LD Services: Is IQ a Disqualifier?


I am wondering about the implications of scoring low on the cognitive WISC testing. We are clear that my daughter has ADHD and a learning difference with respect to reading, but recent scores also indicate she has low-average IQ. This is not anyone’s impression upon interacting with her. Will these low scores automatically exclude her from the specialized LD schools we have looked at? Is there anything we can do to increase these scores over time?

Dana C , Edison, NJ

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Lisa Rappaport, Ph.D

Lisa Rappaport is a neuropsychologist, specializing in the treatment of children with LD, ADHD, and developmental disorders. She is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

When you say that your daughter’s IQ was in the low-average range, the first question to ask is, are there discrepancies among various index scores? Sometimes it is better to get a General Ability Index score because children with ADHD tend to do poorly on working memory tests and processing speed but better in the other areas. The General Ability Index score removes those subtests in the calculation.

To fully answer your question, I would need to see the standard score of each subtest plus the five index scores to see if she is really in the low-average range across the board. The problem may be in the interpretation. If your daughter is indeed in the low-average range, she would still be eligible for services if her reading level is below expectations for her overall ability, which it still might be. She might also still be accepted to a specialized school.

Finally, keep in mind that IQ is fluid and not fixed. There are ways to improve one’s IQ score depending upon her areas of weakness.

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