The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), revised in 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, offer protections for students with diagnosed disabilities. The ADAAA defines “disability” as (a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual; (b) a record of such impairment, or (c) being regarded as having such impairment.
The diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is generally accepted to be a medical diagnosis. Professionals qualified to assess and diagnose ADD and ADHD include clinical psychologists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and other trained medical professionals.
The documentation should be written on professional letterhead (not a prescription pad) and should include the following:
- A clear statement of diagnosis, including diagnostic criteria
- If possible, the original date of the diagnosis should be included
- Appropriate medical and educational history accompanied by the student’s most recent Educational and Psychological Evaluations
- Observations of the ways in which this disability impacts the student in the academic setting
- Some suggested accommodations that relate directly to the impact of the disability
- Comments on the current treatment plan, which may include medication, should be made as well as the student’s compliance with that plan.
- No accommodation can be implemented retroactively.