Learning Disability Tests for Adults

Closeup shot of a young man writing on a note pad

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Learning disabilities are not limited to children, and quite a few adults discover that LD's underlie many of their frustrations in school and the workplace.

Could You Be an Adult With a Learning Disability?

Could you be an adult with a learning disability? The National Center for Workforce and Disability offers a checklist for employers to screen for learning disabilities in employees. Among the many issues they list are these—which may look familiar to you:

  • Does the person often misread or miscopy?
  • Does the person confuse similar letters or numbers, reverse them, or confuse their order?
  • Does the person have difficulty reading the newspaper, following small print, and/or following columns?
  • Is the person able to explain things orally, but not in writing?
  • Does the person have difficulty writing ideas on paper?
  • Does the person reverse or omit letters, words, or phrases when writing?
  • Does the person have difficulty completing job applications correctly?
  • Does the person have persistent problems with sentence structure, writing mechanics, and organizing written work?
  • Does the person spell the same word differently in one document?
  • Does the person have trouble dialing phone numbers or reading addresses?

Steps Toward Finding a Diagnosis

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a learning disability, you have the option of seeking a screening, a formal evaluation, a diagnosis, and/or suggestions for addressing or working around your challenges at home and at work.

  • Screenings are usually brief and may include quick tests, interviews, and discussions.
  • Evaluations are more formal and involve the administration of full-scale tests for intelligence, abilities, and challenges.
  • In some cases, you may actually receive a diagnosis from a psychologist or other professional. Learning disabilities may include dyslexia, speech and language disorders, communication disorders, or issues such as ADD/ADHD.
  • If you do go through the testing process and discover that you have a learning disability, chances are you'll also receive help in the form of tools, resources, and processes to make life easier at home, school, or work.

Often, help will include recommendations for accommodations ranging from more time to complete tasks to tools such as speech to print technology, online and print planners, 1-to-1 job coaching, and more. Because you may qualify as a disabled individual, it is possible that these resources will be provided without cost to you through your school or employer.

Who Can Diagnose Learning Disabilities?

There are many different types of professionals who can administer screening and evaluation. These range from Ph.D. and medical professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, developmental neurologists) to school counselors, social workers, and others who have training and experience in the field.​

To find a qualified professional, begin your search at your state's Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). You can find your state's office of Vocational Rehabilitation on your state's disability resource page.

State DVRs offer tests for learning disabilities and many other services at little or no cost when clients need testing to assist with employment issues. If you would prefer to have learning disability tests performed by a private testing professional, you can usually find a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist who performs tests by consulting with your physician for a referral. You may also find licensed psychologists or psychiatrists through your local telephone directory.

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