Generally speaking, the answer is no, you’re never too old. However, as you approach your 70s, 80s and 90s, there are other factors that impact cognitive processes such as difficulty with short-term memory. Those other factors sometimes make it difficult for the evaluator to tell if the problems learning are from a learning disability or from the process of aging. One question to ask would be, “How long have cognitive processing issues been a concern?” If this is a life-long concern rather than a new one, chances are that it is not related to the aging process. However, if it is a new concern, it is more likely linked to the aging process. Another question to ask would be, “Why does this person need a learning disability evaluation?” If the person is still working and needs job accommodations, it may be necessary to obtain the evaluation and documentation needed to request accommodations on the job. If, however, the person wants to determine the presence of a learning disability out of curiosity – and not for job or testing accommodations – it would be wise to weigh the cost of the evaluation against the need to know.
You don’t have to be retested unless you need documentation for specific accommodations. If that is the case, there may be different criteria for how current the documentation is depending on who you are requesting the accommodations from.
High-stakes testing agencies usually require LD documentation to be current within the past 5 years. Many employers may not be concerned about how current the documentation is. Large companies would probably adhere to the 5-year rule; small companies may not.
Learning disabilities evaluations can be pretty expensive – usually running anywhere from $800 – $1500. So you might want to consider whether or not you actually need the diagnosis or if you’re just curious. If you need the documentation to request accommodations at work or on a standardized test, then you might want to explore getting a diagnosis. If you have a community mental health center nearby, they sometimes do LD evaluations on a sliding scale, which can cut your cost dramatically. Likewise, some colleges with graduate psychology departments may also provide LD evaluations on a sliding scale. If you are unemployed or looking for a better job, you should contact your local Rehabilitation Services Agency.
For more information about the adult learning disability assessment process, go to https://ldaamerica.org/adult-learning-disability-assessment-process/