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Can IQ drop significantly?
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Can IQ drop significantly?

My son was diagnosed with PDDNOS at 5, then ADHD at 7, then back to PDDNOS with ADHD as a comorbid condition at 10 years. He has been having seizures since he was 3. He has  speech/language delay, poor attention, poor social thinking and limited interests and he struggles with reading.     He is better at math. He simply can't plan and start a project, remember the details and complete the task. He is in a partially mainstreamed special education program.  He is 10 years old now. He has had 3 grandmals so far and about 2-3 complex partial seizure episides per year.  
He  has taken IQ tests at 5 years and at 7 years  from the school and from neuropsycologists. All 4 tests revealed  below average - range ( around 87 ) for intelligence and mild impairment for executive/cognitive skills.

He did pretty well in school for the last two years. He was bright and happy to participate. He had started blooming really well. His meds were changed in April to get better seizure control. We got seizure control but the side effects were bad. It feels as if his ASD and ADHD issues have worsened.  The school year had barely started, they administered a series of tests including Kaufman assesment battery for children - 2nd edition.
First of all, It takes him 15 minutes to just sit and start working on a problem he knows how to do. It takes him a lot more time to warm up to a new unpredictable situation  and give his undivided attention. On top of it, he is not good at responding to  open ended questions due to his communication problems.   he is better at multiple choice questions and visual questions.
When I expressed all these concerns, the district said it was just a routine test.

Anyways, they say that his IQ has dropped to 60.  The only thing that has changed since the last test was that   he was hospitalized from a grand mal  2 years back, which was treated immediately and no long-term issues cropped up from that. It was confirmed by a series of medical tests.
I have 3 questions. 1. Given the  list of issues (attention, language, ASD and low motivation) my son has, has the school administered the  right IQ test ?  2. Can IQ drop so significantly?   3. Are there alternate IQ tests for kids with ASD and ADHD?
Also, Should I just take the IQ test results with a grain of salt and continue working with him as usual? My only worry is that his already low bar at school will be lowered even more. His teacher has already stopped sending him to science and art classes because he can't "handle" them. He had started enjoying learning about sea animals. She just wants to work on his reading and math goals.

Sorry about the lengthy post.
Tags: IQ, ASD, ADHD, seizures
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4 Comments Post a Comment
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1006035_tn?1391310794
I was just reading the other day that IQ can change. It has ups and downs and it isn't set in stone. He's still young and has the potential to change his situation. If you are concerned about the results is there anyone you could take them to? Do you have your own therapist and doctor that could read them and possibly retest? You have great questions and it seems like you are really thinking things through. You have to be an advocate for your child and make sure that his wants and needs are expressed to everyone who is involved in his care. I'm not an expert on this, so I hope you do consult one who can really help you! There are a couple other people on this forum who know a lot about ADHD who may have some valuable input too.
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Avatar_m_tn
      It's not so much as to if they administered the right test as to how they administered the test.  If it was a timed test - its not valid.  Any child with your sons difficulties should be administered an untimed test - even give days to finish it.  Furthermore, if they want a true idea of his capabilities, they probably should have somebody there to read or answer questions or at least de-stress him.  So yes, you should (depending on how the test was administrated) take it with a grain of salt.  
    And ya, your IQ can drop (in a way).  IQ tests are based on a standard set of information that a person should learn year to year.  If they don't learn as much each year (due to things like ADHD), then you would expect to see a drop in IQ.  Its always interesting to look at the sub sets of the test.  For him, I would not be surprised to see the one part still rising, but the other part falling.
    I can understand his teacher wanting to increase his reading and math goals.  I question if it can effectively be done.  Or in other words, how is it being done.  If he is being helped one on one, this could be very effective (although this depends on how it is being done  - rote drill would probably not be good).  If he is just being given a bunch of papers to do.  Then he would be much better off going to classes where he has an interest.  
      And, I do worry about the "he can't handle them'  phrase.  He can't do the work - or he causes disruptions due to the different environment or the other teacher not being able to deal with him?
     I know that giving stim meds to kids who have seizures is a very mixed bag.  Is he on any thing for the ADHD?   And, if you don't mind, what meds is he on for his seizures?
    Finally, I always recommend the book, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley.  Its probably worth picking up (or buying via amazon), as it will help with his ADHD problem.  
   Hope some of this helps.  You have a huge responsibility, and I feel for you.  Best wishes!!
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13167_tn?1327197724
IQ in children is tricky.  If he tested at 87 when he was 5,  and then at 60 at the age of 10, he may well not have lost any actual functioning intelligence,  he just hasn't advanced as far as his peer average has during that time.  

IQ is measured by mental "age" over chronological age in children.   He may actually be advancing in his abilities,  but since he's not advancing as far as his peers,  his IQ number compared to them (and that's what IQ is,  it's a ratio number,  with average being calculated at 100) is dropping.




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13167_tn?1327197724
Oops didn't finish.  

Dropping IQ at that age isn't the same thing as "losing abilities".  So a child who can perform simple arithmetic in 2nd grade but can no longer do that in 4th grade is a bigger concern than a child advancing,  but doing so at a slower rate than their peers.
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