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Appropriate Age for IQ Testing

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a 4 years old son who sometimes seems very intelligence yet sometimes seems very slow. He has very specific interest in construction equipment. He reads, observes and studies them. He can name almost all the construction machines and explain the differences between one to the other. He can play 100 pieces of puzzle and able to swim 5 meters when just turn 3. Now he is playing LEGO that was designed for age of 7. He has excellent memory, senses of directions and imaginations. For example, one moment a rope could be his fire hoses and the next moment he is using it as construction yellow tape marking his territory.

He doesn't like cartoons or any fairytale stories like most of his age of kids do, he doesn't like drawing or coloring, either. His speech and language is a mess - he didn't start talking till he is 28 months old. We speak mandarin at home. He speaks English and takes French lessons in school. So when he talks it is all mixed up. (His teacher doesn't agree with me, so I guess he does better in a pure English environment). I wish to have my son tested and would like to find out from you the best age of doing an IQ test. Especially on immigrate kids like my son. Your feedbacks and advises are highly appreciated.

A: Your little boy certainly does sound quite bright. At 4 years of age, it may be quite early for any formal evaluation on IQ. Perhaps, you may want to wait another year or so. It is generally recommended that IQ testing for gifted children be done between age 5 and 12. Beyond 12, even the moderately gifted child is likely to encounter test ceiling effects. For the highly or profoundly gifted child, ceiling effects are in place on many measures which may begin as young as 8 (including the supplemental Stanford-Binet L-M). Research shows that for the average child, IQ test scores are reliable around age 8.

It's perfectly fine to talk all mixed up, he will learn slowly but surely as he has proven at school. Children pick up languages very easily so he is just demonstrating what he has learnt. He will surely speak better English in a pure English environment and perhaps that is provided at school. At home, he shifts languages and interference from a second/third language is bound to happen; but this will soon get better as he matures.

To keep him stimulated, you must try to make sure he has lots of books, opportunity for word play with games, and building toys for his mechanical skills. It looks like you are on the right track so keep up the good work. Best wishes to both of you.


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