Dyslexia Coach of N.J., LLC

Jennifer K. Slaight

Certified Dyslexia Specialist
Monmouth County, N.J.

JenSlaight@gmail.com

732.882.9695
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Know Your Rights
about dyslexia at work and school

WrightsLaw.com

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To be identified as dyslexic using the “discrepancy model” (the most widely used model), you need to take two tests:

  1. An educational evaluation, which consists of academic achievement testing. A school psychologist or a private professional trained to test for learning disabilities must give this test.
  2. A psychological evaluation, consisting of an IQ test. A licensed psychologist must give this test.

If a discrepancy exists between the results of the two evaluations, particularly if you have a high IQ but perform poorly on the achievement tests,
you may be dyslexic.

How to Request Testing

Before your 22nd birthday:

Before your 22nd birthday you have a federally mandated right to request a learning disabilities evaluation at your local school district’s expense.

  1. Contact the public school in your area and speak to the principal or director of special education. Tell them you would like to be evaluated for a learning disability.
  2. Follow-up with a written request via certified mail. Keep a copy of your request for your files.
  3. Within 15 days after the school has received your letter, you should be sent an assessment plan.
  4. Make a copy of the plan for your files and return the signed original to the school via certified mail.
  5. Within 50 days, you should be evaluated.

You can also get an assessment outside of your school—at your own expense. Your local public school or State Department of Special Education may be able to give you a list of educational consultants and services in your area.

After your 22nd birthday:

After your 22nd Birthday, you can get an assessment—at your own expense. Your local public school or State Department of Special Education may be able to give you a list of educational consultants and services in your area.

Paying for testing:

Please note, when requesting help in obtaining an assessment it is very important to clearly link the severity a learning disability has on your life with your health and or job. Consider the following examples:

  • A person is depressed and having difficulty at work. Their psychologist suspects a learning disability may be an underlying component. A learning disability assessment may be requested for the depression and their health insurance or HMO may pay for it.
  • A person is having trouble finding a job. Their unemployment center counselor suspects they may have a learning disability. One may be able to get a learning disability assessment if they talk to their local Vocational Rehabilitation Services contact and say, “I am unable to obtain employment and my counselor said I may have a learning disability.”

Resources:

  • Your health insurance company may cover a psychologist who can do assessments. Your HMO may have psychologists on staff that can do assessments.
  • The New Jersey vocational rehabilitation center may have funds to pay for assessments.
  • A university program may provide graduate training in psychology or school psychology and they may offer clinics that will do low cost assessments.
  • Your neighborhood mental health clinic may have psychologists who can do low cost assessments.
    Additional information:
    NJ Mental Health Cares. An advocate who specializes in helping adults with learning disabilities may know of private practitioners who will do low cost, or pro bono, assessment.
  • The New Jersey special education center may have a list of professionals who will provide low cost assessment.
  • Our Screening and Diagnostic tests are an affordable option. 

Your rights at school

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 provides special education and related services for people with disabilities up to their 22nd birthday. The IDEA provides for a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for eligible students.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (PL 93-112) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees that people with disabilities have equal access to programs and services that receive federal funds. This includes public and private schools and colleges.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects people with disabilities from discrimination in public and privately operated settings. The law applies to all public and most private schools and colleges, testing institutions, and licensing authorities. It also applies to state and local governments.

Your instructors’ responsibilities

  • Provide you with reasonable accommodations
  • Implement your request within a reasonable amount of time
  • Treat you and give you the same opportunities as other classmates

Your responsibilities

  • Tell your instructor you are dyslexic
  • Show proper documentation of your specific learning disability
  • Ask for reasonable accommodations that will help you succeed
  • Give your instructor reasonable time to implement your requests
Your rights at work
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (PL 93-112) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees that people with disabilities have equal access to programs and services that receive federal funds. This applies to employers receiving federal funds.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, public, and privately operated settings. The law applies to state and local governments and to private employers with 15 or more employees.

Your employer's responsibilities

  • Provide you with reasonable accommodations
  • Implement your request within a reasonable amount of time
  • Treat you and give you the same opportunities as other employees in the same position in your workplace

Your responsibilities

  • Tell your employer you are dyslexic
  • Show proper documentation of your specific learning disability
  • Ask for reasonable accommodations that will help you at work
  • Give your employer reasonable time to implement your requests
Four steps to becoming a self-advocate
  1. Learn about dyslexia. Know it well enough to explain it to others. Take action: Learn the facts about dyslexia.
  2. Get officially tested. Documenting your disability will not only give you access to your rights, but will also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Take action: Get tested.
  3. Identify the tools you need to succeed. Text to Speech software and other tools can help you in school and at work. Integrate these technologies into your life. Take action: Get equipped.
  4. Tell your friends, family, instructors and employers you are dyslexic. Be honest with your friends and family and take advantage of your rights at school and work. Take action: Speak out.

references: Ben Foss

The world of dyslexia

Make It Official

If you are dyslexic, you have a federally mandated right to receive accommodations at school and at work.

However, before you can access your legal rights, you must be identified as dyslexic.

Become a Self Advocate

If you know your rights, you will be able to approach school, work and ultimately, life with great confidence