Volume 22, Issue 4 (1993)
Theory-Based, Branching Diagnosis of Writing Disabilities
Virginia W. Berninger, Dianne Whitaker
Alternative approaches to assessing writing disabilities are considered that (a) use theory-based, process measures to explain discrepancies between IQ and achievement, (b) may define learning disabilities independent of IQ, and (c) employ branching diagnosis based on selected tests rather than all tests in a standard battery. The theory underlying the process measures employed and the research validating it are reviewed. A model for using these process measures, with or without IQ, is outlined for branching diagnosis of handwriting, spelling, and composition disabilities. Branching diagnosis is a time-efficient procedure in which the school psychologist decides which process measures to administer depending on which component writing skills were previously found to be at risk or disabled. Other issues are explored in applying the process approach which is illustrated by clinical cases.
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