Tax Benefits for Parents of Children With Learning Disabilities

Many of your child's disability-related expenses may be deducted from your taxes.

Form 1040 Tax Forms image by Viola Joyner from

Parents of children with learning disabilities may not be aware of the ADHD and dyslexia tutoring tax deduction. The IRS treats these costs as deductible medical expenses. Other eligible expenses include school tuition, transportation, lodging and meals as well as professional consultations.


The IRS allows parents of children with learning disabilities to deduct the costs associated with special education as medical expenses.

If you have a child with a learning disability caused by dyslexia or ADHD, you’ve probably found that getting the proper learning support can be expensive. For many families, the cost of tuition, tutoring and educational materials for a challenged learner is a real burden on top of other child rearing expenses. Fortunately, you may be eligible to receive an IRS income tax deduction to offset your costs.

Disability Allowance for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities

The IRS recognizes dyslexia as a medical condition that interferes with a child’s ability to learn. As a medical condition, dyslexia qualifies parents to deduct some educational expenses as medical expenses. If your child’s doctor recommends tutoring related to your child’s learning disability, you may be able to deduct the cost of a qualified tutor. Sending your child to a special school that addresses learning disabilities means you may be able to include tuition as well as school-related transportation, lodging and meals as medical expenses.

In addition to a dyslexia tutoring tax deduction and other special education deductions, you can also deduct for the cost of consultations, evaluations and other forms of mental health treatment for your child’s condition. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) may also qualify as a medical condition when it has been diagnosed as interfering with learning. Unlike Canada, which has a child disability tax credit, there is no ADHD disability tax credit in the U.S.

Exceptions for Treating Behavior Problems

Sending your child to a school that addresses behavior problems rather than a medically diagnosed learning disability does not qualify you for a medical tax deduction. Medical care provided by the school must be your main reason for enrolling your child in order to claim the deduction.

2018 Tax Law

In order to claim medical deductions for a child’s learning disability, your total medical expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, not including expenses that were reimbursed by your employer or health insurance company. If this is the case and your itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction, you should file Schedule A with your IRS Form 1040. Beginning in the 2019 tax year, your medical expenses must exceed 10 percent of your gross income to qualify for deduction.

2017 Tax Law

If you are filing a return for the 2017 tax year, you can still deduct medical expenses related to your child’s learning disability if your medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.