Joined: 3 Sep 2011
My almost 7 yr old son has language delay, poor social skills, obsessions, sensitivity to sounds and has been called a "quirky" child. He has been round and round with countless doctors since the age of 3, and his diagnosis has changed several times as a result. Some say he has nothing but speech delay. Another Dr say he has anxiety. They looked at possibly autism, PDD, ADD, Aspergers , etc. None of which stuck . No one agrees he might be in the autism spectrum because he smiles and has good eye contact.
He started to talk & walk very late, he is still very messy eater and has a delayed self care ( for ex can't wipe himself yet) . He also has difficulty solving age appropriate puzzles that my 4yo is doing without problems . I thought autistic people love puzzles and are good at it but he is not.
If this does turn out to be the case, is a child's IQ something that can be improved on, or is it a fixed measure ? He is a beautiful and sweet boy with an extremely gentle spirit. I am desperate to understand if his IQ is something that we can improve with certain activities and more importantly, what is the prognosis long term for a child with low IQ ?
In math , he learns the computation easily but has big problems when he is learning concepts. Anything that requires more thinking , he seems to be blocked. It requires repetition like 10 times until he gets it.Fortunately he is homeschooled this year and he is doing math at grade level but still has difficulty "getting it ".
Also I am very puzzled about this IQ thing because he started to read with NO difficulty at all at 4, now at 6 he is able to decode words at 3rd grade level but he comprehends at about k-1st level. He loves to read by himself. He also spells advanced words words ( like SCIENCE , SAUCE , BRIDGE ,etc) and does simple addition& sub in his head. I attribute this to our intense programs , but still I feel if he really had a low IQ he would have a harder time to learn all these . I did an IQ online test for kids and it was 84.I am not sure how accurate it was . His psychiatrist thinks he is too young to have IQ test but she said they will do the test next year.
Thoughts, suggestions ?
Thanks in advance !
PS I did tell his psychiatrist about these concerns and she said that with his abilities he has a normal or above average IQ . But of course she does not know him or has any challenge teaching him. She did not test him and she only saw him about 20 min in the office. I feel there is a problem and I would like to know whether is IQ or something else that is causing his need of repetition until he gets it. Also, he has problems reproducing some kind of construction --for ex if I build a fish with pattern blocks and ask him to do the same or to reproduce a design on a geoboard ( triangles, rectangles,etc with an elastic piece )
Any suggestion , thought ---would be sohelpful ! !!
Joined: 22 Apr 2010
A lot of people on the spectrum have what is called "scatter" where rather than performing more or less the same in all areas, they will have very strong strengths and very weak weaknesses.
This can still average out to a normal, or even an above average IQ.
I don't think it would be proper to assume your son is below average at this point. He might just have a lot of scatter and you might be focusing more on his weak points than strong points. You might have him tested for a learning disability to get a better idea of his strengths and weaknesses. As for helping children achieve their full intellectual potential, I there are a few things you can do that might help.
1. Read to your kids and encourage them to read.
2. Get them a subscription to magazines like Highlights, National Geographic, and Scientific American, Discover, Popular Mechanics and so on.
3. Seize opportunities to explain interesting things for them.
4. Present questions to them that requires them to think a little.
5. Take them to zoo's aquariums, and science museums.
6. Engage in conversations with them that help improve their critical thinking skills.
Children are usually naturally curious and inquisitive but unfortunately a lot of parents don't foster that. Instead of doing the things above, they let their children excessively absorb themselves in things with no substance such as cartoons like "Family Guy". They ask their children questions with no substance, and don't bother to engage their kids in serious conversations, or ask them questions about the world.
Joined: 3 Sep 2011
Thank you so much for your reply. How do I do testing for learning disability ? Is it through a doctor or school ? He is homeschooled this year so I am not sure the school will do this testing for us.
We do read a lot every day . At least an hour/day ,some days more . Since English is mty 3rd language I get audiobooks or we listen on the free online library but follow along with the book so he can see the words. He likes that . I have a list of classic books , he listens to audiobooks before going to bed and in the car, we go to the zoo, parks, etc We do all 1-6 things you mentioned . I even bought him a thinking skills book and he is challenged with that. I try to play educational or fun board games but he is not interested. All he wants to do is read about parks such as Disney or Universal , look at these parks' maps and watch videos on youtube with the rides at these parks. He knows all the rides what number they are on the map and has memorized every little description about them. He does school for about 4- 5 hours a day so I allow him to watch videos as a reward . But I am aware that these won't improve his brain ... In his free moments, he prefers to mimic the rides. I ask him to play with creative toys but he never wants !
