Who Can Evaluate?

Who Can Diagnose Learning Disabilities?

Below is the associated audio commentary provided by Dr. Michael Hart that goes into much greater detail than the article and provides very valuable information about the different professionals that are and are not able to diagnose ADHD and learning disabilities.


Here are some important points to remember:

  • When you go to a person in a private practice, not in the school system, it is important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD and/or ADHD.
  • Schools do not evaluate to diagnose, they evaluate to determine eligibility under IDEA.
  • If you disagree with the school’s evaluation or choose to go outside of the school district for an independent evaluation (IEE), the person you choose to do this evaluation needs to be completely independent of the school district. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. is not enough; they need to have expertise in the area of dyslexia. The evaluation is not limited to, but should include all of the following areas:
    • Phonological Processing (like the CTOPP)
    • Full language evaluation to determine if any expressive/receptive language disorders
    • Processing speed
    • Working memory
    • Decoding of real words and non-words
    • Spelling of real words and non-words
    • Listening comprehension (to rule out underlying language problems)
    • Reading comprehension
    • Oral reading to evaluate fluency, prosody
    • Vocabulary
    • Writing sample
    • Evidence of cognitive ability
    • Review of school records
    • Thorough review of family and school history


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