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The Attention Deficit Scales for Adults-Sign Language Version (ADSA-SLV): An Interactive Program to Screen Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults for ADHD

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires colleges and universities to provide reasonable accommodations for students who have disabilities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many colleges across New York State and nationally require valid documentation of disability in order to justify accommodations for ADHD, and they often provide evaluation services to help identify and document ADHD. A widely used instrument for this purpose is the Attention Deficit Scales for Adults (ADSA), a 54 item self-rating scale that assesses ADHD-related behaviors and experiences on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (Always). The ADSA (Triolo & Murphy, 1996) is administered in English print. This format, however, is not valid for many deaf or hard of hearing students, who may have difficulty reading English and who often use American Sign Language (ASL) or English-based sign language as their primary language. We have developed a computerized bilingual version of the ADSA, the Attention Deficit Scales for Adults – Sign Language Version (ADSA-SLV; Parasnis, Berent, Samar, Triolo, & Murphy, 2008), which gives students and other adults the option of viewing the items in ASL with captions, in English-based sign language with captions and with or without voice, or in printed English only. These options meet the heterogeneous language needs of deaf and hard of hearing adults. Parasnis and Samar (2012) have also collected initial validation data showing that deaf and hard of hearing college students perform equivalently to hearing college students on each of the nine scales of the ADSA-SLV. Although the ADSA-SLV was originally designed to extend valid ADHD assessment scales to deaf and hard of hearing adults, it can be used to evaluate adults with reading disabilities as well because the English-based sign language mode includes presentation in audible voice. Reading-disabled students, who comprise 10% or more of students on many college campuses, often have comorbid ADHD. Therefore, the ADSA-SLV may help colleges and universities expand their existing disability evaluation procedures beyond paper and pencil instruments to be accessible to a wider range of students on their campuses. This poster will describe the ADSA-SLV interface and present initial validation data. To demonstrate the software, deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing visitors to the poster will be able to actually take the ADSA-SLV in their preferred language mode on a laptop computer and will be able to view their results.


Triolo. S. J., & Murphy, K. R. (1996). Attention Deficit Scales for Adults. Bristol, PA: Brunner/Mazel Publishers.

Parasnis, I., & Samar, V. J. (2012, May). Norms development for the first sign language based ADHD scales for deaf adults. Presentation at the meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL.

Parasnis, I., Berent, G. B., Samar, V.J., Triolo, S. J., & Murphy, K. R. (2008). Attention Deficit Scales for Adults-Sign Language Version (ADSA-SLV). Rochester, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology.