Learning Problems ADHD Treatment Guidelines Washington and Lee Student Health and Counseling Services

When a student contacts the Student Health and Counseling Services and is interested in medication treatment for ADHD, the following criteria will be followed:

• The student should be asked if they have previously been diagnosed/treated for ADHD.
• The student cannot be scheduled for a medication evaluation until it has been determined that he/she has had thorough psychological/educational testing for ADHD.
• Prior to scheduling their initial evaluation with the University physician, the student must bring a copy of the evaluation by a psychologist or sign a release of information so the records can be obtained. A release is needed if the student is currently being treated by a private physician with medications.
• If the psychological evaluation is sufficient to support a diagnosis of an attentional disorder the student may schedule an appointment with a physician for medication evaluation.

If a student is requesting treatment for ADHD and it is determined the student has not had sufficient psychological/educational testing, the following steps may be taken:

• See a private clinician for a comprehensive evaluation. A list of private psychologists who can do evaluations is available at both the Student Health and Counseling Centers.
• After psychological/educational testing is completed, a student can bring a copy of their test results to Student Health Center or the Counseling Center and schedule a physician appointment for a medication evaluation.

If the student is currently treated with a stimulant medication for ADHD by their physician but has never had psychological/educational testing we can offer the following options:
• Continue treatment with their current physician.
• Complete the psychological/educational testing and submit a report by a psychologist that documents ADHD.

It should be noted that students who do not have the appropriate documentation for ADHD will not be eligible for academic accommodations at Washington & Lee University.

Specific guidelines for documenting disabilities and requesting accommodations for ADHD at Washington & Lee can be found here.

ADD/ADHD Assessments

Many college students experiencing difficulties with sustaining attention or feeling distracted when they study wonder whether they might have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder that might be the cause of their difficulty. Establishing a new diagnosis of ADD or ADHD in the college population is difficult to do reliably, and Washington and Lee University requires that students wanting either treatment or academic accommodations for ADD or ADHD undergo a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment to establish a valid diagnosis. The details of what is required to make the diagnosis can be found on the University Counsel's website here.

University Counseling is not able to conduct these full assessments, which require several hours of testing time, but below is a list of clinicians in our area that do reliable comprehensive assessments. When there is a psychology graduate student trainee working in Univ. Counseling, we are able to do a brief screening which can often give enough information to determine whether a referral for a full assessment is warranted, but this service is not available for the current academic year. If you would like to be assessed for possible ADD/ADHD or other learning problems, you can call any of the clinical services listed on the next page and schedule your own appointment. You may also choose to have this assessment done by a qualified clinician when you are at home for a school break. You should take with you a copy of the "documentation of cognitive disabilities" guideline found on the website above.

Once you have had a complete evaluation that establishes a diagnosis, any of the clinicians in Univ. Counseling (x8590) can meet with you for psychotherapy aimed at helping you to develop strategies to optimize your academic performance and otherwise cope with this condition. Academic accommodation requests are made to the Associate Dean of the College for undergraduates, or to the Associate Dean for Student Services at the Law School. You may also be able to receive medication treatment through Dr. Kirk Luder in University Counseling (x8590), or Dr. Jane Horton through the Student Health Center (x8401) if they make the determination that medications are clearly indicated.

It is also important to recognize that other conditions besides ADD/ADHD can negatively impact attention and concentration and be mistaken for ADD. In college students, the most common causes are anxiety and depression, although unrecognized learning disabilities may also play a role. If you are experiencing problems with attention and concentration during periods of high anxiety or down, sad, or depressed mood, any one of the University Counselors can meet with you to help assess your condition and help you make the decision about what treatment is needed and whether to pursue a formal psychoeducational assessment. You can make an appointment with any of the University Counselors by calling Janice Downey at x8590.

One other note: if you have had a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD in the past and are uncertain about whether you need additional assessment, you can forward copies of all previous assessment materials to Dr. Horton in the Student Health Center or Dr. Kirk Luder in University Counseling for review, and they will let you know if further assessment is needed.

Psycho-educational Testing Referrals

Lexington:

Dr. Glenn Sullivan SullivanGR@vmi.edu  540-464-7474

Staunton:

Dr. David Reid: 540-949-4202
Dr. Thomas Ryan: 540-886-3956

Charlottesville:

Center for Psych Services at UVA: 434-924-7034

Harrisonburg:

Human Development Center at JMU 540-568-6484

Roanoke:

Dr. Alan Katz: 540-774-4211
Dr. Mike Chiglinski: 540-776-0175

For referrals to a qualified clinician in your home town, please consult with your primary care physician.