I don't know what else to do and I am desperate ! I am not even sure they will consider a learning disability since we have worked so hard and in testing he is even a little above grade level. He does have problems in thinking and this probably won't reveal in such a test but I will look into testing for learning disability .
Joined: 17 Apr 2010
I think IQ tests are pretty inaccurate in general, and even more so to kids who have autism. I wouldn't put too much stock in it. Keep teaching him and practicing! My kiddo is super smart but it takes him longer than his peers to understand a concept. But once he understands it, he could teach the class while other kids it just leaves their brain once the test it done. He needs the repetition to get things, but once they are there it's there for good!
We had a huge reading level vs. reading comprehension gap as well. We worked on visualizing and verbalizing, increasing his vocabulary, sequencing, I read to him, he read to himself, etc. The gap is getting closed, but it took a lot of work on both of our parts!
As for self care, try to allow time for him to do things all on his own. Just like everything else, that will come with repetition/practice. His self care skills will get there, but he has to start doing them on his own.
Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Location: northeastern US
as an adult, i became aware that i have learning disabilities. my high IQ had let me get through school without much difficulty from them. it was adult life that stymied me. anyway, i went through the regional school system to get the tests that defined which learning disabilities i had. it cost me $600, but for a school-aged person, perhaps the school will pay.
Joined: 8 Oct 2010
Location: Austin, Texas
This can still average out to a normal, or even an above average IQ.
This is my older son with classic autism exactly. He has an information retrieval IQ of 70, and a picture vocabulary IQ of 128. (I worked extensively on his picture word vocabulary, so I believe that his IQ was improved in this area by tutoring. My son's overall IQ was 98, which is average.
The testing was done by the school in my son's case. They did it, I think, because I'm a lawyer and threatened legal action.
I think that IQ tests can be inaccurate, though, if one is on certain medications or experiences a lot of anxiety associated with the testing though. Lack of accomodations for disabilities can throw off scores, too.
I personally think that a person's overall IQ can be raised. I mean, some sections such as picture vocabulary and general knowledge are clearly able to be affected by tutoring.
My older son has received extensive home-based tutoring, and I feel that it has greatly increased his overall IQ and his IQ in specific areas.
Anyway, I recommend checking out the "favorites" section of my free Autistic Kids Channel. ( www.youtube.com/user/vids4autkids1 ) and the hyperlexia video in "favorites" on my Reading Channel ( www.youtube.com/user/vids4autistickids ). Also, please check out the "links" section on my website, www.freevideosforautistickids.com , for links to free ebooks.
www.freevideosforautistickids.com is my website with hundreds of links and thousands of educational videos for kids, parents and educators. Son with high-functioning classic autism, aged 7, and son with OCD/Aspergers, aged 4. I love my boys!
Joined: 3 Jul 2011
The answer to original poster's question is that certainly IQ can be improved. I remember from my psychology courses that some children with low IQ were put into favourable environments and their IQ improved by 20 to 60 points. Original poster may need to try and find learning activities which tie into the obsessive interests.
I do have a problem though in really understanding the issues. I think if our NT daughter and our ASD son were IQ tested our son would score at least 30 points lower, which is a big difference for siblings. His whole thinking is very concrete. Just today I was saying to him that he has done badly this year and what a winner will do in such circumstances is to work out what was done wrong and then work out what can be done to correct that. He reacted rather negatively to that and my wife pointed out that I am generalising too much. For instance as regards his lack of exercise I have to tell him things like - you need to get up 1/2 an hour early and run around the block. Very specific instructions. He seems completely unable to grasp the nuances of conversations and will misunderstand things as a result. His takeup of information eg from reading or verbal instructions is extremely poor/slow. He is failing his penultimate year of school. The teacher wanted him to do practical math but we had to say no, as at 17 he probably has at very best a 12yo's grasp of math.
He does have some mental advantages over the NT members of the family eg he has just done a detailed fancy dress costume which is much better than we could have done as he has noticed a lot of detail which we wouldn't. Also he is an extremely talented cartoonist. (Is anything like that involved in IQ? Maybe - I remember a goat sculpture made by Picasso where he had incorporated a small toy car as the goat's head - which a normal person would never have imagined in a 1000 years, but in fact it fitted perfectly).
But whatever it is that is not working right in his head - lack of dopamine transmission or whatever - is leading to lack of executive function and lack of ability to take in and collate and synthesise information - which at least in part is what gives someone a higher IQ. (And I wonder if his obsessions are not just a reflection of not understanding the world, so he tries to understand a very very small part of it).