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?

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Feel free to leave a comment below regarding this article. If you have a specific question for LDA, please contact us directly.


  1. Leslee Carles says:

    I am now at age 57 Finding out I have a LD. Had math tutors when I was young back in the 70’s and HATED math all my life, I NEVER realized there was a actual name for it! Anyway I do really well in reading love to read. I graduated and even joined the Navy. But have struggled holding a job since getting out of the Navy. I know I also have ADHD. My question is this, HOW do I find documents for elementary school when the school no longer exists? My parents didn’t have me tested. Do you know if the VA will test me?

    • LDA of America says:

      Whatever documents may have been in place in your elementary school are too much out of date to be useful. Documentation needs to be current within the last 3-5 years to request accommodations, depending on what type of organization you are asking to accommodate you (workplace, college, etc.). You’ll have to contact your local VA office to see if they will provide assessments or not. If not, you may want to contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services office to see if they can help you (1) identify any possible disability, and (2) get a more appropriate job or career. There’s information about finding your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services office at Just click on “State Agencies/Contacts.” There’s also information about how they help people with disabilities at

  2. Phillip Troy says:

    I believe finding the information on this website has just changed the course of my life. I am 49 years old, and this is the first time I’m hearing what I have struggled with all my life is called an LD, it can be diagnosed, there are people who understand it, and there is support and help available. I cannot describe how much life grief my inability to remember and memorize things has caused me when pursuing academics and career. In fact, today I once again backed away from an amazing job opportunity due to my inability of memory and recall that would be necessary for the job. I just couldn’t take the shame, stress, and heartache after today. I was searching the internet this evening for answers and eventually came to this website. There are so many things I relate to in it such as having built many strategies over the years to navigate life/work as to compensate for and hide my lack of memory from others. I read here that an intellectual disability and a learning disability are not the same thing. Many times in the past I’ve wondered if what I was dealing with was some form of intellectual disability. The majority of my friends and family have far exceeded where I’m at in life in their careers, finances, etc, and it’s greatly bothered me knowing what I must look like to other people when I’m not at a better place in life at my age. Now I’m 100% confident what I’m dealing with is a learning disability, specifically memory. I have no idea why I’m just putting this together. Thank you for the information on this website. My next steps are to use one of the screening tools, look for any local LDA chapters near Kansas City for further information or resources for adult, and get a professional assessment.

    • LDA of America says:

      Your comment made our day!! We are thrilled that you found our website helpful. I hope by now that you have made a connection with someone in Kansas LDA. To get a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment, one suggestion if you are close to a university is to check and see if there is an Educational Psychology program, which often conducts diagnostic testing at a discount or sliding scale. These tests are conducted by graduate students and supervised by licensed diagnosticians. There are many strategies and apps available to help with the executive function issue of memory deficits.

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