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Low average iq vs high achievement - please help?


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#1 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:58 AM

Hi all,

 

I please need some help interpreting some odd results. 

 

I've suspected a learning disorder for some time, but DS always suddenly did better every time we almost tested. 

 

Some background: DS is 11, we're in South Africa, and a previous test was done using the local senior scale at 7 (also because I'd read discrepancies on a test can point to any LDs if there are any. On the SSAIS he scored as superior/very superior. 

 

He was tested using the WISC about two weeks ago, and I'm struggling to understand the results. 

 

WISC scores:

Verbal Comprehension (VCI): Average
Visual Spatial (VSI): Average
Fluid Reasoning (FRI): High Average
Working Memory (WMI): Very Low
Processing Speed (PSI): Low Average
Full Scale IQ (FSIQ): Not Interpretable
 
VCI subtests:
Similarities: 9
Vocabulary: 10
 
VSI:
Block design:11
Visual puzzles: 12
 
FRI:
Matrix reasoning: 12
Figure weights: 13
 
WMI:
Digit span: 6
Picture span: 11
Letter-number sequencing: 7
 
PSI:
Coding: 7
Symbol search: 8 
 
WIATT-III achievement test: 
Word Reading: measures accuracy of
decontextualized word recognition.
 
Very High 15 years 0 months
 
Pseudoword Decoding: measures the
ability to decode nonsense words.
 
High Average >19 years 11 months
 
Numeracy: measures untimed, written
maths calculation skills in the following
domains: basic skills, basic operations
with integers, geometry, algebra, and
calculus.
 
Low Average 9 years 8 months 
(Just noting I'm not sure about this, as he's on dreambox and works independently, and is working across grades 5-8...)
 
Spelling: measures written spelling of
single words. The student hears the word
within the context of a sentence prior to
writing it.
 
Average 12 years 4 months
 
 
The psych we saw said that while she can't calculate a FSIQ, she would guess at low-average. I just can't reconcile this to what I know about DS. He is not in any way a prodigy, but there are just too many things that point to above-average - it just jars. 
 
I don't actually care about the numbers, I just want to understand what is going on. To me it feels like there is some kind of LD going on.
 
I've found some research that points to a reversal pattern of scores where IQ is low, achievement high, whereas it's usually the other way around. I have wondered about dysgraphia as he still often reverses letters and numbers. The psych said on the day he didn't present with any signs apart from using capitals in odd places (middle of words etc).
I've also read that a low coding score can be an indication of dysgraphia?
I did wonder about 4th-grade onset/stealth dyslexia as he did hit a bump at that reading level and a detailed eye test found multiple visual issues. 
 
I was hoping to get a clearer picture of what was going on but I feel more confused. If anyone can offer some insight, I'd really appreciate it. 
 
Many thanks.
 

 



#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:14 PM

Leaving town so no time but wanted to post a welcome and to hang in there.  Check back periodically.  People will respond as they have a moment.  Hugs.



#3 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:59 PM

Thank you!



#4 pumpkin spice surprise

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:12 PM

Out of curiosity, how did your DS feel about the testing?



#5 Crimson Wife

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:17 PM

My guess is underlying above-average non-verbal IQ with LD's.

 

The book Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up is worth reading given those scores.



#6 PeterPan

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:31 PM

Well they need to give you the numbers, not just the word labels, for the WISC. Are they doing a written report? Once you have that, you'll have numbers to analyze. Have you ever suspected ADHD? That would be a logical guess with a profile like that. For some situations they can calculate a GAI (adjusted IQ where they drop the disability areas like processing speed) and for some the numbers are so discrepant even that won't be accurate. 

 

The math is definitely low, but you need to see breakdowns on computation vs. conceptual, to see what was causing the low scores. The low processing speed and poor working memory would lead to low computation scores. So if the conceptual score was appropriate and the computation was low, that's your explanation.


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#7 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:58 PM

Thanks all!

 

Apparently they only use the word-labels here. Even with the original test at 7, the psych told us she won't put a number on the test as people get too hung up on the number, but we were told non-verbal IQ was 136 and verbal 128, with Full IQ 132 at that time - I think.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go from here? I have suspected *something* since he started school, as his achievement at school never matched what we saw at home. He was assessed as having Sensory Modulation at 6 and attended OT for a year, which did help. 

He did have a partial IQ as part of a school readiness assessment at 5 where they pronounced him completely average - but the tester at the time flagged the sensory issues and also commented that she had never met such an observant child in all her years testing. This was before the visual issues which we only found after the second test which had the superior result at 7. 

 

So I dunno - maybe he is just average? I would be fine with that if it felt like a good fit, but the psych has basically recommended Tomatis for auditory processing, breaking down instructions, an environment suitable for a kinaesthetic learner (we homeschool so he has lots of opportunities to move, fidgets, can stand and work, etc), - and then, basically, that we lower our expectations. 

