Relative Intelligence

Many parents of children with autism have difficulties accepting their children’s low scores on intelligence tests. Sometimes they hope that a different test might paint a “better”picture of their son’s or daughter’s abilities. For instance, if the parents attribute low quotient to the child’s lack of language they might insist on tests that eliminate or reduce verbal components.

I have to state, that I am not sure if there is an IQ test that doesn’t  involve language.These doubts are born from my increasing uncertainty of what language is. For instance: visual patterns, visual sequencing – how do they relate to language?

Although those “non-verbal” tests might not increase IQs, the parents are right when they reject abysmal scores as an indicator of child’s abilities.  Yet, the scores don’t lie either. What they, however, do is to measure the depth of a chasm dividing tester representing society at large and a child with autism (disability). They measure the disconnect of the two worlds.

And that is NOT an indicator of a child’s abilities but it is an indicator of how the society views the child.

Now we enter a tricky part. The way the society perceives the child’s abilities DOES affect that child’s performance and so the low IQ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I still cannot forget my son’s teacher in a school year 2009/2010 (I won’t mention her name.) who after learning about  low results of the neuropsychological testing, stopped teaching my son altogether.  From that time on she was giving him only packets of word searches.  She placed him in a separate desk and demanded that he worked alone on those while she was busy with other students or.her computer.  To make matter worse, she didn’t allow my son’s aid to teach him either!.  I think she didn’t see the point.

I had to add the sentence about the classroom teacher not allowing the aid to work with my son.  I know it doesn’t add to the chain of arguments, but the pain this teacher caused doesn’t go away.  She wasted many months of my son’s life.  She caused him to regress and she caused me a great distress as I watched helplessly my son’ s confusion. 

Since those low scores came in, every IEP started with description of my son’s skills  with the strong emphasis on their  extremely low “negligible” level..  For every teacher after this test, that description became an excuse not to teach my son.

And yet at the same time when at school  Robert  was expelled to the separate desk with packets of word searches, at home he was learning to find common denominators, to read various graphs, to count elapsed time, to find times in different time zones and much more.  He was learning at home while wasting his time at school.

I cannot help but wonder, how much more he would know today had he been taught at school at least half as intensively as he was at home.


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