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Good Verbal Scores, Average on Others

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My son was referred to a psychologist due to few behaviour issues at school and often complaining of being bored at school. The psychologist decided to complete an educational assessment. He scored the following at age 8 and 2 months.

WISC-IV
VCI - 124 (Sim-15, Voc-13, Comp-14)
PRI-106 (BD-10, PC-13, MR-10)
WMI-107 (DS-10, LNS-13)
PSI-109 (coding-11, SS-12)
FSIQ-116

WIAT
Word reading -113
Maths Reasoning-118
Spelling -88

Currently at school he is completing spelling a grade above and Maths almost two grades above and the school reports he is doing well now they are giving him harder work. The psychologist used the word 'splinter skill' in relation to VCI. What does this mean? A new school counsellor after reading this said this indicated he is probably Has Autism and should be assessed and as no one has picked this up before he must be high functioning. Could this be the case? Every school report has indicated he is excelling at Maths, History and Science are these common strength of a profile like my son?

Thank you for your time.

A: It is obvious that he has good verbal scores (Superior) in comparison to his other scores (Average). His FSIQ is in the High Average range. He surely has some learning concerns that may have not been attended to but a more comprehensive evaluation may be necessary.

Usually "splinter skills" is typically associated with autistic children that may have above average IQ. However, this can actually be applied to anyone with one or more skills that are considerably above their overall performance ability. It is a form of uneven development when they have difficulty with some of the general intellectual functioning, and at the same time a skill that is significantly above their overall functioning.

Since he is excelling in some areas and not in others, it may be manifesting in behavioural issues. It is best to have the psychologist who tested him recommend further testing. He probably need and individualised learning program to be able to further strengthen his strong areas and get help in his weaker areas. Get help from an expert in autism to diagnose of rule out any concerns and start with an educational plan that would work for him. Best wishes to you.


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