Monday, April 05, 2010

ADA accommodation misunderstandings and denials

I find it amazing that even professionals in the field of learning disorders do not understand the difference between accommodation assessments and learning disorder assessments.  A learning disorder or ADHD requires atleast the minimum qualifiers in the DSM-IV-TR, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision.  Where as accommodation assessments must contain the DSM-IV-TR as its foundation criteria AND it must meet the much higher Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA criteria. The misunderstandings occurr most often with attorneys or academicians who know one or the other but not both. A psychoeducational assessment is a minimum requirement to show the significant discrepancy between potential and achievement for a learning disorder and for ADHD, a 10 minute checklist will identify the diagnosis. But, for accommodations the golden triad includes: diagnosis, impact on accommodation recommended (and supported by percentile scores), as well as independent evidence of the symptoms affecting the person, more than the average person, on a daily basis, in multiple areas, is where so many reports fall short and thus contribute to the large number of denials. Just having a diagnosis doesn't automatically qualify someone for accommodations under the ADA, so the emphasis on the diagnosis instead of the impact of the symptoms of the diagnosis are the leading reason for ADA criteria to not be met and for denials for accommodations on the LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, SAT, Medical Board and Bar exams.  It is not adequate to have clinical testing for a learning disorder or ADHD. You MUST meet ADA requirements to have a legal case to receive accommodations. The web is full of information about why people are denied, but it almost always comes down to the paperwork submitted was inadequate for ADA standards.