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Meaning of IQ Scores

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My Son underwent and IQ Test And I was told his score was 74. What does this mean ? I was also told they really want to do a full psychological exam on him but insurance will not pay for it.

A: Below is a guide to classify IQ limits (intellectual ability), however, the borders may be blurred (very marginally though) and depends on the latest guide (the DSM V). Your son comes under the borderline range and may need special services to help him in school.

Classification IQ Limits
Very Superior 130 and over
Superior 120-129
Above Average 111-119
Average 91-110
Below Average 80-90
Borderline/Cognitively Impaired 66-79
Defective 65 and below

Based on the latest guide for intellectually disability (DSM V), an IQ score is not given utmost importance to ensure special services for the child. However, it is expected that IQ or similar standardised test scores be included in an individual's assessment. In DSM-5, intellectual disability is considered to be approximately two standard deviations or more below the population, which equals an IQ score of about 70 or below. In your son's case, more tests may need to be done for him to be eligible for the services; but probably for this more tests are required and they may cost quite a bit. The school should be able to explain exactly what they mean.

However, you may be able to push for services since the assessment should be based across three domains (conceptual, social, and practical). This will ensure that clinicians base their diagnosis on the impact of the deficit in general mental. This is especially important in the development of a treatment plan that includes education. Do speak to the school to get help to do a full evaluation to ensure your son gets the help he needs. There has to be a way to get him help if you can't afford it.

Wishing you all the best.


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