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 (, 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


  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

        • Wow! You know I was done the same way I was put in social Ed and no one ever told me how hard it would be to be on your own.
          I really didn’t even realize my disability til later in life I always wondered why everything was so hard in life I thought it was different I am different but always thought I was in a box and I can’t find the way out but I realize that I had to find out what was really wrong with me so I started doing research I found a website on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder I realize something that my mother was an alcoholic and that led to me thinking maybe that’s why I have learning problemsLong story short I’m now going to a doctor and it seems like I’m not getting anywhere not giving me answers I have questions but I don’t know how to express my thoughts so it’s very difficult for me to find help

  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.

    • It sounds like you have dyslexia (a language disability) and discalculia (a math disability) me.. Google those and their symptoms.

      • I have dyslexia, discalculia, and auditory processing disorder and I am 24 years old. I was never placed in special ed classes, but I did do a couple RSP classes in Jr. high. I’m in college and have been since 2009. I’m going to college to get two different teachings degrees. Look up symptoms of disabilities, people’s stories of their disabilities, ask professionals for help when needed, and study for the rest of your life in order to improve.

  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 can take care of yourself. Maybe in a tent in the woods you can.

    • I’m 43 and in exactly the same situation you are! I just started back to college for the 3rd time and after the first day I had to drop my beginning algebra class because I was totally lost and the teacher said she was ‘just brushing up’ when we went over fractions….I never understood or caught on to that back in high school and dropped out of college when I was younger because I couldn’t understand or catch on then either!
      I feel like I’m so stupid because no matter how hard I try or how many hours I spend trying to work on it, remember how to do it, watch videos online,etc. I STILL just can’t catch on! I’m so disappointed and lost because in today’s economy it seems like even having a bachelors degree doesn’t mean much if you want a good job and I can’t do the math to even get an associates degree.
      I want to get off disability and work and feel good about myself but my brain is holding me back. I’m now understanding that I probably have a learning disability when it comes to math and my psych and my therapist both said they thought it was a possibility too.

      I’d like to find a place where I can learn the basics at a slower pace but can’t seem to find anywhere to do it. Colleges seem to expect you to already know how to do it and you’re just given homework to do for a grade. But what do you do when you DON’T know it and don’t UNDERSTAND how to do it????

  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

  8. Kirk Moore says:

    I’m 47, I knew something was wrong in grade school, and it’s not my imagination. My problem is as I read and after. Unless I meditate for two to three days on what I read I can’t seem to comprehend just the basic information. It’s so frustrating but I still have fight in me.

  9. Kenn Johnson says:

    I’m on your website and looking at your dissabity but it doesn’t tell where to get tested.
    I have been trying to get my auto mechanics liscense and I keep failng.
    Where can I get tested for the learning dissabilaty I have, and where can I get help?
    I live in downriver Michigan, and any help will do.

    Thank You

  10. I am 42 years old and was diagnosed learning disabled-LD when I was a child. I attended a school for kids with learning disabilities in high school. When I was college age I attended a university with help from Vocational Rehabilitation funding. I never graduated for personal reasons but kept up my GPA.
    Fast forward- I want to finish my degree and I have met with the vocational rehab office in my town but they want me to ‘re-test’ to qualify again. Why do you think I would need to re-test if there are records showing that I have been sponsored by them? It was 20 years ago, but their system still had my information.

  11. I am a 36 yr old male I believe I have a learning disorder I dont know what a lot of words mean only could do simple math my reading not good.I try to get jobs but when invew when talking to me I dont under stand what the person is saying.I was in special ed in school I need to know how to get help meaning I have 2 kids to take care of n can’t get job please any one who could tell me where to go

  12. I am a 36 yr old male I believe I have a learning disorder I dont know what a lot of words mean only could do simple math my reading not good.I try to get jobs but when invew when talking to me I dont under stand what the person is saying.I was in special ed in school I need to know how to get help meaning I have 2 kids to take care of n can’t get job please any one who could tell me where to go

  13. Finding a Learning Disability place to do the evaluation seems to be the problem? Even with Internet search it’s hard and almost impossible to find a Psychologist? To do a LD evaluation. This leaves us adults feeling hopeless. I’m still searching in my city’s State….I myself have ADD, and other LD problems I just learned about from reading on the Internet. At least now I know what my problem is. Well it’s one of them. Good luck all!

  14. I have a learning disability. I have been in a special program since Elementary to High school. I want to be successful in life. I want to get a degree but everything is so hard, and don’t want to give up. I get depressed because I can’t do what others can. It takes me time. Please help me I really want it and I want to get out of it. I just want to be better in life can anyone help me

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