Is Dyslexia Not a Recognized Disability?


"My daughter, who is in fourth grade, was diagnosed with dyslexia. The school told me that the county where we live doesn’t recognize dyslexia as a disability. Really?"

ADDitude contributor Robert Tudisco is a practicing attorney with ADHD and an expert on special education law and disability advocacy.

Dyslexia, as well as other learning disabilities, is covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If your school told you otherwise, they are wrong.

Having said that, I remind you that a diagnosis of dyslexia, ADHD, or other disability is not enough to guarantee services or accommodations. Both IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require that your doctor show that your daughter’s dyslexia impairs a major life activity, like academic performance. He should establish that fact in his evaluation.

If the school does not comply with the law after you supply documentation, you should file for an impartial due process hearing, in which a state-appointed hearing officer will determine whether the school is legally required to provide accommodations for your daughter.

Robert Tudisco is a lawyer who specializes in ADHD. He lives in White Plains, New York.
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