Lower IQ in Autism does not mean low intellegence

2012-09-06 14.41.08

I have always been in the belief that just because you have a lower IQ DOES NOT mean that you have low intelligence. I still believe that with all my heart.

It is good to know that I am not the only one that believes this way.

High “intelligence,” low “IQ”? Speed of processing and measured IQ in children with autism K Steffen, F Happen, M Anderson, U Frith
Article 83-90

Abstract: The uneven profile of performance on standard assessments of intelligence and the high incidence of savant skills have prompted interest in the nature of intelligence in autism. The present paper reports the first group study of speed of processing in children with autism (IQ 1 SD below average) using an inspection time task. The children with autism showed inspection times as fast as an age-matched group of young normally developing children (IQ 1 SD above average). They were also significantly faster than mentally handicapped children without autism of the same age, even when these groups were pair wise matched on Wechsler IQ. To the extent that IT tasks tap individual differences in basic processing efficiency, children with autism in this study appear to have preserved information processing capacity despite poor measured IQ. These findings have implications for the role of general and specific cognitive systems in knowledge and skill acquisition: far from showing that children with autism are unimpaired, we suggest that our data may demonstrate the vital role of social insight in the development of manifest “intelligence”.

So lately when school professionals start filling me in on THE SYNDROME OF MENTAL RETARDATION I’m not having it. This abstract is going to be helpful in such conversations, too, since it shows speedy processing in our kids–something I wouldn’t actually have guessed. (I do know that speed-of-processing has been shown to be directly related to IQ. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN PRESENTS devoted an issue to IQ a while back, and speed of processing was one of the issues discussed.)

A few years ago, Annette Estes was recruiting children with autism for a study relating intelligence quotient (IQ) scores to academic achievement. Among the recruits, Estes recalls, was a child who was excluded from the study both because she was non-verbal and because she acted out severely during the interview.

“When we were finished, she drew a rainbow, which she labeled ‘My rainbow’ and then began trading messages with her mom about going to McDonald’s,” recalls Estes, who is research assistant professor of speech and hearing sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We couldn’t assess her reading skills in the way you need to do for a study like this, but she was clearly able to read and write.”

Children like this are unlikely to be included in cognitive and behavioral studies that focus increasingly on ‘high-functioning’ individuals with autism. Most studies define high-functioning children as those with an IQ above 70 or 80, but this is problematic for a number of reasons, say some scientists.

Researchers don’t all use the same test to measure intelligence, for one thing, and even when they do, IQ thresholds often vary among studies.

Sarah is diagnosed as high-functioning, but her IQ is below 70. She is very verbal and takes care of herself hygenically. She has no problem with her creativeness and she can manipulate things in her favor very fast.

I think that IQ tests are very overrated. Sarah has very high intelligence. Her cognitive skills are a little slow, but very precise. She does not have many friends, but that is her choice.

I urge parents, that if they get a diagnosis that their child with Autism has mental retardation (or low IQ), it does not mean that they are not smart. Believe me they are smart, just not in the ways you might think.



3 thoughts on “Lower IQ in Autism does not mean low intellegence

  1. Pingback: Lower IQ in Autism does not mean low intellegence | Sarah's Voice

  2. Well, I’ve always been convinced that people with ASD are brilliantly smart, it’s just that they don’t/can’t communicate it in a way that most NTs can understand or recognise.

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