WISC-IV Test: Improving Perceptual Reasoning Skills
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
We just received our daughters scores from the WISC-IV. She did very
well in verbal comprehension (97th percentile) but scored very poorly in
perceptual reasoning (39th percentile). Her other scores were in average
to high average range.
She seemed to have most of her problems with picture concepts and block
design. While I understand that this will always be her weakness, I know
that strategies can be taught to help with these skills. Can you
recommend manipulative, books or workbooks, or skill programs that we
can use to help teach her strategies?
She is 11 years old, has been attending a Montessori School but will
make the transition to public intermediate school next year. We would
like to begin now preparing her for teaching style that may not address
her strengths. Thank you.
The Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI) which is a nonverbal ability is
made up of Block Design, Matrix Reasoning, Picture Concept and Picture
Completion. It is designed to measure nonverbal concept formation,
visual perception and organisation, simultaneous processing,
visual-motor coordination, learning, and the ability to separate figure
and ground in visual stimuli.
IQ tests are meant to measure how a person's brain is wired to think; in
which case, we will find individuals who have areas of strength and
weakness, sometimes one that outweigh the other with a rather huge
margin. As in your daughter's case, I am wondering if she has nonverbal
learning disability (NLD) as her scores are rather low in comparison.
You may want to check that out.
In general, to increase PRI, general teaching methods that consist of
making visual-motor tasks easier for the child should be used. For e.g.,
use of large print, large copy work, minimising distracting influences,
guides for visual-motor work, gross-motor exercises, and others can be
used. For finer coordination, activities can be gradually introduced
when the child progresses (e.g., physical education or gymnastics).
These children also benefit from auditory teaching methods. If the child
is young, activities that involve identifying and recognising letters is
essential (e.g., matching letters or whole words). The child will also
benefit from finding and outlining forms, pictures, and even letters
that are hidden in a large picture. Puzzles (with various designs,
letters, pictures, words, etc) are also very helpful. Make sure that
left-to-right orientation should be reinforced by aiming at a target
moving from left to right. Structured art and free drawing such as
tracing, copying, finger painting, colouring, and other similar
activities are beneficial as well. You can also use similar stimuli used
in the WISC IV on PR to enhance this area.
Additionally, spot the difference games and memory games are also
evidenced to help perceptual skills. Spot the difference games are
available online and in print in a variety of stores. These activities
require that the child look at the finer details of pictures rather than
the picture as a whole. Apart from that, memory games with pictures
indirectly forces the child to use visual memory, which will ultimately
improve it in the long term. These may be helpful for your daughter.
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with any books on this per say. You may
want to read this article - though it is meant for children with
superior perceptual reasoning skills. Perhaps, similar activities with
easier levels could be formed as an activity - so use your creativity to
plan out the activities.
Hope that helps. Good luck!