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IQ Testing for Child with Dyspraxia

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: 1) I was wondering what IQ test could accurately predict IQ for a child who has very poor fine motor handwriting skills due to Developmental coordination disorder (also known as Dyspraxia) which makes forming letters very difficult and labored? Also has some sensory related issues, i.e. Noises, and lights, bother him). Reads at middle school level. Very smart, but handwriting makes things difficult.

2.) He is 9.5 and is in fourth grade. (Summer birthday- makes him the youngest in his class). I am assuming the test goes by age level and not grade level. Is this correct?

A: According to the Dyspraxia Foundation (UK), Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organization of movement. Associated with this there may be problems of language, perception and thought. Developmental Dyspraxia or 'Developmental Co-ordination Disorder is used to describe youngsters who have co-ordination difficulties and who also show significant perceptual problems.

It appears that children with Dyspraxia may be able children with bright enquiring minds. However, listening to instructions and remembering them is very difficult, so children with dyspraxia may require a high level of verbal feedback to help with retaining the information. Dyspraxia can also affect language and speech development, as manipulation of the mouth requires fine motor coordination. As a child develops, language becomes increasingly more complex and the rapid sequencing of the tongue and jaw must also be coordinated with breathing. Dyspraxia compromises language skills, which in turn impacts on academic, social and emotional development. This often, but not always, occurs alongside general motor difficulties.

In terms of assessing a child with dyspraxia, it involves detailed interview with parents/care-givers along with directly testing the child's ability to execute actions. Therefore, standardized screening tools and assessments for identifying paediatric motor disorders would be necessary. A cognitive test is also necessary to see the scatter of scores. Since he has been diagnosed, any standardised IQ test would be fine – but the examiner needs to understand his background when preparing the report to be able to come up with a sound recommendation. The scores would be scattered in areas he is good and weak at. In any case, for such cases overall IQ score should not be used to determine eligibility into any program – the individual score breakdown is crucial.

Yes, standardised tests go based on the age of the child and NOT grade at all. For instance the Wechsler's scale goes by quarterly age group.

Hope the information is helpful. All the best in your journey.


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