© Robert D. Smith, PhD
CRITICAL INFORMATION ABOUT TESTING FOR:DYSLEXIA, LEARNING DISABILITIES AND ADHD If   you   have   had   prior   tests   and   were   told   you   did   not   have   dyslexia,   learning   disabilities,   ADHD   or   ADD,   yet   you   suspect   you   do have   one   of   these   conditions,   you   may   find   it   beneficial   to   have   a   diagnostic   interview   and   have   your   test   results   reviewed.   A diagnostic interview can be arranged with Dr. Smith at his Okemos office or through the Michigan Dyslexia Institute. Problems with IQ Testing: Traditionally,    the    principal    method    of    diagnosing    learning    disabilities,    such    as    dyslexia,    has    been    to    compare    measured intelligence   and   achievement   level   such   as   reading.   It   is   expected   that   the   reading   score   for   instance,   will   be   significantly   below the   IQ   score   if   dyslexia   is   present.   Other   factors   are   also   considered,   but   he   center   piece   to   diagnosis   is   this   discrepancy   in scores. However, there are serious problems with this approach that are frequently not considered in a diagnostic evaluation. First,   the   concept   of   intelligence   being   a   single   ability      accurately   represented   by   a   single   score   such   as   IQ   has   been   seriously challenged   by   research.   The   overall   functioning   that   is   represented   by   IQ   is   actually   the   result   of   at   least   four,   (and   possibly more)   separate   cognitive   abilities.   The   are   most   commonly   identified   as   verbal   reasoning,   nonverbal   reasoning,   working   memory and   processing   speed.   When   these   are   all   functioning   at   the   same   level,   then   a   single   score   such   as   the   IQ   can   be   regarded   as validly   representing   a   person's   intelligence.   However,   It   is   not   uncommon   for   people   with   learning   disabilities   to   have   very uneven   functioning   in   these   four   areas,   perhaps   ranging   from   very   low   to   very   high.   Consequently,   a   child   or   adult's   reasoning and   learning   abilities   may   be   much   higher   than   what   is   reflected   in   the   IQ   score.   Unfortunately,   it   is   the   lower   IQ   score   that   is often   used   in   calculating   the   discrepancy   between   ability   and   achievement   such   as   reading   resulting   in   a   discrepancy   that   is deemed   within   normal   limits.   Consequently,   the   learning   disability   that   is   actually   present   is   not   detected.   Failing   to   detect   a problem that is actually present is called a false negative. There   are   additional   consequences   in   not   properly   interpreting   intelligence   tests.   Working   memory   and   processing   speed   are considered   aspects   of   attention   and   are   closely   associated   with   some   type   of   attention   deficit   disorder.   Impairments   in   these areas   strongly   suggests   that   an   evaluation   for   ADHD   or   ADD   is   in   order.   Relying   on   the   traditional   IQ   score   may   mask   actual impairments   and   result   in   failure   to   detect   a   problem,   when   in   fact   a   problem   is   present.   Again   a   false   negative.   This   can   also result   in   serious   under   measurement   of   actual   ability   or   potential.   Unfortunately   many   psychologists   are   only   trained   to   use   the traditional IQ score and ignore indications that a traditional IQ score is invalid. Problems with Testing of Reading: Automaticity   is   acquired   in   the   latter   stage   of   reading   acquisition   when   decoding   of   words   is   automatic   and   therefore   rapid, which   allows   more   mental   resources   to   be   directed   to   the   task   of   reading   comprehension.   Automaticity   is   necessary   for   practical reading   typical   non-dyslexic   readers.   However,   the   extra   steps   and   mental   effort   the   dyslexic   reader   must   use   to   perform   basic decoding   continues   to   reflect   the   ongoing   interference   that   their   dyslexia   has   with   practical   reading.   Most   reading   tests   that   are used   to   evaluate   for   dyslexia   are   untimed   and   do   not   require   Automaticity   of   decoding   and   will   often   fail   to   detect   the   presence of   dyslexia   in   a   person   who   has   had   substantial   remediation.   People   with   dyslexia   who   have   had   substantial   amount   of   remedial reading   instruction   can   often   perform   well   on   these   untimed   tests.   Consequently,   it   is   important   to   administer   reading   tests   that require   Automaticity   of   decoding   for   the   evaluation   to   have   a   reasonable   chance   of   detecting   dyslexia.   Unfortunately,   such   tests are   often   not   included   in   an   evaluation,   which   may   result   in   a   false   negative   diagnostic   conclusion.Problems   with   ADHD   or   ADD testing:      There   is   considerable   controversy   at   the   present   time   over   what   are   the   core   symptoms   of   ADHD   or   ADD.   ADD,   which   is ADHD,   Predominantly   Inattentive   Type,   is   particularly   difficult   to   diagnose   because   hyperactivity   or   impulsiveness   are   not   the primary   symptoms.   People   with   ADD   are   not   disruptive   and   are   often   well   behaved   in   classrooms.   Their   symptoms   involve internal,    silent    problems    of    mental    processing    of    information    that    results    in    poor    academic    performance.    Because    their symptoms   are   not   readily   noticed   by   observers,   their   condition   often   goes   undetected   despite   the   suspicion   that   something   is just   not   right.   Because   of   the   controversy   regarding   the   core   symptoms   and   the   difficulty   detecting   symptoms   evaluations   often result   in   false   negatives   when   in   fact   there   is   a   problem.   Evaluations   require   a   care   review   of   all   tests,   history,   grade   reports, teacher reports and parent reports. Click on a Links below to:        Contact Dr. Smith        Michigan Dyslexia Institute
Robert D. Smith, PhD Diagnosis & Treatment for Dyslexia, ADD & Learning Disorders IQ Optimization Children & Adults