Adult Learning Disability Assessment Process

If you are an adult and suspect that you have a learning disability (LD) you may be at a loss about how to obtain testing and the assessment process. This article will explain what is a learning disability assessment for adults, why should someone be assessed, who can conduct an assessment, how much an assessment might cost and what are the questions to ask a qualified assessor. It is important to choose a qualified professional to conduct the assessment so that it can be done thoroughly and assure that you obtain the accommodations necessary in school and in the workplace.
Psychologist talking to patient

What is a learning disability assessment for adults?

An LD assessment is a gathering of relevant information about an individual’s areas of strengths and challenges to determine whether or not he or she may have a learning disability. The components of the assessment process may vary depending on which individual, clinic, or agency is conducting the assessment, but most assessments include the following:

  • Screening (informal interview, brief test, career interest inventories, and/or review of medical, school, or work histories)
  • Evaluation (formal testing for achievement, intelligence, and processing)
  • Diagnosis (a statement specifying the results of the assessment, including the type of LD identified)
  • Recommendations (for work, school, and/or daily living)

Why should someone be assessed?

Adults choose to undergo an LD assessment for a number of reasons, including:

  • Significant problems at work or school that prevent them from reaching their career and/or educational goals
  • Significant problems in daily life ( e.g., relationships, managing finances, decision-making)
  • A desire to know why they have always struggled to learn and remember information

The first step to overcoming challenges is to determine the cause of the challenges. By completing the LD assessment process, adults can obtain the information and documentation they need to formally request accommodations at work or in school, and to determine effective strategies for learning and living based on their areas of strengths.

Who can conduct an LD assessment?

Only qualified professionals can conduct LD assessments. Such professionals have been certified to select, administer, and interpret a variety of neurological, psychological, educational, and vocational assessment instruments. The professional chosen should:

  • Have experience assessing adults for LD
  • Have information about local and state services and resources
  • Be able to help adults use their assessment results to determine their legal rights and responsibilities, strategies, accommodations, and next steps to meet goals

To find a qualified professional in their area, adults should consider the following resources:

  • State and local LDA chapters
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Rehabilitation Services Agency (http://rsa.ed.gov/people.cfm, click on “State Agencies/Contacts.”)
  • Local private psychologist or psychological clinic
  • Local college or university psychology department
  • University-affiliated hospitals and clinics

How much does an LD assessment cost?

The cost of an LD assessment varies depending on where it is conducted geographically, type of professional who administers the assessment, and the assessment’s  comprehensiveness. The cost of the assessments typically range between $500 – $2,500.

Some insurance policies will cover the cost of the assessment. Local mental health clinics and university psychology departments sometimes offer a sliding scale fee for the assessment. Vocational Rehabilitation agencies sometimes provide LD assessments at no cost as part of their intake process for agency applicants who are accepted as new clients.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) clients who have either a history of LD OR disclose to their case managers that they think they have LD have a right to an LD assessment as part of their TANF services.

Questions to ask the qualified assessor

  • Have you tested many adults with learning disabilities before?
  • How much will the assessment cost, and what does the cost cover?
    • Can insurance cover the costs?
    • Are there other funding sources?
    • Can you provide a payment plan?
  • How long will the assessment take?
  • What will be involved in the assessment?
  • Who will have access to the assessment results?
  • Will there be a written report of the assessment?
  • Will you explain the written report to me?
  • Will the assessment give me more information about why I am having trouble with my job, school, or daily life?
  • Will you give me ideas about accommodations for my disability?
  • Will you give me information about how to self-advocate for my disability at school or work?
  • Will the report make recommendations about where I can go for further help?

Print Handout:  Adult Learning Disability Assessment Process

Comments

  1. linda squire says:

    More info on LD adults and free accessment

    • ldaamerica says:

      Linda, is there specific information you would like that is not included in this article? Is the information for yourself? If it is to be given to someone else, you can print this as a handout by clicking on the Adult Learning Disability Assessment Process above. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Tawona jones says:

      How can I get an assessment test for a learning disabilities I was told l a L.D. in the 3rd gradethen I was put into special education classes and never really learn anything after that it’s been so long can i be help. I’ll be 48 on August 7th and I need to get this done

      • Hi my name wanda Davis I have the same situation principal and teacher talked my mom to put me in special Ed class the school board ruined my life I was placed in special class in elementary school and middle school and high school I need you help because I want to better my life and all through school I was called retarded please help me I’m 49 years old When I’m got high school I try to go to college it was so had for me

  2. I need help finding a location that will take Missouri Care insurance and does adult LD evaluations. I’ve called every place I can think of and I can’t even find a place that does any kind of LD testing of any kind. I’m located in the Kansas City, Missouri area.

  3. I need help finding a place that wil give me a test to specified my learning disability. I’ve been struggling with learning disabilities my hole life, But never knew what kind of learning disability I have. I have taken those screening test and they always said learning disability N.O.S. which doesn’t help me at all. Because I want my learning disability to be specified, so I can have a better understand of my learning disability and learn how to work with it and not run from it. I tend to avoid anything that has to do with me writing or dealing with big math problems. I’ve been seriously trying to get my learning disability specified for the pass 5 years but I had no luck in finding the right psychologist who is train to give a specific diagnosis with learning disabilities. I want my learning disability diagnosed for reason I mentioned above and also to have commodation when it comes to employment… From Massachusetts, Handan County area.

  4. Catherine says:

    I am 47 and on disability for being mentally ill but not being treated for my learning disabilities which is what really stops me from working. I can’t do much more then low wage work with no hope of things getting better. I know the going is tough with college people in the same boat as I would be . On SSI at least I have medical insurance and can survive without a car. SSI says if you can make 900 dollars a month..you can take care of yourself. Maybe in a tent in the woods you can.

  5. Melissa says:

    I’ve been tested with the we have occasional services in Milledgeville Georgia in 2004 trying to go back to college online no one will take my accommodations because they’re old need to be retested so I can have provisions made for me to go back to college.we don’t have the vocational service here anymore need to find the new location in Georgia

  6. percy brown says:

    I live in the City of Los Angeles, California. I have run into a wall. I cannot find anyone who can test an adult for a Learning Disability. I called the Regional South Centeral Center, CA Department of Rehab., and other small Mental Health Centers who all have indicated that they do not conduct Learning Disability testing for adults. Can you guide me were I can go to find a Learning Disability tester, please?

  7. my son is 31 years old. he has troubles with relationships and with everyday life. he cant manage money or be responsible. i need to know where to go to get help for him. he threatens ti shoot himself. he gets aggitated easily, frustrated easily. he takes adderal for adhd he was diagnosed as a teenager in middle school. he is up dand down and irritable funny charming all in a day. he is in over hishead. he struggles every day. only he doesn’t recognize it. i dont know how to talk to him to bring up the issues with him. Help

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