Documentation Guidelines for ADHD
1. Be completed by a qualified evaluator: Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of ADHD, offering clinical judgments, and making recommendations for accommodations must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive training in the differential diagnosis of ADHD and other psychiatric disorders and direct experience in diagnosis and treatment of adolescents and adults with ADHD is necessary.
2. Include test takers identifying information: In addition to the test taker’s identifying information, the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator should be included on letterhead, typed in English, dated and signed.
3. Be current: Because the provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the test taker’s disability on the testing activity, it is necessary to provide “recent” documentation completed within the past five years.
4. A documentation update: A documentation update is a brief report or narrative by a qualified professional that includes a summary of the previous disability documentation findings as well as additional clinical and observational data to establish the test taker’s current need for accommodations.
5. Include a comprehensive history: Because developmental disabilities such as ADHD are usually evident during early childhood (though not always diagnosed), historical information regarding the individual’s academic and behavioral functioning in elementary and secondary education should be provided. There should also be an emphasis on how the ADHD symptoms have manifested across various settings over time and how the test taker has coped with these problems. Self-report alone, is not sufficient.
6. Relevant testing information must be provided: The assessment of an individual must not only establish a diagnosis of ADHD in accordance with the DSM-5, but must also demonstrate the current impact of the ADHD on the test taker’s ability to learn. Checklists and/or ADHD symptom rating scales can be helpful as well as neuropsychological or psycho-educational assessments in identifying the individual’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses.
7. Alternative diagnoses must be ruled out: Given the high-rate of co-morbidity, it is recommended that evaluators investigate and discuss the possibility of dual diagnoses and alternative coexisting mood, behavioral, neurological, and/or other health issues that may confound the diagnosis of ADHD. The positive impact of medications as well as side effects of medications should also be considered. See section III, C of the policy statement.
8. Each accommodation recommended must include a rationale: The report should address the history of prior accommodations that test taker has received as well as a rationale as to why each accommodation is now necessary.
9. Additional sources of information may include: A personal statement from the test taker in his/her own words explaining academic difficulties and coping strategies used may be useful. Additional sources of information may include school-based documents such as, IEPs, Section 504 Plans, or prior reports.