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Psychological Disabilities

Psychological or psychiatric disabilities can refer to a number of syndromes and conditions characterized by different types and degrees of emotional, developmental, cognitive, and/ or behavioral manifestations. Information and reference for understanding the exact nature of the psychological disability is typically found in the most current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases: Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders (ICD).

  1. Qualified Professional
    • Professionals conducting evaluations, rendering diagnoses of psychiatric disorders, and making recommendations for accommodations of individuals with disabilities must be qualified to do so.
    • Professional qualifications include information about (1) comprehensive training and relevant expertise in diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and (2) appropriate licensure/ certification. Qualified evaluators can include licensed psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, school psychologists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
    • The name, title, credentials and signature of the licensed qualified professional writing the evaluation must be included.
    • All reports should be written in English, typed or printed on professional letterhead, and dated.
  2. Currency of Documentation
    • Due to the changing nature of psychiatric disabilities, it is essential that a test taker provide recent and appropriate documentation. Since reasonable accommodations are based upon the current impact of the disability, the documentation must address the individual's present level of functioning and the need for accommodations. Documentation must be three (3) years or more current.
  3. Documentation Criteria
    • Documentation should be based on a comprehensive diagnostic/clinical evaluation and must include at least one specific diagnosis based on the latest edition of the DSM or the ICD.
    • The diagnostic report should include: specific diagnosis or diagnoses, description of current symptoms, use of medication and possible side effects, current treatment plan, and specific recommendations for accommodations.
    • Additional information to include in the disability documentation consists of onset of the disorder, duration and severity of symptoms, developmental and historical data, medical and medication history, and description of current functional limitations in an academic or testing setting.
    • Evaluators are encouraged to also provide meaningful contextual information (e.g., associated medical diagnoses, current stressors and sociocultural factors, as well as statements regarding general level of functioning) as has been the standard set forth in recent editions of the DSM.

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