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.

      • I have been diagnosed with adult ADHD a few years ago and since Addrall has helped me in so many areas that I had problem but still I am deficient in some others that has led me to believe that iam suffering from LD which has been an impediment to my progress professionally, personally thanks and looking forward into hearing from you.

        • rachel cassandra avery says:

          My name is rachel avery. I have a learning disability. I have a promble remember thing something is wrong with my short them memories. Was also in special education as a child and pick on of lot. Sister always called me retard. I have a job at chimes deal with and tpye of prombles. When a traning with people with gets for a certian trade.

    • 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 month..you 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????

      • KGBB – I understand your pain, I’m feeling the same way. I believe I have discalula and can not grasp math past long division. I was passed in all my math classes in high school with a D because they obviously didn’t want to deal with me or thought I wasn’t putting in the effort. Math is very hard for me and I am also looking for ways to slowly grasp the basics again. I tried Khan Academy, which is free and has all levels of math tutorials. This might be a place to start.

      • Hi, KGBB. Don’t give up on your dreams. I have struggled in school my whole life. I have been a slow math learner but at college there is tutoring. After taking an assessment test before adding classes, you will know which mathto go into first. Just take math and no other classes at first (unless just a fun art or PE class). It has taken me a few years but I am now getting ready to finally finish Statistics in college and I am so grateful. You can do it too. Go to Ratemyprofessor.com and find a teacher at your college that gets good reviews for helping people like us. That is what I did. Take care and best of luck to you!

  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

    • Kathy- my husband, 42, of almost 2 years sounds like he suffers from the same behavior and learning problems as your son and I was curious to learn how you cope and the help you may have found for him. I am reading constantly and frustrated beyond belief because even though ADHD and severe anxiety were diagnosed in early childhood, literally nothing was done to help him! He has just seen a Neuro- psychologist and done a full day of testing so I am looking forward to the results of that! He gets extremely angry towards authority figures and I fear that this will get in the way of being diagnosed bc doctors drop him! Any help would be extremely appreciated!

  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

    • I’ve been there. I was one of those who people often thought that I was not made for college. I have a LD of ADD (that’s was I told). If you want to go to college to further your education, you must first change you mentality. Be positive, determine, and make it your priority. Find something that will motivate you as well as surround yourself with positive people. I watched the TV show “Different World”. Believed it or not, that show have really motivated me as well as playing college sports. Next step is to check the college resource center. I believe all colleges/universities have student support service programs that are available. Make sure you look into these service programs in all the colleges that you are thinking to attend as well as learn the process of how to get a tutor and accommodations. It help me through community college as well as a 4 year college/university to obtain my bachelor’s. I hope that this advice helps….

  15. My middle aged daughter was in Special Ed classes all her public school years. As a married house wife she worked a part time job, but now single she need to find a decent job. She had a neuropsychologist test, and despite a decent IQ she failed everything miserably, but was told she had no LD. This disqualifies her for any training help and currently she is struggling hard (just like in school) to hang on in a current job. It looks for sure they will let her go as she says,” I am “not getting” it. Is there any recourse to that test? Are there times when it is not reliable?

  16. Just looking for advice or help. I used to work for the government but a student program hire. I had to attend school in order for me to keep my job. Long story short I failed a couple course in college I was released from work because I did not meet the requirements for the student program. I told my job I had a learning disability and on-campus classes were a little changeling for me. I wanted to know is there someone I could call and get an adult testing done for my learning disability and someone to help me find a job.

    -quesha

  17. T. McMillan says:

    To whom this concerns,

    I was diagnosed for a learning disability when I was 14 years old and ADHD, also!! I’m taking adderall now as a adult but still having troubles taking a test for my workplace so I can get either/or a raise or promotion, but I can’t get nothing unless I can get re evaluation is done or something and to start soon. I like working where I’m at but can’t provide and answer anything on a test that I have tried to pass on 7 different times written or oral. And these folks don’t care and don’t understand my conditions. Also, I want to see if I’m qualified for the American Disability Act (ADA) or not. I have gone to my bosses and it’s hard to find a facility and to the cost, I have health insurance but I don’t make enough money to pay for a professional doctor. I’m just making ends meet, now!!
    Thanks for yalls time!

