Investigating an Undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD

Learning Disability Services (LDS) is one of three educational support programs within Disability Services at York.  LDS provides support to students with a diagnosed Learning Disability (LD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

LDS offers screenings to York students who are experiencing academic difficulties and who suspect these difficulties are due to an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD.  These screenings are designed to help determine if a student should be referred to a psychologist or a psychiatrist in the greater Toronto area for an assessment.  The screening/assessment process normally takes 1 to 2 academic terms.

Sometimes, students with a history of academic supports or an existing diagnosis (LD/ADHD/ASD/mental health/physical/sensory/medical) contact our office about the screening process.  If you have a history of supports or an existing diagnosis, please review all relevant information provided below to learn how we recommend you proceed.

Do any of these statements apply to you?

I have received learning supports in the past or have been previously diagnosed with a LD/ADHD/ASD.

If you have been diagnosed with an LD, ADHD or ASD (even if your documentation is old or incomplete), we recommend that you contact LDS to see whether supports/accommodations could be available to you.  We will discuss having an updated assessment completed as part of the LDS intake process.  Information about registration with our office is available from the Disability Services (DS) main page.  If you have been diagnosed with a medical, physical, sensory or mental health condition, we also recommend that you register with DS prior to starting the LD/ADHD/ASD screening process.

I am registered with Disability Services (LDS, MHDS, PSMDS) and wonder if I might have an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD.

We recommend that students who are already registered with a unit within Disability Services [LDS, Mental Health Disability Services (MHDS) or Physical, Sensory & Medical Disability Services (PSMDS)] should speak to their disability counsellor about exploring a possible LD/ADHD/ASD before starting the screening process.

I have been diagnosed with a medical, physical, sensory or mental health condition, but I am not registered with Disability Services.

If you have been diagnosed with a medical, physical, sensory or mental health condition, we recommend that you explore registration with Disability Services (DS) prior to starting the LD/ADHD/ASD screening process.  Once registered, speak to your disability counsellor about testing for a LD/ADHD/ASD.  Your disability counsellor can help to facilitate the screening process and offer insight as to how your current diagnosis may be affecting your studies.  Registration information is available from the DS website.

LDs, ADHD and ASD are life long conditions and are usually identified in childhood (LDs are relatively rare, affecting about 5% of the population).  Many factors not related to an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD can impact learning and the ability to achieve academic goals.  In considering how to best move forward, do any of the statements below apply to you?  If yes, select the statement to learn about different supports and services available to help at York.

Please review all relevant information:

I am struggling to meet program/academic requirements.

Students may experience academic difficulties for many reasons not related to an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD.  If you’re struggling to meet academic or program requirements, it is possible that your study, time management, writing, or organizational skills may need some "fine tuning" for university level studies.  Also consider whether you have the academic background or knowledge (e.g. math, writing, science) required to be successful in your program.  You may want to look for academic upgrading opportunities in the community or investigate those opportunities here on campus.  Here are some of the supports and services available at York to help students improve their academic skills and achieve academic success: 1. Learning Skills Services provides workshops and individual sessions on academic skills development such as time management 2. The Learning Commons in Scott Library offers “drop-in” academic support to students in the areas of writing, research, learning skills and career development 3. The Writing Centre offers instruction in all aspects of writing at the university level 4. The Student Ombuds Service (SOS) at Bethune College provides free peer academic support services to York students in the sciences - visit Bethune's SOS page to learn more 5. The ESL Open Learning Centre (OLC) offers support to students for whom English is a Second/Additional Language A comprehensive list of academic supports and services available at York (as well as help finding tutors and study groups) is available from Study Hub. Are you in a program that fits with your strengths? You may want to think about the program you are in and your personal strengths and weaknesses.  If you find that your program is not making the best use of your abilities, the Career Centre can help you explore career options. If you need guidance on making a change, and/or understanding new program requirements,  Academic Advising is a key source of program advising and academic planning.

I am stressed out and/or have low mood/anxiety.

Stress, mood and anxiety can have a broad range of effects on academic success.  This impact can range from struggles with focus and concentration to trouble just getting down to work.  See your doctor if difficulties with stress, mood and anxiety persist or seem to be getting worse.  Personal Counselling Services (PCS) here at York provides short term counselling support to York students.  Visit the PCS Services page to learn more. Counselling support is also available from Good 2 Talk, Ontario's post-secondary student help line. Balancing study and relaxation and paying attention to diet, sleep and exercise are important and can impact mood and overall well-being.    Health Education and Promotion works to support student well-being here at York.  Additional information about well-being supports and services is available from Mental Health and Wellness at York. Disability Services (DS) provides academic support to students who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition by a medical professional (e.g. family doctor, psychiatrist).  Information about supports and services available to students with mental health disabilities is available from the DS website.

My doctor/counsellor suggested that I explore testing for an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD.

If you are receiving support for low mood/anxiety, we suggest that you speak to  your doctor/counsellor about pursuing a medical assessment of these symptoms  prior to starting the screening process with our office.  Disability Services (DS) provides academic supports for students with mental health conditions.  Registration information is available from the DS website.  Once registered, speak to your disability counsellor about testing for a LD/ADHD/ASD.  Your disability counsellor can help facilitate the screening process and offer insight as to how your mental health diagnosis may be impacting your studies. If your medical doctor has suggested that you explore LD/ADHD/ASD testing, please arrange to get a referral letter from your doctor (students who are referred to a  psychiatrist for ADHD testing must provide the psychiatrist with a medical referral). On the "Investigating Form" available from our LD/ADHD/ASD Screening page, please indicate that you have spoken to your medical doctor or counsellor about the possibility of an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD.  Provide as much information as you can about why they have recommended testing.

I am a graduate student wondering if I might have a LD/ADHD/ASD.

It would be uncommon for a learning disability or ADHD to go undiagnosed in students who reach graduate level studies.  However, for those graduate students who are struggling and believe they may have an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ASD, please check whether or not your graduate health insurance covers psychological services.  Once you know the answer to this, visit our LD/ADHD/ASD Screening page and complete our online "Investigating Form".

After reviewing all relevant information above and exploring the academic supports and services available at York, do you still wonder if your struggles to meet program and academic requirements are related to an undiagnosed LD/ADHD/ADS?  If yes, visit our LD/ADHD/ASD Screening page.