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#98676 - 04/04/11 03:27 PM Technical WISC IV GAI guestion
callapiddar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Wisconsin
I am new to posting, but I have been a lurker/learner for quite a few years. I have a good understanding of DS, 14, but I have a technical question about his most recent assessment.

DS has been privately evaluated by an excellent Ph.D. psychologist three times since 2005. DS has been diagnosed with ADHD PI, mild; learning disability, NOS, Written Expression primary with fine motor slowing; visual motor processing difficulties and process speed slowing. His VCI and PRI scores have been very close together and consistent.

On the first two assessments (WISC IV) a FSIQ was not given because of the spread of PRI vs PSI of 46 points, and 44 points respectively. I was not provided scaled scores on the most recent assessment:

VCI 128 97th
PRI 129 97th
WM 104 61st
PSI 94 34th
FSIQ of 121.

His GAI on the first assessment was 133.

DS has not had an IEP since 3rd grade and the school has been reluctant since then to give him formal accommodations since he is not an at risk student. He really only requires extended time on assignments and I have good teacher testimony to that fact. I am tired of having to try to explain to DS's teachers the processing speed issues, hope they understand and hope they don't perceive me as a parent who is trying to gain special treatment for their child. All of the testing is in place and at no expense to the SD. I am determined to put accommodations in place for high school. DS also takes 50 mg. Vyvanse for ADHD only on school days.

The technical question is should the GAI have been used for significant discrepancy of PRI vs PSI with a spread of 35 points instead of FSIQ? I don't have a copy of the WISC IV Administration and Scoring Manual handy to try to figure it out myself. I am anticipating that the SD will look at the FSIQ and feel he doesn't qualify for accommodations due to the achievement discrepancy issue. I feel I should state that DS had issues with some teachers in elementary school as it would appear that DS was off task and not motivated. I knew something wasn't quite right and immediately had him evaluated. Having the knowledge of his processing speed difficulties has been priceless. It was very empowering to be able to understand his strengths and weaknesses. That's my story. Hope Dottie or Grinity might have some input. Thanks

#98700 - 04/04/11 08:02 PM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
Grinity Offline

Registered: 12/13/05
Posts: 7201
Loc: Connecticut
I don't have a technical answer for this question, but am wondering if the Vyvance was 'on board' while the testing was done.
We've run into similar problems with school being reluctant to grant extra time to 'such a bright boy who is doing so well.' It helped to bring in the social-emotional piece, and to point out the anxiety that DS was under trying so hard to do 'what he knows how to do' on tests, but just not being able to maintain focus and finger control to finish the job within the time allotted.

For better or for worse, reversing a gradeskip and moving to a school that puts a premium on discussion as a prime way to incite learning have had a very good effect on my DS14, doing 9th grade again this year. The public school was unworkable without the gradeskip, and way too much executive function challenge with it. I feel very fortunate with the current placement.

Hope that helps -
Coaching available, at

#98715 - 04/05/11 05:58 AM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
mich Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 272
Hi Callapidder,
I am wondering the same as Dottie - does he have a 504 plan? If so, what is the "disability"? Does he get extra time? Is he able to self advocate - ie directly ask for the accommodations when needed? Does he have a copy to show his teachers?

If he does not have one yet, then my experience is that you will need more than a WISC to demonstrate a need. Most nueropsychological evaluations test in areas of executive functioning, memory, even fine motor skills. If he tests as having challenges in these areas, along with the ADHD diagnosis, you can use the evaluation as evidence that he needs more time. Additionally, if he has a track record of running out of time on tests, you can use this to demonstrate a need for accommodations through a 504. As Dottie says, if the achievement scores are close, it may be difficult to demonstrate a LD such as reading disability.

You are wise to address this issue now - looking ahead to SAT's, the College Board is more likely to approve accommodations if he has had them in place for awhile. They are skeptical of 504's that begin Junior year!

#98719 - 04/05/11 06:53 AM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
callapiddar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Wisconsin
Thank you all for replying so quickly. Somehow I screwed up my reply early this morning and lost everything. I'm now at work and then have to do an event at the election polls. Things are somewhat crazy here in WI with education. I really appreciate all your input and will respond with more info when I get an opportunity tonight.

