clinical social workers (LCSW), professional counselor (LPC), psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians trained in ADHD assessment is required and should include title and license number and date of the evaluation in the report on letterhead stationery.
II. Substantiation of ADD/ADHD
Evaluations must be comprehensive. Documentation must show that DSM IV criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have been met. In most cases, the evaluation must have been completed within the past three years and include the following:
A. Evidence of a Childhood History of Impairment
B. Identification of DSM-V Symptoms
What are the individual’s current ADHD symptoms? These must include data of ongoing inattentive and/or impulsive/hyperactive behavior that significantly impairs functioning in two or more settings (i.e., home, school, or employment).
C. Relevant Diagnostic Information
The documentation should include a summary of the diagnostic interview conducted by a qualified evaluator including the following:
- History of presenting ADHD symptoms, including evidence of ongoing inattentive and/or impulsive/hyperactive behavior that has significantly impaired functioning over time
- Developmental and relevant medical history
- Family history for presence of ADHD and other educational, learning, physical, or psychological difficulties deemed relevant by the examiner
- Effects of medication (either positive or negative), including whether the typical medical regime was in place at the time of the evaluation
- A thorough academic history of elementary and secondary education
- The process of diagnosis
- Rule out of concomitant conditions, such as learning disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, relational problems, etc., must be completed.
D. Current Functional Impact
Describe the current impact of the disability including the impact on academic performance. Data reported should consist of more than self-report and include third party sources and objective test data.
Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder must be qualified to do so. The person who signs the report must be the one who conducts the evaluation and writes the report. Documentation by family members, immediate or otherwise is not acceptable.
Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if learning disabilities or other disabling conditions exist.