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Discrepancies in WPPSI-IV Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My seven year old son recently completed a full psychological evaluation including a WPPSI-IV. His scores are as follows.

Verbal Comprehension Index = 96
Visual Spatial Index = 83
Fluid Reasoning Index = 103
Working Memory Index = 82
Processing Speed Index = 71

There were significant discrepancy in his intellectual functioning of verbal and nonverbal development. It was noted that it is consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD. Do you concur?

Also he scored a 5-2 in sentence reading fluency and 5-11 in reading fluency but in his first grade class he is not behind in his reading and achieves good scores on his reading tests. Why would he be performing well in school but not perform well in reading on this test? It seems like a lot of discrepancy. Thank you.

A: Most of his scores are in the Average and Low Average range except for Processing Speed, which is in the Borderline range. It is typically expected in most children that scores will cluster close enough together to indicate that the child's verbal and non verbal skills are evenly developed. When there is a large difference between the two subtest scores (verbal and non verbal), it may indicate learning problems.

This could be ADHD but do bear in mind that this is not a diagnostic test and a child without such a condition could also score similarly. To rule out learning problems, you may need to do further testing. As to the reason he may not have performed as well in the reading test could be contributed to factors such as anxiety, fear, discomfort etc. It would be best to discuss this with the test administrator to rule out any anxiety factor that may have affected the scores. Speak to his class teachers as well about his reading fluency.

If there is any issue of concern, it is best to intervene at this stage as he is young and will be able to cope as he develops further. He also needs help to improve his processing speed. You may need an OT for this. Once you are satisfied with the diagnosis, get help from professional to help him learn better. All the best!


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