As within U.S. communities and national populations, an array of disabilities is present among students in post-secondary educational programs. Although each individual’s disability is unique, four categories of disabilities have been determined for documentation and discussion purposes. These categories are:
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
- Psychological Disabilities
- Physical Disabilities
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is normally a chronic disorder with an early onset, which affects multiple domains of functioning, and is best understood as profound impulsiveness, or the relative incapacity to keep from responding to whatever seems most interesting or rewarding at the moment. Essential criteria for consideration include onset, consistency, pervasiveness, severity, and the “ruling-out” of other psychiatric or learning disabilities through a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment.
Learning Disabilities (LD) are a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical skills. LD documentation must include a complete psycho-educational assessment, with all subtests and standard scores reported for both aptitude and achievement.
Psychological/psychiatric disorders are mood and anxiety disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Documentation involves establishing the credibility of the diagnosis, the severity of the impairment, and the suitability of recommended accommodations.
Physical Disabilities are grouped into five categories according to the affected organ or body system:
- Miscellaneous (diabetes, asthma, Crohn's disease, etc.)
Functional impairment may include mobility, manual dexterity, information retrieval, communication, and endurance.