#98765 - 04/05/11 09:11 PM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
callapiddar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Wisconsin
I'm now able to provide some more info for your helpful thoughts. For what it's worth, I did misstate the PRI/PSI spread on first eval. It was actually 55 points. DS is mixed lateral dominant in motor functioning. He has settled into writing with his right hand. He does have excellent hand/eye coordination. Fine motor skills have always been a problem. His writing is messy, but quite legible.

Evaluation testing in Feb. DS had his dose of Vyvanse on board for testing.

Doctor noted his speech showed normal rate, rhythm and volume, though sometimes was marked by some mild hesitancy.

WISC IV CANCELLATION was also administered but not calculated in PSI score. One standard deviation below average.

TRAILS A AND B: TRAILS A being one standard deviation below the norm. TRAILS B was solidly at the average.

BRIEF: Data well within normal limits.

GORT 4: Oral Reading Quotient of 112. "His reading rate, accuracy and fluency were all solidly in the average range. Reading Comprehension was also solidly in the average range. Having stated this, his fluency is approximately 1 standard deviation below expectation based on his verbal IQ."

WIAT - 2 WRITTEN EXPRESSION: 113. Quote, "While this is a nice score, it is also approximately 1 standard deviation below expectation based on verbal IQ."

CPT - 2: "All primary measures grossly within the normal range, though reaction time was a bit slow, again highlighting some visual motor process slowing."

Recommendations were increased time on tests (up to 150%), including ACT and/or SAT; Use of computer software in school such as a laptop to help with writing and organization. This could be provided by the family; Access to lecture notes from the teacher or other students on an as needed basis; seating toward the front of the class.

As you can see, examiner tried to show DS's strengths/weaknesses in a manner that would highlight how this impacts his high ability.

MAP testing in math was very good. 262. 98th percentile. I will note Algebra teacher reported it did take him 2.5 hours to finish. He completed it over three sessions. Algebra teacher has accommodated by letting him turn in assignments the next day and she told me she has gotten quite good at stalling in the classroom to let DS catch up. (WOW! I made sure the principal heard good things about her) She is also very eager to advocate for DS, as is his English and Science teachers. Language Arts has historically been the biggest challenge.

As you know, this processing speed profile can meet with teachers assuming student is off task, slacking, unmotivated. First grade was a difficult year. While his achievement was very high, he was miserable. All he could offer me for an explanation for his unhappiness was, "There's not enough time." At that time we were unaware of what was going on. More issues with third grade teacher surfaced and we were able to get a good diagnosis and DS gained insight as to how he functioned. He is usually a good self-advocate, but he isn't always able to recognize that he's having difficulty. (I know you guys get that.)

So, the reasons for my initial GAI vs FSIQ question was I anticipate the SD will look at the 121 FSIQ as opposed to the 133 GAI. I requested accoms for 7th grade and it was very informal. So informal that nobody knew they existed until I did meet with some teachers and explained. So it's a Catch 22. He is currently achieving quite well because he IS being accommodated (informally ) We are going forward with the 504 accom request, and I do have teachers that will back the request up.

One other question. Dottie, you say the GAI is still 133. Is that because you would always use the highest attained testing score?

I apologize for this post being long. I know this is the ultimate source for great info. Thanks much.
(I am awaiting election results. This is big stuff in Wisconsin for education.)

#98775 - 04/06/11 04:59 AM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
mich Offline

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 272
I would suggest that you check your state special ed law and regulations. If your state provides that each student has a right to reach their potential, you may have an argument given the discrepancy between achievement and IQ. But, if your state is like most, and they only follow the feds and guarantee access to the curriculum and appropriate progress (usually defined as grade level by the courts), then it will be hard to get an IEP and even a 504. Since you have teachers on board now that recognize he benefits from extra time, I would call a meeting to see if he can qualify for a 504. Their comments will be crucial, You will want to demonstrate that he has been doing as well as he has due to their informal allowance for accommodations. You will want to get these in writing so that other teachers that are less enlightened will also give him needed accommodations.

Here's more info on 504's:

#99051 - 04/08/11 08:19 AM Re: Technical WISC IV GAI guestion [Re: callapiddar]
callapiddar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Wisconsin
Thanks to all again for the good information and references. I feel I understand the 504 guidelines much better and I am pretty confident in a good outcome. It helps to be optimistic but prepared.

Yes, Dottie, the 133 GAI was from the initial eval. I just wasn't able to extrapolate the GAI with only the composite scores. Thanks. I will report back when I know something more concrete.


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