School testing is free, but you need to make sure the right tests are done, and interpreted correctly. Many districts do not have the expertise to identify dyslexia, and often only the most severely impaired will qualify for help.
Scottish Rite Assessents
The Scottish Rite charity operates Dyslexia centers in many states. Some offer free assessments, others require an outside assessment.
Informal Screening by a Tutor
Many dyslexia tutors will offer a quick informal screening for the cost of one tutoring session (generally $50-$100). This is not an extensive evaluation, but rather the tutor's opinion of whether the child is a good candidate for their services.
Professional Dyslexia Screening
Professional screening by Educational Therapists, SLPs, and Barton screeners can "identify" but not legally "diagnose" dyslexia. The cost generally runs about $400-$800 and takes 2-4 hours of testing. The tester may use many of the same nationally normed tests used by educational psychologists. It can give a parent good information, but the report may carry less weight when presented to a public school team.
Therapy centers such as Lindamood-Bell may offer professional screening that is targeted toward their specific program. It is also generally 2-4 hours of testing and costs in the neighborhood of $400-$800.
Some clinics that focus on treating ADHD may include dyslexia testing and be able to qualify for partial insurance coverage.
An Educational Psychologist has the training and legal authority to officially diagnose and use the term Dyslexia. Most insurance plans do not cover educational testing, which lasts 6-10 hours and costs approximately $1500-$3000. Regular clinical psychologists who are covered by insurance do not have the right training to perform dyslexia evaluation.
The most extensive evaluations are performed by a neuro-psychologist (not to be confused with a neurologist), and cover all functional areas of the brain. In addition to academic testing, a neuro-psychologist will look for things like ADHD and processing issues. Evaluations take 2-3 days and cost $1500 - $5000. Although sometimes covered by insurance, it is not unusual for all the providers of this specialty to be "out-of-network". In some cases, a school may be required to pay for neuro-psychological testing if a disagreement results in an IEE (independent educational evaluation).
Public schools test for and identify learning disabilties through the IEP process (or 504 in Texas), but rarely give an official diagnosis, and many do not have expertise in dyslexia. Learn more on the IEP Basics and 504 Basics pages.
Ask Other Parents
Recommendations by other parents are the best way to find evaluators and screeners in your area. Find local dyslexia support groups through your state Decoding Dyslexia organization, Yahoo groups, Meetup groups, local parents groups, etc. You can also ask on Facebook groups such as "Dyslexia support -- for parents of dyslexic children".
Check Your Insurance
Check both your health and mental health insurance to see whether they cover an evaluation by a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist. It is common to only have "out-of-network" options for these specialities. A regular clinical psychologist is much less likely to have the training required for dyslexia testing.
The Scottish Rite charity operates Dyslexia centers in many urban areas of most US states and several Canadian provences. Some provide free assessment, others only offer tutoring to those already identified, and some centers focus on other language disabilities.
This provider directory contains IDA members who offer services such as assessment, legal assistance, advocacy, speech-language therapy, academic language therapy, educational therapy, tutoring, and more.
Find educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians, health care providers, academic therapists, tutors, speech language therapists, occupational therapists, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities on the Yellow Pages for Kids for your state.
Barton trains its certified screeners on many of the same test instruments used by the more expensive professionals. They can identify but not officially diagnose. Click on "List of testers or screeners" and fill out the contact info to receive a list for your area.
Some Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) have a literacy focus. They can identify and treat dyslexia. This link will take you to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association provider directory. Search on literacy and your city.
Often tutors will advertise their services as an Educational Therapist. There is no standarization or licensing requirements for this title, so exercise caution and compare their proposed testing to the "Pieces of a Comprehensive Evaluation" article.