First Advisor

Correa-Torres, Silvia M.

First Committee Member

Gershwin, Tracy

Second Committee Member

Sileo, Nancy

Third Committee Member

Merabet, Lotfi

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Special Education, Special Education Student Work


Cantillon, Emily. An analysis of vision-based subtests’ impact on subtest scores of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children on students with cortical/cerebral visual impairment. Published Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2024. It has been widely recognized that a visual impairment can limit an individual’s ability to learn through visual observations. This decreased limited visual access which could impact how the skills to access and recognize the world around them develop. However, when the visual impairment was brain-based, such as in Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI), was that impact the same? For students with CVI, the top pediatric visual impairment in developed countries, the brain’s processing and recognition of what the eyes took in was affected (Kran et al., 2019; Merabet et al., 2017; Ong et al., 2023). Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment could not be quantified through visual acuity or visual fields like an ocular visual impairment. For individuals diagnosed with CVI, the manifestations were a spectrum that transcended 16 visual behaviors. How these visual behaviors manifested for an individual with CVI affected their visual attention and visual recognition, resulting in struggles to access print materials or images across environments. However, when these students were educationally evaluated through standardized cognitive assessments, there was no way to filter out the impact of CVI on their cognitive abilities (Lund et al., 2014). Like many other cognitive assessments, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V) relied on individuals' visual recognition of the presented visual stimuli (Wechsler, 2014a). The WISC-V used scaled subtests and index scores, with visual-based and timed subtests woven throughout. The visual-based subtests were not uniform in their visual presentation. The visual information students were asked to engage with had varying visual demands and complexity levels. All of the timed subtests were visual-based subtests as well. If those visual-based subtests were removed and scored separately, would this present a different cognitive profile of the student? This study used comparative statistical analyses to understand the mean scale scores of the WISC-V evaluations of students diagnosed with CVI, peers with ocular conditions, and controls from the WISC-V normative sample. This study used four targeted research questions focused on visual access, visual media, complexity levels and timed demands to investigate the impact CVI may have on the scores of the visual-based and timed subtests as a whole and the varying levels of visual demands. It was found that, within the CVI group, visual- and picture-based subtests were statistically significant. Additionally, when comparing CVI participants to peers with ocular visual impairments, visual-based, picture-based, and timed and untimed subtests were statistically significant. These findings echoed recent CVI research findings, while bringing additional questions regarding the impact of timed subtests and symbol based subtests.

Abstract Format



Special Education and Teaching


52 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.