  18. I am 41 and believe I have a learning disability but have never been tested. I would like to do some testing but have no idea were to look in my area. I live around Boise, Idaho. Can anyone help me find information on testing?
    Valerie

  19. I need help with math,writing,reading. I do not know where to go

  20. I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, panic attack disorder,chronic stress,severe depression, ADHD and ptsd. I also had learning disabilities when I started school I think for 2 years. I have all the characteristics of autism. Not sure that’s what I had. My first 2 diagnosis were at 19 of which i was hospitalized and found out I was suffering from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and depression. I had this as long as I can remember I just thought it was normal. I am 52 and have been treated almost my entire life, give or take a few months off and on due to money issues . I’ve seen I think 10 doctors and had severe cases of intestinal problems which caused me to lose an extreme amount of weight in a very short period of time. All I get it diagnoses and medicine but they’re just getting worse. I realize now why I’ve almost always been fired for not being able to learn or even understanding what was being said to me. People talk to me and I usually don’t know what they’ve said. I’ve had a few minimum wage jobs that were hard to learn but they took everything out of me and I would eventually have to find an excuse to quit. I think I’ve worked about 12 years. Half of them being part time. My dads entire family had s history of mental ilness and he was an identical twin. He died from this at 59, was always slow I noticed as a child . His sister was mentally retarded and his younger brother died in his late 20s from mental illness issues. I’ve not worked in a few weeks now because I’m messing up and so stressed and worried. Have horrible panic attacks and it drains everything out of me. I really do know im not able to work anymore. Can someone please put me in the right direction of testing I need or what I need to do. I can’t afford to be turned down. It will destroy us financially. I’ve also had some very traumatic events that happened in 2002. Which just added to more struggling to deal with my issues. I was also an abused child, very abused. Spent a small amount of time in a foster home at 12 or 13. Ran away many times. I was 14 when I last ran away, 1000 miles away. To people at least cared but I didn’t really know them. Just some advice of any kind I would appreciate. I am seeing I psychiatrist. I don’t find it easy to talk to him. My last one I seen for 9!years but we moved and lost insurance for 2 years so was going to a clinic based on income. Anything will help. I web site. I don’t want to apply for disability if im not qualified to receive it. Thank you

  21. Maritza Zaragoza says:

    Hi, I have just been diagnosed with dyscalculia (math learning disorder) at the age of 34. My college refuses to accept my diagnosis because The person that diagnose me is out of the state I live in. Is it truly not valid because of that? I did all the testing from a qualified person.

    • ALBERTO says:

      HEY!! JUST ASK YOUR SCHOOL TO PUT ON PAPER WHAT STEPS I NEED TO FELLOW FOR ME TO BE ACCEPTED. REMEMBER TO HAVE THE PERSON LAST TESTED YOU POSTED BECAUSE A LETTER FROM THEN STATING YOU WERE TESTED BY THEM WILL HELP YOU MORE THEN YOU THINK. AND AFTER YOU HAVE DONE WITH WHAT YOUR SCHOOL SAID TO DO IN WRITING. AND MAKE SURE IT DATED AND SIGNED FROM WHOM THE ITS WRITTEN FROM. KEEPING A HISTORY OF YOUR LEARNING DISABILITY ON PAPER AS GO THROUGH LIFE WITH OTHER REASONS THAT WILL COME UP BE SURE OF THAT. YOU HELP TO SHOW GOOD LEARNING AND UNDERSTANDING.

  22. Colin Brietzke says:

    A great thing is to right guide disability’s person.WE can understand them by giving well treatment and those person should be remain in the surroundings of nature.

