Question about assessment daughter had

Hello all!

I was thinking about the psychiatric assessment daughter had this past winter.

She tested in the 4th percentile for her processing ability and 5th percentile for her visual-motor integration. The assessment said she was 'borderline'. I asked the psychiatric what this meant but she wouldn't give me an answer.

Anyone know what this means? Borderline what? It is my understanding that she has an 'average' IQ.

The basic rundown of her assessment was:
Mature and insightful about her strengths and weaknesses, worked hard with no complaints, although often took considerably longer than normal to complete a task or answer a question
Working Memory - 27th Percentile - considered average range.
Verbal comprehension - Upper end of low average range.
Perceptual Reasoning - 32nd percentile - average range.
**Processing Speed Index - 4th Percentile - very much below average in the Borderline Range *** All subtests revealed very slow processing speed.
Highest score - upper average range - a subtest measuring general knowledge - this is influenced by long-term memory, formal learning, outside reading and cultural experiences.
All other tests show relatively even development toward the low end of average including measuring abstract reasoning, expressive vocabulary and acquired social practical judgement.
**Severe weakness with a very low score on a subtest measuring spatial perception and tapping into non-verbal concept formation, organization and processing.
Visual memory score is a little below average.
**Visual motor integration is extremely low - 5th percentile *** indicating very significant problems.
**Motor co-ordination - 5th percentile - given that, her handwriting is much neater than would be expected (due to a lot of practice)
**Dyscalculia was another diagnosis for daughter - she tests overall 3 years below grade level for math.

All the above terminology (ie. borderline, significant, severe) is not mine but comes directly from the assessment.

What exactly does 'Borderline' mean for daughter? I know it sounds bad but she is such a hard worker and when given plenty of time does well in most subjects except math and history (too many names and dates). She does struggle with short answer/paragraph style questions on tests as well - but her IEP can help modify that. Anyone have any experience with what this might be like for high school and her future? She is in grade 7 right now. Thanks for any insight!


You said "when given plenty of time does well" and the report gave the explanation
very slow processing speed
You also said "She does struggle with short answer/paragraph style questions" and the report explains that she has
Severe weakness with a very low score on.....tapping into non-verbal concept formation, organization and processing.

Borderline in this case, to me, sounds like it is very close to being an actual disability but that she's not quite "bad enough" in the scores. You say she's a hard worker. If she had the right academic help, she might not have to work so hard. It sounds like there are a LOT of things she could use help with.


Well-Known Member
borderline, significant, severe
These are part of a progression... above average, average, borderline, significant, severe...
In our part of the world. borderline problems only come into play if there are other issues. For example, if a person is generally strong across the board but has one "borderline" issue, they can probably work around it. But if they also have problems in the skills normally used to compensate... a borderline issue may in fact be significant in the overall picture even though that particular score isn't significant on it's own.

She's going to need accommodations and interventions. Probably right through HS. But... these are not all that "unusual"... most schools know what to do to help (getting them to do it may be a different story...). And many or most (here, they claim it's most) kids with these kinds of issues do graduate.
TeDo and Insane - She definitely qualifies as learning disabled - given that she has a significant math Learning Disability (LD) and the other issues thrown in there as well. She has an IEP at school but the teacher is not very inclined to implement it unless I write him letters all the time telling him what I need/want done. IE. You need to modify this test in this manner..... I need written guidelines for the short story that you have assigned, including a due date.... This is all stuff he is supposed to do without me asking but he doesn't. Frustrating.

It's especially frustrating in that if daughter forgets something I can't ask him for clarification or modification because I don't even know about it! Ugh. And he absolutely refuses to communicate via email and is not good at returning phone calls.

Insane - Thanks for the info on the term borderline. For the most part her Learning Disability (LD)'s are described as significant but I wondered about 'borderline' because I wondered what it was borderline with? Borderline non-existent, borderline disability, borderline what? You know. thanks for clearing that up for me.


Well-Known Member
She has IEP, teacher is not inclined to implement?
Either... the IEP isn't specific enough in details of accommodations, or... you need an advocate to cut through the fillibuster and get action.


New Member
I'm not so confused about the meaning of borderline, I think you get that...what is confusing to me (MHO) is that the 4th percentile would in any way be considered borderline. That said....sadly this is for some disabilities the cut off for qualification for programs etc. (in some areas of language testing here kids need to be at or below the FOURTH percentile to qualify for therapy)....can you imagine being the parent of the kid we had to tell, sorry they score in the 5th and 6th percentiles.....can't service them or w e will get in trouble, it was crazy making!

Let's face it.... if there is that big of a discrepancy then it is a big problem. No surprise to you, I am sorry that must be so frustrating and then to have her IEP pretty much ignored??? Poor kid. But the bright side in this is there are some specific things to target and address. Anyway you can get private speech/language therapy? I worked on trying to get vision therapy for my son and that was expensive and not very available at the time. Maybe it has changed? But many of the things that are worked on can be worked on through Occupational Therapist (OT). Would that be an option?
Buddy - Well, I think that is what confused me about the 'borderline' with daughter in the first place. I was wondering how 4th percentile could qualify as a borderline disability and was wondering if it meant that her ability to process was borderline non-existent - meaning they thought it was so bad she almost couldn't process some things. That worried me.

I can't imagine having to be in the position of telling parents that their child doesn't qualify when the scoring is as low as 5th or 6th percentile. That is awful for the person that has to say it as well as the parents. How frustrating to know that your child falls below the 'below average' range and you still can't get them help.

I'm glad she qualifies but feel badly for her that her ability is so low and that she struggles. She is such a great kid. She works hard, has a great attitude and really wants to do well. She is very resilient which is a good trait for her to have. We are so proud of her and she is hard enough on herself so we certainly don't come down on her when she fails a test or an assignment. She qualifies for exemption from some assignments if I feel she has too much on her plate and she has only skipped one assignment all year - that's a recent reading response that she is not doing because she had 3 weekends of dance competitions in a row and has also been sick for 3 weeks - so in the last 3 weeks she has missed 8 days of school due to competitions and illness.

I'm going to look into the Occupational Therapist (OT) and see if there is something there that can help her. I know there are math programs online that she can do to help stimulate certain areas of her brain so I'm going to look into that as well. Nothing that the school will pay for so I will be out of pocket but if I can afford it I will definitely do it for her. Something to pursue over the summer.

Insane - I am going to look at her IEP again and see if I can make some changes to it for next year - get more specific for her. I think for the most part it's just a lazy teacher but I'll revisit it anyway - that way I'll have more of a leg to stand on when enforcing it. We are not done school until the end of June so I have some time to meet with the Special Education teacher and go over things.

I did write a long list for the principal so that he can consider who to place her with next year. LOL. The form gave me 2 lines to fill in what we wanted for next year - I filled that then turned the page over and filled the entire back of the sheet with necessary demands as well.

They don't like me very much because I have done my homework, have called the school board and I do know what my daughter is entitled to receive as far as support. Now getting them to implement has been another thing altogether. Right now their excuse is - well, she's only had the IEP since March and we didn't schedule out this school year to accommodate her needs - they won't have that excuse next year because I've specified all her needs on the form. :)