Updated: March 11, 2011 (PDF)

Although the more generic term Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is often used, we will use the official nomenclature from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Documentation must include:

  1. A recent report from the evaluator. Since accommodations are based on the current impact of the disability to the student, documentation must be based on adult norms (age 18 and older). For students under 18, documentation must be current (no more than 3 years old).
  2. The qualifications of the diagnostician. Professionals diagnosing ADHD must have comprehensive training in differential diagnosis & direct experience with adolescents and adults with ADHD. The following professionals are considered qualified: clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other qualified medical/mental health professionals.
  3. Evidence of the current impairment. Assessment should consist of more than just a self-report. It should include a history of attentional symptoms, including evidence of ongoing impulsive, hyperactive or inattentive behavior that has significantly impaired functioning over time.
  4. Possible alternative diagnoses and/or explanations. The assessment should explore alternative diagnoses including psychiatric and medical disorders as well as any educational or cultural factors which may impact the individual and result in behaviors similar to ADHD.
  5. A clinical and/or diagnostic battery. The assessment should contain a comprehensive clinical evaluation and/or standardized clinical measures for inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity as delineated in the DSM-5. Any quantitative information needs to be in standard scores and/or percentiles.
  6. A diagnostic report and summary. A specific diagnosis of ADHD based on the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria should be provided. The report must also identify in clear, direct language, the substantial limitation of a major life function presented by the ADHD. Specific recommendations for accommodations based on significant functional limitations must be supported by the assessment.
  7. The printed name, signature, title, professional credentials/license number, address, phone number and fax number of each evaluator involved as well as the date(s) of testing/evaluation, all on official letterhead.

Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations must be supported by the diagnosis and current symptoms.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:

Disability Services and Programs
University of Southern California
3601 Watt Way, GFS 120
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1692
(213) 740-0776
(213) 740-8216 Fax