This includes students who have been diagnosed with
Autism or Asperger's Syndrome under the DSM IV criteria by
an appropriate diagnostician.
of the Evaluator
Professionals conducting assessments rendering diagnoses of an autism spectrum disorder and making
recommendations for accommodations must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive
training and relevant experience in differential diagnosis and the full range
of psychiatric disorders are essential. The name, title and professional
credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or
certification as well as the area of specialization, employment and state or
province in which the individual practices should be clearly stated in the
documentation. The following professionals would generally be considered
qualified to evaluate and diagnose autism spectrum disorders provided they have
comprehensive training in the differential diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and direct
experience with an adolescent or adult autism population: clinical
psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevantly trained
Use of diagnostic terminology indicating an autism spectrum disorder by
someone whose training and experience are not in these fields is not
acceptable. It is also not appropriate for professionals to evaluate
members of their own families. All reports should be on letterhead, typed,
dated, signed and otherwise legible.
Documentation Should be Current
Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based
upon assessment of the current impact of the disability on current academic
performance, it is in an individual's best interest to provide recent and
appropriate documentation. Student Disability Services requires that
documentation be no more than 3 years old.
Although prior documentation is useful in determining appropriate services
in the past, current documentation must validate the need for services based on
the individual's present level of functioning in the educational setting. A
school plan such as an IEP (individualized educational plan) or a 504 plan is
insufficient documentation in and of itself but can be included as part of a
more comprehensive evaluative report. However, a prior history of accommodations
without demonstration of a current need does not in itself warrant the
provision of like accommodations. If no prior accommodations were provided, the
qualified professional and/ or the candidate must include a detailed
explanation of why no accommodations were needed in the past and why
accommodations are needed at this time.
Documentation should be comprehensive and must include the following:
of Early Impairment
Relevant historical information is essential since autism spectrum disorders are by definition,
first exhibited in childhood and manifests itself in more than one
of Current Impairment
In addition to providing evidence of childhood history of impairment,
please also include evidence of ongoing symptoms that significantly impair functioning in two or more settings.
Please also include diagnostic interviews including self-reports and third
- Rule out
of Alternative Diagnoses or Explanations
The evaluator must investigate and discuss the possibility of dual
diagnoses and alternative or coexisting mood, behavioral, neurological
and/ or personality disorders that may confound the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.
The report must include a specific diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder based on the DSM-IV
diagnostic criteria. The diagnostician should use direct language in the
diagnosis and avoid using terms such as "suggests" or "is
Neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment is important in
determining the current impact of the disorder on the individual's ability
to function in academically-related settings. The evaluator should
objectively review and include within the evaluation report relevant
background information to support the diagnosis. If grade equivalents are
reported, they must be accompanied by standard scores and/or percentiles.
Test scores or subtest scores alone should not be used as a sole measure
for the diagnostic decision regarding autism spectrum disorders. Selected subtest performance
tests do not in and of themselves establish the presence or absence of autism spectrum disorders . Checklists and/ or surveys can serve to supplement the diagnostic
profile but in and of themselves are not adequate for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and do not substitute for clinical observations and sound diagnostic
judgment. All data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to
learning for which the individual is requesting the accommodation.
Accommodation Recommended by the Evaluator Should Include a Rationale
The evaluator must describe the impact, if any, of the diagnosed autism spectrum disorder on a
specific major life activity as well as the degree of impact on the individual.
The diagnostic report may include specific recommendations for accommodations
at postsecondary institutions. A detailed explanation as to why each
accommodation is recommended must be provided and should be correlated with
specific functional limitations determined through interview, observation, and
and/ or testing.
A reasonable accommodation within the evaluator's
report may or may not constitute a reasonable accommodation at the University of San Francisco .