Impact of Dyslexia and Anxiety Disorder on IQ score
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I have a child diagnosed with Dyslexia
and Anxiety Disorder. I just had her tested with the WISC and she came
in at 124.
Should I seek GT programming at her elementary school (going into 4th
Could I assume had she not had dyslexia and anxiety disorder her score
might be higher?
A score of 124 on the WISC is indeed above average. However, it is not
indicated if this is the FSIQ or the GAI (General Ability Index). It is
always important to have a professional check a GAI if a student is
gifted and dyslexic. This is because the FSIQ score alone would not be
representative of advanced conceptual and reasoning ability.
The GAI can be considered to a Full Scale IQ equivalent when there is a
significant amount of score discrepancies due to dyslexia (your
educational psychologist may be able to advise you here based on the
scatter of the scores). In the WISC-V, the 4 scores that comprise the GAI are 2 Verbal reasoning scores (Similarities and Vocabulary), 3
Nonverbal scores (Block design, Matrix reasoning, and Figure weights).
Lower scores in Symbol search, Coding (copying written symbols), or
Digit span (auditory working memory and sequencing) are not factored
into the GAI. However, these are an important requirement if the FSIQ
equivalent is to be an accurate estimate of a student's reasoning and
conceptual ability and fund of knowledge. Children with Dyslexia (and Dysgraphia) often score lower in Coding, Symbol Search, and Digit Span.
A rather typical profile for a dyslexic child who may also be gifted is
high scores in verbal reasoning, followed by non-verbal reasoning.
Working memory is often weaker (compared to age peers) when the child is
younger, but tends to settle in the average range. As for anxiety
disorder, studies have indicated that, when compared to children without
any significant psychopathology, children with anxiety disorders do tend
to show statistically and clinically significant impairment, which in
turn may lower the scores.
To seek admission into the G&T programme, it would be best to have a
team evaluate her suitability in such a programme. For dyslexic
children, accommodations are usually made which would be helpful.
However, a plan is required if she has anxiety disorder. Do speak to her
school counsellor for the best learning opportunity for her. Good luck!.