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Cathy:  My daughter’s new school says an IQ test is required by law and if they don’t administer one they cannot modify her general ed curriculum anymore. My daughter is 12 and has Down syndrome. She reads almost at grade level and writes well. I am afraid the test will not reflect her abilities and they will base too many decisions on the results since they don’t know her very well. I DO NOT want her IQ test on file so she will be labeled her entire life. What can I do?

Would they be able to substitute other cognitive assessments for the IQ test,leaving that one out completely, and still be able to make a determination of Intellectual disability?

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12/13/2017 5:47 pm

Cathy, It depends on what eligibility that they are considering. If they are looking for intellectually disabled as part of the eligibility, the IQ test is a part of that assessment. Possible low IQ scores may happen – but maybe not; you will never know unless she is tested. Unless your daughter has verbalization/lang issues, the IQ score usually has two components to it – verbal and performance – in one manner or another. It also sometimes has a memory component. These tests can help with programming that would be useful for her, like she does well with nonverbal comm. or performance as opposed to having everything presented orally. It might also show that she has better abilities than are being utilized – maybe she has a gift for memorizing. All used for her good -and confidential.

01/13/2017 9:24 pm

My 8 year old son has autism. He is up for reevaluation. The autism specialist says she needs to conduct an IQ test on him in order to reevaluate him. Aren’t their other tests she could do? I don’t want the stigmatiam that comes with possible low IQ scores.

01/16/2017 10:09 am
Reply to  Nia

I don’t know where you live, but the IQ test is a required part of the test battery in my state. There are other tests that are also required. Your best hope is that the examiner will choose the instrument that best reflects your son’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, there are nonverbal IQ tests that may fit his communication style better.

Jill G
01/11/2016 4:36 pm

Cathy –

Yes and no.

The yes… the school can conductive an assessment of your daughter’s adaptive behavior. This type of assessment is broad and may cover such areas as communication, motor skills, social skills, self care/ADLs, and/or functional academics. Instead of an IQ, you are usually given a score that corresponds to an age equivalency.

In school settings, adaptive behavioral assessments are often used for children with limited communication skills. They are also being used more and more for children with any type of disability, as they near transition age. They are great for helping to create the IEP – the evaluator can pinpoint a child’s current skill level, then use the next skill in the sequence to build an IEP goal.

Jill G
01/11/2016 4:35 pm

Cathy –

IDEA does not require IQ testing. In fact, IDEA says that your child’s evaluation cannot consist solely of an IQ test. Your state special education law may require IQ testing, but I doubt it.

One way to find out what “law” the school is referring to is to ask them for a copy of it! When they are unable to show you this law, perhaps you can suggest that they conduct other assessments that will offer more useful information. If they need to modify her curriculum, wouldn’t it be helpful to have info about her functioning in different skills areas like reading and math?

01/11/2016 4:35 pm

Ask them about the basis for their statement. The federal criteria for intellectual disability includes measurement of intellectual functioning. Research what your state rules say on the criteria for this & the general evaluation process. Federal rules talk about using tests that assess cognitive, academic & behavioral factors, but a school must use more than an IQ test. (300.304)

Jill G
01/11/2016 4:35 pm

The no… as Chuck noted, your state’s definition of Intellectual Impairment may focus on student IQ. This may be the requirement the school is referring to. Many states actually use a two-prong test for this disability category – students must have deficiencies with cognition (i.e. IQ) and with adaptive behavior.

Here’s a question, does the school want the IQ testing to help determine your child’s disability category? Are you okay with intellectual impairment being her disability category? If yes, then press the school to use assessment tools that take into account her specific challenges. There are also assessment tools to measure cognition that are designed to take your child’s deficits into account.

Jill G
01/11/2016 4:34 pm

If not, perhaps look at another category. The disability category is supposed to reflect the predominant “disability,” the one that has the greatest impact on the student’s learning.

Down syndrome is a medical diagnosis that can potentially impact your child’s education in a variety of ways. So what’s your child’s greatest challenge? Motor skills? Maybe physical impairment would be a better category. Communication? Maybe communication impairment would be the best category.

I think you will find it impossible to completely avoid your child being labeled as having cognitive impairments, if she does in fact have them. But I do understand wanting to avoid unfair stigmatization. Good luck!