AD/HD - Schools Diagnose?
Techniquely no. Schools DO however have to "identify" AD/HD though!!
Schools have the federal responsibility under the "Child Find" law to test to "identify" AD/HD in children they suspect may have this disorder. If the school suspects AD/HD, they should recommend and do a full psychoeducational evaluation. Then a parent can then take the school's evaluation to their medical doctor, either Psychiatrist or Pediatrician, for an official diagnosis which will be needed for eligibility of IDEA (special education) purposes. If a parent cannot afford to go to their medical doctor, then the school must pay for the doctor's visit as well for diagnosis, if a diagnosis is required by a medical doctor. In GA, diagnosis IS required for OHI (Other Health Impaired) eligibility. Anything needed for special education, including identification, must be provided at NO cost to the parent (FAPE).
A private psychologist could also do a psychological evaluation, if you prefer to pay for the evaluation yourself. Keep in mind, if you have a private evaluation done, the school only has to "consider" the information. They can, and sometimes do, just consider it, and then toss it if they don't agree. I always threaten with "Failure to Identify" if this happens, and allow them to do their own testing, if they will not accept the private evaluation.
If a school tells you they don't diagnose AD/HD, and you need to see your private doctor. You tell them, if it is needed for school purposes, then they must pay for it! They don't have to diagnose, but they DO have to identify. If it negatively affects your child's education (socially, emotionally, behaviorially, cognitively, or academically), they must pay for it. They have school psychologist who can test for AD/HD. Write a letter to the school Principal requesting a full psychoeducational evaluation.
As an Advocate, when I work with families whose child is suspected of having a mental health diagnosis, I always make sure my clients are working privately with a good Psychologist (for counseling and testing) and Psychiatrist (for medication management). A private psychologist can review school's testing and better explain it to the parents, and make sure the school did a thorough job and fill in when necessary. A Psychiatrist is needed for medication, and to write letters to the school. It is best to have both on board to use as witnesses, if at some point that is necessary.
Everyone needs to also keep in mind the statistics. 79% of children with AD/HD have at least one other co-morbid or co-occurring disorder. 90% have a Written Expression Learning Disability. It is more likely than not, that a child with AD/HD, also has a learning disability, executive function disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar, autism, sensory integration disorder, fine motor delay, central auditory processing disorder, language disorder, etc. AD/HD is usually just the tip of the iceberg.................it seldom presents alone, which is why a full evaluation is necessary.
Children who have anxiety, autism, auditory processing, learning disabilities, SI etc. can also present with attention issues, but not be ADHD/ADD. Again why full testing is so important. There is no one test to identify AD/HD, and every professional working with the child should be looking for more than just AD/HD alone.
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188
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Information contained in this communication is confidential and privileged. It is not meant to represent legal or medical advice, but rather advice given based on my knowledge as a trained Parent Advocate by the GA Advocacy Office, Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys, CHADD, LDA, and the GA DOE Parent Mentor program as an invited guest. Please do not forward without my permission. You are however, welcome to link to my blog.