  23. Hi my name is Justin I’m 33 single father of 2 special needs children. I was classified at having learning disability when I was in my 2nd yr of 1 St grade. I had remained in special education until I graduate high school. I never went to collage. Parents told me it was for normal kids. Oh I’m 1 of 11 kids. 3rd yougest. Started working full time at the age of 12. Farm help. At age 12 until now I was given a Nick name (Chunk) most don’t even know my real name. IV only been to the doctor 2 or 3 times since the age of 12. Never medicated. During my adult life IV have worked various jobs for a few yrs at a time or months do to personal issue been fired few times but also quit some jobs cause I thought I was being harassed. Never collected unemployment due to not able to fill out paperwork correctly. I got married when I was 27. I married a women that was disabled we had a daughter together. She ran off 5 months after the child birth to be with someone else with our child i didn’t understand my rights as a parent. Up till both parents pasted IV only lived out side of home for 2yrs now it’s been 8 months since I lost my mother. My wife now has had 3 kids out of Wed lock. So 4 kids in marriage 1 mine during those yrs she was gone she would call every week and harassed me for every dollar I have and of course I would she kept telling me I’d never see my daughter again. But when she did let me see her it was 2-3 yrs apart when I was giving her 300-500 a week on top of child support payments. I had beloved my life wasn’t worth living if my daughter was homeless. Witch I found out she was many times and her mother used all the money for meth coke and weed. The child support did get shut off when she tricked me making me think I was moving home to a house that I paid the rent for 4 months in advance I told the court house we living together and showed them my married certificate. They said wait your stime married? Child suppott can’t be determined till after divorce. Wife got mad about me tell the truth had me beat up by her boy friend that I meat shortly after and had a shot gun pointed at me at the home I just paid for just a few days prior. Any ways now I’m to the point I got noticed that 2 months ago I got told my wife lost all the kids to dcfs I have my daughter now and one of her brothers witch I don’t know who his father is. Wife still calls and harassed me tell me I’m supposed to pay her way so she can get her kids back. I only make 130 a week cause I work at one of the few jobs i m good at I don’t get cash assistance just link and state medical. I’m in financial ruin and have 2 kids I don’t know were to turn for help. I have no life savings extremely bad credit due to helping out wife with payday loans in past. Before my mom past I spent 18 months caring for her and had no job cause she needed me. During all this time I’ve live with social anxiety depression and the occasional sucidal thoughts. And now im to the point of panic trying to figure out how too rasie 2 special needs children on my own single father’s don’t get much help and I’ve realized very few relatives even care about my situation or willing to help. In 2009 my wife set me up with people I didn’t know ended up in jail looking a 4 class 2 feloneys I told the truth but didn’t mention it was all my wife’s idea. Court looked at my school records and the prosscuter said I was legally incompatant and I was not allowed to speak in the court room cause my tesmony was useless. I’m tired of being used by those persons who I thought where speacail to me in life. I need help.

  24. Lisa L Clifford says:

    How do you expect people to come up with 500$ – 2500$ for the assessments, I’m 45 yrs old and struggling in college, 3 children, and my husband is the one who brings in the money, I never had a real job or a job to be proud of. I understand there might be a lot of tests but really, most people even ones that don’t have a learning disability and have good paying job don’t have that kind of money to spend. Thanks for letting me vent.

  25. Trey Gorday says:

    Hi my name is Trey I have been Learning disabled since 2 nd grade I’m currently in college and I am struggling with math I need to be tested so the college will get the documentation they need so they can find something that will help me reach my goal of attaining an A.S. degree which is only 5 classes away. I live in fairhope Alabama where can I go to get tested?

  26. Fred Thomas says:

    The link, “State and local LDA chapters”, goes to a page not found, error 404. Would you fix that, please? Finding someone who does LD assessments in my area for adults has proven difficult. They only want to work with children so, having that list of chapters may be helpful to me. Thanks.

    • LDA of America says:

      Hello and thank you for bringing the broken link to our attention. It has been fixed to head to our new state affiliate page.

  27. Hello all!
    I can relate to most if not all of everyone’s posts wanting more help and more resources for adults with LD. I am extremely disappointed and just appalled at the lack of real help adults get when they have LD. With all of the advances in technology etc. I am in disbelief that now days they still don’t have colleges/universities in each state that any student with some form of LD can go to! We are just kindof forgotten about on society, swept under the rug. Even though we can learn and have probably more drive than most people who don’t have LD. Plenty of genius, famous people had LD. I just dont think our society really cares. I have gotten so angry with failing at society standards of life and not being able to keep up with the pace in college. I want to be successful and do something with my life meaningful and go to college but the fast pace is almost impossible and the professors teach just one way. I have severe depression, anxiety, panic attacks etc from trying and trying and not getting anywhere. Why the hell don’t they have universities/colleges that are for people with LD!!!!!???? And how can we take a stand to get this changed!

Speak Your Mind

*