Patterns of performance on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) have been proposed as useful tools for the identification of children with learning disabilities (LD). However, most of the studies of WISC-R patterns in children with LD have been plagued by the lack of a typically achieving comparison group, by failure to measure individual patterns, and by the lack of a precise definition of LD. In an attempt to address these flaws and to assess the presence of patterns of performance on the WISC-R, we examined data from 121 children with typical achievement (TA), 143 children with reading disabilities (RD), and 100 children with a specific arithmetic disability (AD), ages 6 to 16 years. The results indicated that the RD and AD groups had significantly lower scores than the TA group on all the Verbal IQ subtests. Many of the children with AD and RD showed a significant difference between Verbal and Performance IQ scores, but so did many of the typically achieving children. Although there were some children with LD who showed the predicted patterns, typically, 65% or more of the children with LD did not. Furthermore, a proportion of the TA group-generally not significantly smaller than that of the RD and AD groups-showed discrepancy patterns as well. Our results indicate that the patterns of performance on intelligence tests are not reliable enough for the diagnosis of LD in individual children. Therefore, it might be more profitable to base the detection of an individual's LD on patterns of achievement test scores.
Journal of Learning Disabilities
Department of Neuroscience

D'Angiulli, A, & Siegel, L.S. (Linda S.). (2003). Cognitive functioning as measured by the WISC-R: Do children with learning disabilities have distinctive patterns of performance?. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(1), 48–58. doi:10.1177/00222194030360010601