There is no single diagnostic dyslexia test. In order to obtain a dyslexia diagnosis, it is necessary to get a full educational or neuropsychological assessment. These assessments are complex, involving a large number of interrelated tests and tasks administered by a professional.
The cost varies from provider to provider and from state to state. Providers of this service often require supplementary tests to rule out physiological difficulties such as poor eyesight or hearing. The entire process can cost between $500 and $2000, depending on where you live.
Most insurers do not classify dyslexia as a medical condition, meaning parents must shoulder the cost. However, there are some important factors to consider:
- Free screening and testing from school districts
- The role of insurers
- Alternative options for funding
Can my school district conduct dyslexia tests?
In the United States, public school districts have a mandate to screen for dyslexia and address the needs of dyslexic children. This is defined by federal law, by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The relevant part of the statute defines the term “specific learning disability” and includes dyslexia explicitly among them. It reads as follows:
(26) SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘specific learning disability’ means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.
(B) DISORDERS INCLUDED- Such term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
(C) DISORDERS NOT INCLUDED- Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
For a variety of reasons, not all school districts offer screening services. If you suspect that your child might require dyslexia testing, your first step should be to check with the school district and find out whether it offers screening, testing or treatment services. Then, you should request an evaluation. This is straightforward if your child attends a public school. You can simply communicate your request to the principal and any other relevant stakeholders in the school district, such as a head of special education. However, you can do this even if your child is not in the public school system:
- If your child is in a private or home-school, contact the public school district for which you are zoned and find out who can handle your request for dyslexia testing
- If your child attends a charter school, contact the charter school principal as well as your state’s Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) representative
Do insurers cover the cost of dyslexia tests?
Currently, dyslexia is not considered a medical condition, unlike other conditions such as ADHD and autism. Therefore, specific testing for dyslexia is not covered by most insurers. Neither are the costs of treatment for dyslexia.
However, many insurers offer coverage for neuropsychological assessments, which is the type of assessment you will want to get to obtain an authoritative diagnosis. The difficulty here is that neuropsychological assessments comprise educational and neuropsychological tests, and insurers that cover the latter are often reluctant to cover the former. Your insurer might be unwilling to authorize assessments for any conditions deemed non-medical.
If a medical professional deems it medically necessary for your child to undergo the entire battery of tests in a neuropsychological assessment, this may help you obtain authorization or reimbursement from your insurer. You should also check with your insurer to determine if your insurer reimburses for the codes covering psychological and neuropsychological testing and assessment. These codes are:
Can I use an FSA or HSA to cover dyslexia testing?
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a savings account that your employer administers. The account can reimburse costs associated with medical treatments. Dyslexia testing can be covered by an FSA, with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN). This is a letter issued by a suitably authorized medical professional. Your FSA can also cover subsequent costs of treatment, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy if the assessment recommends these as fruitful avenues of treatment.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are savings accounts you or your employer can fund. Like the FSA, this account can reimburse medical costs that are suitably qualified and authorized.
Edublox offers cognitive training and live online tutoring to students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other learning disabilities. Our students are in the United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere. Book a free consultation to discuss your child’s learning needs.
Authored by Susan du Plessis (B.A. Hons Psychology; B.D.), an educational specialist with 30+ years’ experience in the field of learning disabilities, and Dylan Arslanian (B.A. Hons Linguistics, Cambridge DELTA).