Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Helping Students with AD/HD Stay in College

Many students with disabilities, including those with AD/HD, can handle academic expectations, but easily get overwhelmed with a full academic course load. One accommodation to meeting these learning needs is to reduce the number of courses taken. This is particularly true at the college and university level. We know many young adults through CHADD who are successfully passing their college courses, but are taking several years more than the traditional four years to complete their studies and graduate.

Health insurance plans typically allow adult children who are “full-time” students to stay covered under their parents' health insurance plan. In 2006, the state of Maryland enacted a law mandating health insurance coverage for part-time college students with "documented" disabilities. "Part-time" is defined as "at least 7 credit hours per semester." The law covers students in "accredited institutions of higher education."

On January 13, at a meeting in Harrisburg, CHADD Pennsylvania decided to seek legislative sponsorship and enactment of the “Maryland law” in Pennsylvania. We believe that Maryland is the first state in the nation to have this legal requirement. CHADD actively supports this approach to assisting young adults with AD/HD and related disorders who are seeking college and university education.

CHADD supports more comprehensive supports for adults with AD/HD, but this is one realistic, targeted, and reasonable support that should be able to find majority legislator support.

Here is where you will find the text of the Maryland law. First, go to the Maryland General Assembly homepage. Scroll down the page until you find Statutes, Maryland Statutes, Maryland Code Online (on the Michie/Lexis website), Maryland Code, Insurance, Title 15 Health Insurance, Subtitle 4 Eligibility for Coverage, 15-417 Coverage for Part-Time Students with Disabilities (206, chapter 395). The text of the law is also posted on the CHADD Web site.


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