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Tic Disorders/Tourette's

To take College Board exams with accommodations, students with tic disorders, including Tourette’s, must request accommodations from the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).

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Accommodation requests must be documented. Make sure your documentation meets these seven criteria:

Diagnosis Clearly Stated

Documentation should state the specific tic disorder as diagnosed. The diagnosis should be made by someone with appropriate professional credentials; should be specific; and reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 or whichever edition was current at the time of diagnosis).   

Information Current

Because disabilities change over time, documentation must be up to date. In most cases of tic disorder, the evaluation updates should be no more than one year old. Include the initial evaluation, if appropriate, and a full description of the student’s current symptoms.

History Presented

Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history in support of the diagnosis of tic disorder and functional limitation. Information about the student’s history of receiving school accommodations and current use of accommodations helps the College Board understand the nature and severity of the student’s disability and the need for accommodations.

Include the following:

  • Historical information about the onset of the impairment.
  • A description of the student's current abilities.
  • The impact of in-school accommodations on the student’s performance.
  • The student’s response to medication and other interventions.
  • Teacher observations of the student’s disability during class, its impact on school-based testing, and the student’s use of accommodations. You may want to use the Teacher Survey Form (.pdf/240KB).

Diagnosis Supported

Documentation should describe the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis. The symptoms and needs of students with Tourette’s or other tic disorders vary greatly among individuals. Documentation should describe the student’s symptoms in detail and support the need for the specific accommodations requested — not just the existence of a disability.

Include the following:

  • A detailed description of the student’s current tics, including their frequency, duration, and severity
  • A summary of all current symptoms, treatment, and ongoing needs
  • Evidence of impairment in the academic setting, particularly when performing tasks relevant to College Board exams (e.g., reading, mathematical calculation, writing)

Functional Limitation Described

A detailed description of the student’s current symptoms, including their frequency, duration, and intensity, could be helpful. Explain how the student’s current symptoms impact the student’s daily functioning and ability to participate in College Board exams. For example, how frequent are the tics? How do they impact the student’s ability to write or to take timed tests?

Functional limitation can be documented with teacher observations; you may want to use the Teacher Survey Form (.pdf/240KB).

Recommended Accommodations Justified

It’s not enough to say that a student has a tic disorder; documentation must show why the student needs the requested accommodations. Some students who receive accommodations in school may not require accommodations on College Board tests.

Be sure your rationale for specific accommodations focuses on the following:

  • Connection between the student’s diagnosed disability and the requested accommodations
  • Current needs of the student
  • Reasons requested accommodations are needed on the College Board’s standardized exams

Students requesting extended time should document difficulty taking timed tasks, include the amount of extended time required or the maximum amount of time the student can be tested in a day, and include current scores on timed and untimed/extended time tests. 

See Accommodation Documentation Guidelines for documentation requirements specific to extended time, computer use, and other typical accommodations.

Professional Credentials Listed

Establish the evaluator’s professional credentials. Evaluators must be authorized by the state in which they practice to administer the necessary tests and to diagnose Tourette’s and other tic disorders.

Related Topics

Who Is Eligible?

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Requesting Approval

If you’re new to SSD, start here for the big picture on getting accommodations on College Board exams.

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