Brighter Pathways ©  2017

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1237 E. Livingston Street, Suite B

Orlando, FL 32803-5401

Ph: 407-895-0540 ~ Fax: (407) 228-9771

Licenses:  SS00305 ~ MH02676 ~ PCE-9

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Notice:  Leave of Absence Closure

Dr. Messenger will be starting  A Leave of Absence as of Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 for an unspecified time.  Assessments and consultation can be scheduled until then.  The website will remain available for educational purposes, until the office is reopened.

For those of you who have already read the section on Intervention, you know the critical importance of updating assessments, especially as strategies are implemented to address a child’s individual needs.  For example, in one very dramatic case, a 6-year-old youngster who had been severely neglected and abused was evaluated and found to have an I.Q. within the range of Mental Retardation. With intensive home support and special education, an updated assessment six years later revealed that his I.Q. improved to fall within the middle of the Average range! Both I.Q. scores were “valid” for the time they were obtained, yet by contrasting the very statically significant improvement (2 whole standard deviations!!), those who who worked with this youngster could truly see the changes, as well as which areas of strengths to continue developing, and which areas of weaknesses to continue remediating.











In most cases, one would expect improvement, or at least stability, from one assessment to the next.  Unfortunately, sometimes this is not what happens. Brain trauma, such experienced in a car accident or severe sports injury, may lead to lower results.  


Years ago, Dr. Messenger worked with a bright and beautiful youngster with a Gifted I.Q. (That means her ability level tested in the top 2% of the population, compared to other individuals her exact some age in the United States.) Tragically, she contracted encephalitis with meningitis, known as “meningoencephalitis.”  For this condition, symptoms can range from include headache, fever, and confusion, to more advanced and serious symptoms of seizures or convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, and memory problems and, occasionally, even death.  In this unusual but horrific case, the little girl sustained definite brain damage.  In contrast to the case presented above, her I.Q. dropped from Gifted to Severely Impaired.


Thankfully, such cases as these are rare, and thus remarkable.  More typically, Dr. Messenger evaluates areas which were previously assessed to determine improvement.  For example, a student with weak Auditory Processing who had intensive remediation in the areas of receptive language and listening skills would be expected to show higher Standard Scores at an updated reassessment.  A youngster with poor Visual Processing should show gains in this area after remediation of vision therapy.




Some folks might argue that, “Of course, scores will get better!  The child is getting older!”  But that way of reasoning is only true if you are comparing age or grade equivalency scores.  In other words, a beginning second grader who completes the third grade would be expected to show approximately two years of grade-level growth.  

However, when we are comparing Standard Scores, we are always comparing to:  


  1. the child’s previous levels (if there are earlier test results available)
  2. individuals of the exact same chronological age–(down to the day!)–no matter when the assessment was done.  


Let’s take an example.  If a student first obtains a Standard Score of 79 Written Expression, we know that, compared to other individuals the exact same age at the time of test, this person is well below Average (since 100 is the mid-point of the Average range).  


If the same student were tested several years later on the same tests measuring Written Expression and obtained a Standard Score of 95, we would know this student made a statistically significant gain (by more than one Standard Deviation)!  Even though the Standard Score is still a bit below mid-Average compared to peers (remember 100 = mid-Average), compared to previous performance, there has been much improvement. Someone ~ probably a bunch of someones ~ deserves a pat on the back!

Educationally, the term is Specific Learning Disability (SLD) in Written Expression.

Written Expression Sample of the disorder Dysgraphia