Diagnosis from school psychologists
Briefly, under federal law, a DSM diagnosis
is neither required for nor sufficient for a diagnosis under IDEA's categories.
The requirement for a DSM IV diagnosis may vary from state to state, if a state
requires a DSM IV diagnosis for ED, but even then it is not determinative in
establishing entitlement under IDEA or Section 504.
You can make a DSM IV diagnosis if you are
qualified to make a DSM IV diagnosis according to OSEP. Being qualified means
you are certified but it also means you have the appropriate experience and
training. The latter only you can decide. Still not only OSEP but the
President's Commission has said that school psychologists are eminently well
qualified to diagnose ADHD.
School psychologists are not supposed to be
making EDUCATIONAL diagnoses of disability. You may diagnose a child as having
an attention deficit hyperactive disorder (although I rarely do because I
believe that diagnosis should be multidisciplinary.) You should not be
diagnosing the child as "Other Health Impaired" because OHI implies entitlement,
and only IEP teams are empowered to make that determination. (My basis for
wanting medical input even under Section 504 is that the diagnosis of ADHD is a
process of elimination, and you can't eliminate non neurological medical causes,
like allergies or pinworms, without a complete physical. But that's just me.)
Additionally, with respect to ADHD, if your
state requires a medical evaluation before a team declares a child to be OHI,
then your diagnosis of ADHD would not entitle him under IDEA but still could
under Section 504.
Educational entitlement is also a group or
team decision under 504, and DSM IV (or ICD 10) disability labels (unlike the
OHI label) do not automatically imply entitlement under Section 504 either. In
the ICD, even flatulence has a number. (Although I'd be more than willing to
grant a child with that disability testing in a separate room as an
Name of Symptom/Sign: Flatulence
ICD-10 code: R14
ICD-9 code: 787.3