Intelligence Testing for children with Asperger's Syndrome
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son, who is 8, was just diagnosed with having Aspergers
syndrome. He was originally diagnosed with ADHD, but he has
always been a very smart boy. He is very interested in
astronomy, and science. Is there anyway to test an IQ
without taking a written test? He does not like to sit and
work, he likes to communicate verbally. Also, my daughter
just turned 6, and can read at an almost 2nd grade level.
What are some of the things that a normal 6 year old in
Kindergarten should be learning? I am just curious if she is
advanced or not.
A: Most certainly, there are
verbal intelligence tests that cater for such needs. Broadly
speaking, individuals with Asperger's syndrome have normal
or above average intellectual capacity, and atypical or
poorly developed social skills, often with emotional/social
development or integration happening later than usual as a
result. It is quite common to find children with Asperger's
syndrome to show a learning style that has been
characterized as the "Nonverbal Learning Disorders
Syndrome." These children do not appear to have a sense of
perspective, or a sense of patterns and relationships. They
find it rather hard to assemble, construct, organize, or
reproduce patterns, and may not grasp the "big picture" or
pick out the key points in conversations, social situations,
visual puzzles, or verbal stories. This is why children with
Asperger's syndrome fair better in verbal tests and they
should be considered verbal learners who need explicit, step
by step descriptions and explanations. An educational
psychologist will be best able to advice you on means to
measure your son's IQ. Three books that may prove helpful
Dr. Deirdre Lovecky's book, "
Different Minds: Gifted Children With AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning
Deficits" (Jessica Kingsley Pub, Mar 2004)
Sue Thompson's "
The Sourcebook for Nonverbal Learning Disability
" (available from LinguiSystems, 3100 4th Avenue,
East Moline, IL 61244-9700, 1-800-776 4332; 1-309-755 2300).
Deborah Green's book, "
Growing Up with NVLD" (1999)
available from Silicon Heights Publishers (SKU # DL0827,
1-800-654-6623 or via the internet at www.siliconheights.com/catalog/nld.html).
For your daughter, she is certainly advanced if she is
reading at 2nd grade level for her age group. It does not
matter what she should be learning based on normal learning
for a 6-year old; what is important is that since she is
advanced in her reading, you may want to provide more
materials with a gradual upgrade. If she is in kindergarten,
you may want to speak with her teachers and they may be able
to advice you on appropriate materials. Make sure that she
is given challenging materials so as not to bore her with
very simple reading materials.