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.

Since Robert Tudisco was diagnosed with ADHD, he has researched and written extensively on the subject of special education law and disability advocacy, and now specializes in the area as a practicing attorney. He is a former Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides specialized coaches for students with ADHD and Executive Functioning Impairment. He has served on the National Board of Directors of CHADD and is a former Vice President of ADDA. He is a frequent resource for the media, including CBS News, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, ABC News, The BBC, The Today Show, CNN, USA Today, and The Seattle Times.
Copyright © 1998 - 2016 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 108 West 39th Street, Suite 805, New York, NY 10018