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
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
Current functional limitations on major life activities resulting from the Autism
spectrum disorder. These may include but are not limited to:
A diagnostic instrument specifically developed for the evaluation of students with
autism such as the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) or a similar instrument
Communication or Language Skills
Restricted, repetitive and/or stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests or activities
Sensory functioning, especially sensitivity to environmental conditions that may be
present in the educational setting
Evidence to support the functional limitations statements made in #2. This may include
but is not limited to:
Aptitude/ Cognitive ability: Assessed using a standardized test such as the Wechsler
Adult Intelligence Scale -Fourth Edition or a similar instrument
Academic skill levels, especially if student has received accommodations for academic
skill levels in the past assessed using individually administered, standardized measures
Standardized tests of language skills
Research based checklists of characteristics related to autism spectrum disorder
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.
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.
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
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 Email: