Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

To get a good evaluation of AD/HD a person should go to a qualified mental health professional (developmental pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical or educational psychologists, or a combination of such professionals) who has experience working with individuals with attention problems.

AD/HD is considered a medical or clinical diagnosis. The diagnostician must be impartial and not a family member of the student.

A diagnosis of AD/HD is not as clear cut as are the diagnoses of many other disabilities. One reason is that the symptoms of AD/HD are also the symptoms of many other conditions, including depression, anxiety, thyroid problems, early bi-polar disorder, hearing problems, head injury, certain seizure disorders, mononucleosis, adjustment disorders, reaction to medication, other health concerns, and even boredom.

AD/HD is too quickly diagnosed so that the real problem is never addressed, leading to more frustration and a sense of inadequacy for the student. At the same time, AD/HD should not be ignored as it is a real problem for many students. One estimate is that 2 out of 3 people with AD/HD never get help because an accurate diagnosis is missed.

Recommended documentation includes:

  • A clear statement of AD/HD with the DSM-IV diagnosis and a description of supporting past and present symptoms. May include a physical exam (to rule out mono, thyroid, or other possible physical causes of AD/HD symptoms); developmental history, family history, parent interview, teacher interview, in-depth clinical interview, psychological testing, TOVA.
  • The diagnostic Criteria for Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder as described in the DSM-IV manual include symptoms of both inattention and impulsivity. Criteria must be seen both at home and at school. The behaviors must be seen as a real problem, not just an occasional or mild concern. For AD/HD Inattentive Type, six or more of the symptoms must be revealed. For AD/HD Impulsive-Hyperactive Type, six or more symptoms must be revealed. For AD/HD Combined Type both the above criteria must be met. (This should be one of the components chosen.)
  • Current documentation, completed no more than four years prior to enrollment at Elon.
  • A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis. The evaluation should include both intelligence/ability and achievement tests scores.
  • A narrative summary, including all scores supporting the diagnosis.
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disorder or disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.
  • A clear statement of specific recommendations and how they relate to the disability.
  • Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities and/or other disabling conditions are indicated.