 

I can't work out how he can have a low-average IQ but achieve so well. He has been working on material an average of 2 years ahead of grade level this year and has been fine - apart from the little red flags everywhere which made me wonder about LD, that is - but nothing that makes me go, "wow, this kid just really isn't getting any of this."

 

I'd really love to get some sense of a direction other than auditory therapy and lowered expectations. 


Edited by Kate_M72, 16 November 2017 - 02:00 PM.


#8 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:06 PM

My guess is underlying above-average non-verbal IQ with LD's.

 

The book Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up is worth reading given those scores.

 

That is kind of what I suspected - his non-verbal is traditionally stronger, which I've found weird as written language (reading) is such an area of strength for him. His comprehension is great, but at one point we had him assessed for an expressive language disorder as he would often start to say something, use fillers, and then end with "never mind".

All the test ended up telling us was that his language abilities were very strong and maybe he just wasn't a big talker... But to me, he often wants to talk, but then can't find the words, or can't find them quickly enough. He's gotten better at taking time as he's gotten older, but when he'd just started school he would just give up. I never heard any "today at school we did... and then I... and then Sam... and then the teacher..." kind of stories. 

 

With his previous test his math scores were quite high. I'll ask if they can give me a breakdown. 

 

I'd really hoped that the professionals would have been able to make sense of all this...



#9 Crimson Wife

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:10 PM

 

I can't work out how he can have a low-average IQ but achieve so well. He has been working on material an average of 2 years ahead of grade level this year and has been fine - apart from the little red flags everywhere which made me wonder about LD, that is - but nothing that makes me go, "wow, this kid just really isn't getting any of this."

 

You've got the answer right there. A child with truly low-average IQ isn't going to be achieving above grade-level. But a child with the combo of above-average IQ + LD's absolutely could.


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#10 Crimson Wife

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:12 PM

I don't know if you can get your hands on a copy of Think, Talk, Laugh by Melissa Mullin but it's an excellent program for working on verbal processing skills.


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#11 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:15 PM

Any advice on how we can figure out what we're dealing with?

 

I know many people aren't fans of labels, but to me they're just a gateway to getting the help your child needs. I so want to help him as he's obviously frustrated, but don't know which direction to go in. 

 

This test was supposed to give us answers... :(



#12 Arcadia

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:42 PM

All the test ended up telling us was that his language abilities were very strong and maybe he just wasn't a big talker... But to me, he often wants to talk, but then can't find the words, or can't find them quickly enough. He's gotten better at taking time as he's gotten older, but when he'd just started school he would just give up. I never heard any "today at school we did... and then I... and then Sam... and then the teacher..." kind of stories.


My DS11 with an average processing speed and high working memory behaves similarly. My kid used to repeat the last few words of a sentence when he talks to sort of buy time while he thinks how to complete the sentence properly. This kid would tell me “school stories” days and sometimes months later, like he is deciding slowly if it is worth telling.

My kid used to do much better on untimed tests than timed ones but the gap has narrowed over the years. We did work on strategies for timed tests to compensate for “slowness”.

#13 Kate_M72

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 02:43 PM

Out of curiosity, how did your DS feel about the testing?

 

I had actually been worried as he had been unable to sleep the night before, and then woke up at about 5am - nervousness, perhaps???

 

But when I asked, they said he'd coped fine with the tests, but was tired by the end. After we got home he behaved like he'd spent a day at the spa (you know what I mean - like he'd had the best morning, relaxed, etc). 

 

I'd actually forgotten about this until now. I guess that could have also had an affect. I would just have expected them to be able to pick up on him being too tired, not coping etc.



#14 Crimson Wife

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:21 PM

  But to me, he often wants to talk, but then can't find the words, or can't find them quickly enough. 

 

Diane German's book It's on the Tip of my Tongue might be useful for you to read if you can find a copy.
 



#15 PeterPan

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:45 PM

My dd has issues getting things out, and for her, like the others are saying, it's the unfortunately effect you get with very low processing speed plus poor word retrieval.

 

Honestly, sometimes you don't get a label. Like with dd, we got numbers that told those things were low, but they weren't in such a way that you got a pattern or label. She's just diagnosed ADHD and has all these funky things like the low processing speed, poor word retrieval, etc. But they never call it anything more than ADHD, which most people think oh is just a behavioral problem and fidgeting.

 

The books people are listing are good. Meds for the ADHD can help the processing speed. Fatigue makes it worse. Just telling the kid upfront hey your IQ has portions that are 132 (which is GIFTED, btw) and your processing speed is like 20th percentile. In other words, you have gifted brains in some areas with the processing speed more typical of ID (intellectual disability). It means you need time and need to compensate. It's ok to take your time. 

 

Also, the psych can write a list of accommodations, including extended time, being given questions ahead (this is HUGE for dd), etc. 


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