Tuesday, April 3, 2012

IQ Schmy-Q or 'IQ is overrated'

It bothers me that services for adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario hinge on intelligence quotients (IQ) alone.

When we tried to get service at an agency that serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities, we were told that Ben's psych assessment from last year wasn't adequate because it didn't state IQ. Eligibility is restricted to those who score in the 2nd percentile or under in cognitive functioning.

Ben's assessment is a detailed, 10-page report documenting testing over multiple visits. It provides a very clear picture of Ben's strengths and needs. In fact, I showed it to a developmental pediatrician who said that a simple IQ score was meaningless in comparison to the depth and breadth of knowledge contained in the psych report.

But all the agency cared about was the percentile ranking. In fact, they said Ben would have to be tested AGAIN in order to get this quotient, before qualifying for service.

Ben's psych assessment last year took place at Holland Bloorview over four mornings. Instead of using the information contained in this document -- which our developmental pediatrician says is rich -- the agency wants my son to undergo more testing -- at the public's expense -- so they can pin him with an IQ.

Something is wrong when that kind of weight is placed on one test and one number -- particularly for a boy who can't speak -- and a detailed, timely report by an exceptional, well-respected psychologist is ignored.

This morning Susan Senator, author of Making Peace with Autism, posted a link on her blog to Autism and IQ, an interesting piece at theAutcast.com. Check it out!


I don't know where I read it, but somewhere "it" talked about the bs that is IQ testing, particularly for those with developmental disabilities. Why, why, why is everything so laden with obstacles?

I, for one, fear for Ben's health and safety in the years to come, as this is only the tip of the iceberg. Truth be told, "The majority of kids who walk through the doors of Holland Bloorview will be put at risk as adults." Parents of children with moderate and severe disabilities, as well as those who have cognitive imparments, cannot afford to be indifferent to this struggle.

Matt Kamaratakis

Hmmm. Didn't know IQ was a qualifier. As adults the system has changed and I'm not sure the intake includes and IQ test, as a matter of fact, I am sure it doesn't. Its more of a functional assessment. Jessie has never had an IQ test, altho she has had other standard tests, but only with psych. explaining what that meant for teaching and accommodations. WE've never used the psych report to access services, alth we've used functional assessments . . .

You are making very good points. Everyone should be concerned. There should be some way for the transition into adult services to be more seamless and one that builds on the assessment information from professionals and the knowledge of family members rather than there be a costly system created that only benefits those who administer it. Agencies should be in the business of servicing their clients in a timely and effective manner, not as paper pushers. I think your column could be sent to one of the papers like Carol Goar of the Toronto Star so that the important issues/questions you raise have a wider readership. There are probably many people who are perplexed or frustrated by this waste of dollars, time and gaps in service that result.