Superior PRI Scores; Average VCI Scores on WAIS IV Test
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son has just been assessed for ADHD and he is waiting for an
assessment for ASD. Part of the ADHD assessment included the VCI and PRI
sections of the WAIS IV. He scored 99 on the VCI and 141 on the PRI.
This was remarked on in his report but no detail was given.
I live in England and receive medical treatment from the NHS. If I am to
request any further investigation into this huge discrepancy I would
have to be able to explain my concerns. It would be so helpful if you
could give me some idea as to whether there is anything this discrepancy
Some background information:
DS is 13, he has been diagnosed with ADHD, he in massively
underachieving at school, he is bored, he sometimes refuses to go, his
PRI skills are apparent to me but at school they are unrecognised as
yet. He is emotionally very young for his age. He is lovely, he has
friends but he irritated a lot of his peers. He is probably Aspergers.
Awesome at puzzles, beautiful piano player, can composer beautiful
pieces of improvisation, totally disorganised, loses everything,
terrible handwriting, can't focus in class, works out complicated maths
in his head but can't explain what he did, get hardly anything written
down in his books..... I could go on.
Any advice or pointers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Reasoning tasks are heavily loaded
on abstract reasoning ability. In this case, there are extremes in both
the scores, VCI being average and PRI being very high. The subsets for
VCI represent key clinical indicators of the cognitive strengths and
weakness considered important to the assessment of learning
disabilities, executive functions, attentional disorders, traumatic
brain injuries, mental retardation, lead poisoning, giftedness, and
various other medical and neurological concerns. On the other hand, the
PRI emphasizes on fluid reasoning abilities as measured by the Matrix
Reasoning subtest and Picture Concepts subtest - which your son scored
The Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Reasoning Composites in WAIS IV
test are both
very good indicators of giftedness; they assess verbal abstract
reasoning and provide useful tests of visual reasoning with less timing
emphasis. The VCI describes verbal conceptualization, stored knowledge
access and oral expression. The child is required to answer orally
presented questions that assess common-sense reasoning, reasoning out or
retrieving word associations and the ability to describe the nature or
meaning of words. Verbal expression is required here. Low scores here
may indicate a possible difficulty with language, weak fluid reasoning
skills in verbal domain, or even possible hearing concerns. You
mentioned that he could have Asperger's - this could be indicative.
As for the high PRI scores, they indicate high visual perception and
organization, and reasoning with visually presented, nonverbal material
to solve the types of problems, which are usually not taught in schools.
Block design also requires visual-motor coordination and the ability to
apply all skills in a quick, efficient manner. High scores reflect both
accurate and very quick responses.
In your case, due to the significant difference between the VCI and PRI,
there could be a concern here. I am suspecting that he could be twice
exceptional. His VCI is in the Average range, whereas his PRI in the
Superior range. Further testing may be required. For now, the huge gap
between the two scores should warrant some intervention. The huge
discrepancy is not normal. I believe he may need intervention for both
his strengths and weaknesses with an individualised educational plan
(not only for his weaknesses).
He seems like a very talented child who needs some help with learning
due to his pervasive developmental disorder and possibly some other
learning disorder. Scores alone should raise some red flags. WAIS is not
a diagnostic but such a huge discrepancy in the scores is just not
normal and warrants further investigation.
Hope that helps and do see if you could get a reference from someone who
is able to interpret the scores as a whole, looking into his other
diagnoses. Both strengths and weaknesses should have equal focus for
enrichment and intervention. Good luck!