Guidelines for Documentation of Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Guidelines for Documentation of Pervasive Developmental Disorders

To qualify for services, a student must provide documentation of diagnosed PDD/ASD. The guidelines that follow are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation of PDD/ASD demonstrates an impact on a major life activity and supports the request for reasonable accommodations.

Practioners Who Can Provide a Diagnosis

Licensed Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, relevantly trained medical doctors, or a school based team trained and experienced in the diagnosis and educational evaluation of persons with autism.

Recency of Documentation

If documentation of an Autism Spectrum Disorder by a recommended practitioner has been established during the time that the student attended K-12 school, that diagnosis will generally be sufficient. However, a description of the current functional limitations of the disorder should be provided.

Contents of Documentation

  1. A specific diagnosis that conforms to the current DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). A criteria for Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified
  2. Current functional limitations on major life activities resulting from the Autism spectrum disorder. These may include but are not limited to:
    1. A diagnostic instrument specifically developed for the evaluation of students with autism such as the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) or a similar instrument
    2. Communication or Language Skills
    3. Social Interaction
    4. Restricted, repetitive and/or stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests or activities
    5. Sensory functioning, especially sensitivity to environmental conditions that may be present in the educational setting
  3. Evidence to support the functional limitations statements made in #2. This may include but is not limited to:
    1. Aptitude/ Cognitive ability: Assessed using a standardized test such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale -Fourth Edition or a similar instrument
    2. Academic skill levels, especially if student has received accommodations for academic skill levels in the past assessed using individually administered, standardized measures
    3. Standardized tests of language skills
    4. Clinical observations/Interview
    5. Teacher observations
    6. Research based checklists of characteristics related to autism spectrum disorder
  4. Recommended Accommodations. All accommodations should be directly related to functional limitations listed in #2. The rationale for each recommendation should be contained in #3 above.
  5. Recommendations for other supports, strategies or services that may benefit the individual in a higher education environment. This includes suggestions for the use of assistive technology, how the use of medications may alleviate symptoms of the disorder as well as any other recommended interventions such as counseling services.
  6. Other pertinent diagnoses or recommendations for other evaluations that may be needed.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other pertinent areas. Acceptable alternative evaluations may be determined by the Center for Academic Excellence.

Students seeking qualified professionals for assessments may find referral sources from disability services staff at a college or university, or from a physician.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:

Student Accessibility Services
Center for Academic Excellence
Franklin Pierce University
40 University Drive
Rindge, NH 03461
Phone: 603-899-4107 
Fax: 603-899-4395


Student Accessibility Services

Center for Academic Excellence(603) 899-4107

Office Hours

Mon - Fri:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.