Make It Official

If you are dyslexic, you have a federally mandated right to receive accommodations at school and at work. However, before you can access your legal rights, you must be identified as dyslexic.

Getting Identified

To be identified as dyslexic using the “discrepancy model” (the most widely used model), you need to take two tests:

  1. An educational evaluation, which consists of academic achievement testing. A school psychologist or a private professional trained to test for learning disabilities must give this test.
  2. A psychological evaluation, consisting of an IQ test. A licensed psychologist must give this test.

If a discrepancy exists between the results of the two evaluations, particularly if you have a high IQ but perform poorly on the achievement tests, you may be dyslexic.

How to Request Testing

Before your 22nd birthday:

Before your 22nd you have a federally mandated right to request a learning disabilities evaluation at your local school district’s expense.

  1. Contact the public school in your area and speak to the principal or director of special education. Tell them you would like to be evaluated for a learning disability.
  2. Follow-up with a written request via certified mail. Keep a copy of your request for your files.
  3. Within 15 days after the school has received your letter, you should be sent an assessment plan.
  4. Make a copy of the plan for your files and return the signed original to the school via certified mail.
  5. Within 50 days, you should be evaluated.

You can also get an assessment outside of your school—at your own expense. Your local public school or State Department of Special Education may be able to give you a list of educational consultants and services in your area.

After your 22nd birthday:

After your 22nd Birthday, you can get an assessment—at your own expense. Your local public school or State Department of Special Education may be able to give you a list of educational consultants and services in your area.

Paying for testing:

Testing can cost anywhere from $1,000-$5,000. If you can’t get tested because you can’t afford it you should contact the resources below.

Please note, when requesting help in obtaining an assessment it is very important to clearly link the severity a learning disability has on your life with your health and or job. Consider the following examples:

  • A person is depressed and having difficulty at work. Their psychologist suspects a learning disability may be an underlying component. A learning disability assessment may be requested for the depression and their health insurance or HMO may pay for it.
  • A person is having trouble finding a job. Their unemployment center counselor suspects they may have a learning disability. One may be able to get a learning disability assessment if they talk to their local Vocational Rehabilitation Services contact and say, “I am unable to obtain employment and my counselor said I may have a learning disability.”

Resources:

  • Your health insurance company may cover a psychologist who can do assessments.
  • Your HMO may have psychologists on staff who can do assessments.
  • Your local vocational rehabilitation center may have funds to pay for assessments.
  • A university program may provide graduate training in psychology or school psychology and they may offer clinics that will do low cost assessments.
  • Your neighborhood mental health clinics may have psychologists who can do low cost assessments.
  • An advocate who specializes in helping adults with learning disabilities may know of private practitioners who will do low cost, or pro bono, assessment.
  • Your state special education center may have a list of professionals who will provide low cost assessments.