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DS 7 is underachieving and hates school
What does his WISC mean?

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#1 tothebeach

Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:47 AM

My son hates school - won't do homework, won't read at home, doesn't appear to read well etc.  The school has always maintained that he is average and that we are worrying about nothing.

Recently we had the school counsellor do WISC-IV for him (I know, we should have done it privately!) and I am struggling to understand what the scores mean and how we can help him.

They gave me the scores in percentile rank:

Verbal Comprehension: 47
Perceptual Reasoning: 94
Working Memory: 75
Processing Speed: 94

His reading and comprehension is slightly above his age level but it is based solely on sight words - he cannot sound out words and has missed the basics of blended sounds etc.

They have recommended a hearing test (tested fine), speech pathology and 1:1 tutoring to fix the basics.  

Can someone shed any light on these scores?  Why would his verbal be so low?  And is he really just average to below average as the school seems to say?  His perceptual reasoning and processing speed are superior..

Edited by tothebeach, 05 April 2012 - 03:21 PM.

#2 red_squirrel

Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:03 AM

Let me just preface this by saying, I'm not an expert but do have two children with numerous difficulties and have seen an aweful lot of specialists.

It is good that his hearing is OK. Was there a follow up with the counsellor or was that just to give results.

Personally I would book the speech therapy appointment and take the results to them. In my non-expert opinion it sounds like he may have an auditory-processing delay.
The speechie will be able to tell you for sure what it is and what can be done to help him in order to learn. Whislt it sound scarey, it is the absolute best thing if you can find a concrete reason for it. As there are many tried and true methods of working around and maximising learning potential.

It's great you can get to the bottom of it at this early stage. The WISC is just to highlight where a problem might be and the next step is to find out why. There can be many reasons - hearing problems the most likely but you have ruled them out. Your next port of call is definately a speech therapist. Did they give you a recomendation?

Edited to add: He is clearly doing really really well in all the other areas. Perhaps this is why he comes out as average. Due to all his other strengths he has the ability to compensate for the weakness. Imagine how fantastic he will do with assistance in this one area.

Edited by red_squirrel, 05 April 2012 - 10:19 AM.

#3 seven times 3

Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:48 PM

I can't answer your questions, but if you are still looking for more information you could post your question in the Special Needs section.  There will be more parents there who have experience of cognitive tests and may be able to give you more information.

#4 baddmammajamma

Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:07 PM


One of the reasons I encourage other parents to "go private" with testing if feasible is that: (i) you own the test scores/results (and can choose to use them as you see fit) and (ii) you tend to get much deeper insights. Frankly, that's crap that you've been given test scores & no insights.

I would suggest teaming up with a good educational psychologist and getting some deeper insights (maybe some achievement testing?) & guidance on strategies that can be used to support your son, while also pursuing the school's suggestion of a speech therapy & tutoring. If your son hasn't already had a speech assessment, you ought to get that sorted.

With regards to the scores themselves, check out the twice exceptional forum on the Davidson Institute. It's a specific forum for parents of 2e kids (those who are gifted with SNs and/or gifted with learning disabilities). Regardless of whether/not a child is gifted, the regulars there can provide some great expert and non-expert opinions as spikey WISC-IV scores are something they see all the time! Some of the regulars blow my mind with their knowledge bases:


Of course, going on line should NOT replace getting in real life, professional guidance from someone with the right credentials to provide it.

Sorry you are having to face all of this, but I think it's great that you are pushing for answers now, while your son is still young. Good luck!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 16 April 2012 - 02:37 PM.

#5 tothebeach

Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:03 PM

Thanks BMJ for your wonderful insights, yet again.  I'm really frustrated at myself about the private testing - we were booked in for private testing when the school offered to have the counsellor speak to him.  Silly me thought, it can't do any harm and signed the permission slip, not realising that if she did some testing, it couldn't be repeated by the psych.   So had to cancel the psych after they pointed out that they couldn't rerest.

I have tried to get into the dev paed that you previously recommended but they are booked out till the end of the year.  

We have had a speech pathologist do some testing and he is at the 7th percentile in phonological awareness.  I have no idea how it could have gotten this bad at school without the school noticing (even with me repeatedly banging on about how he couldn't read).

Edited by tothebeach, 18 April 2012 - 03:06 PM.

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