IQ/Working Memory/ADD?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DramaQueenLucy, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    My DS10 just finished with his evaluation for ADHD/ADD/something else?? He has been having melt downs every day after school. His teacher this year just doesn't seem to hold the class together like his teacher last year. It seems like whatever this is getting worse not I took DS for the evaluation in hopes it would help. Well last night he had a major meltdown...3 hours worth of meltdown. So I called the school today and said this isn't working, I am sick of being a punching bag, then I told them that I wanted to go over the results of the last Learning Disability (LD) testing. This is when they told me that DS has a working memory issue that is pretty bad I guess compared to his other scores. I don't know a thing about the test I was hoping that someone here would know one what this working memory thing is and 2 what these scores mean.

    Basic IQ 105
    Performance IQ 123
    PRI 112
    VCI 99
    WMI 77---this is the memory thing
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not sure what it means, but I would get other professionals involved to evaluate him, too. My son's neuropsychologist testing was helpful but wasn't his "end-all" answer. Mine has a mood disorder and his tests showed things like memory issues, some processing and organizational and planning issues. Other things were all across the board- like swiss cheese. when this happens, I think it means something is definietly going on, but it might take a neurologist, pyschiatrist, etc., to hone in on it, with the help of the test results and their own evaluation and the history that you contribute.

    I'm not an expert on this- others can give more advice. This is just my take on it.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I have a few questions that can help us help you. It can be a little slow on weekends.
    1/ Have you ever had a PRIVATE evaluation that has nothing to do with school, such as a neuropsychologist evaluation? Our results privately were so different and so much more intensive and explanatory that I highly recommend going outside of the school. School has it's own agenda. By the way, any discrepency of 20 pounts between Performance IQ and Verbal IQ is a problem, a serious learning disability that may mean a disorder not yet caught. Your child can perform better then he can understand--I'd definitely want the neuropsychologist for that.

    2/How was your child's early development as far as speech, eye contact, imaginative play, interaction with peers, play with toys, any strange behaviors or obsessions, problems with textures, food, noise or light?

    3/Any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of his biological genetic tree?

    It sounds like you have a bit of a start, but that nobody is sure why your child has these deficits. Is your child getting supports for these issues at school? A three hour rage is a LONG rage. I'd be looking at something beyond ADHD if this were my child.
  4. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    He just finished an independant psychiatric evaluation for his behavior issues. I am trying to get approval for the Learning Disability (LD) evaluation...but have to wait for the results of the first evaluation before the doctor can even put in for another one with the insurance company.
  5. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    This is the first evaluation that we have had but he was diagnosed with ADHD before by our family doctor. They prescribed Ritalin it didn't help. I then looked to the school for testing and the above is the schools reports. We just did a separate pysch evaluation for the behavior issues that includes psychiatric disorders...I am trying right now to get insurance approval for the Learning Disability (LD) testing by the same doctor then he can put it all together to get a full picture.

    He was always behind in fine motor skills and I was told he was developmentally 3-6 months. He acted normal except for the delays, good peer relationships, no strange behaviors, no issues with foods, noises or light.

    I think that his Father may have some psychiatric issues but I don't know what they are...DS shows some of the same signs like what his Father has, being behind other people his age emotionally and developmentally.
  6. terryboberry

    terryboberry New Member


    I can appreciate your frustration with getting test score results with no context. My 13 yo difficult child was diagnosed with ADHD in 5th grade and then suddenly hated school, had melt-downs and wouldn't do homework in 6th grade. The good news is the testing helped us identify the issues. I hope you are also helped by the test results.

    We got extensive testing and found out that difficult child in "very superior" range for verbal ability and "above average" in perceptual reasoning. However... he also had scored "borderline" (very, very low) in processing speed and below average in working memory. This may be your difficult child's situation.

    Depending on the test given you may be given standard scores and percentile ranks. For my son, it was the significant discrepancy between his abilities, and the ADHD, which caused the melt-downs. Of course he was frustrated! This may be the case with your son too!

    I wanted to know how poor Working Memory affects school performance. I found this site - It was helpful for me. It talks about the "Executive Functioning" deficits of many ADHD kids, including working memory.

    Good luck to you and your son. I hope your year gets better.

  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I think you have some of the terminology wrong. I assume you mean Full Scale IQ by "basic IQ." There's no such thing as "performance IQ" any longer (that was on the old IQ tests) so I think you mean Processing Speed Index. PRI is the Perceptual Reasoning Index, VCI is the Verbal Comprehension Index and WMI is the Working Memory Index. Because there is too much variability in your difficult child's Index scores, a full-scale IQ is not meaningful (a true indication of strengths and weaknesses) and should not have been computed.

    Working memory, a complicated function of both long- and short-term memory, is an important part of executive functions. Difficulties with working memory adversely affect a child's ability to work effectively and efficiently on academic tasks.

    Processing speed refers to how rapidly and efficiently a child is able to perform a mental operation and respond using pencil and paper. Your difficult child scored very high on this measure. What must be frustrating for him is that he can work rapidly and accurately, but his poor working memory does not allow him to hold the information in his head as he confronts the next task.

    There is more info about IQ tests and Special Education supports on the website

    Children with ADHD do tend to have low working memory scores. However, kids with other disorders such as anxiety and mood disorders can also have low working memory scores.

    IQ tests are not diagnostic in and of themselves. Your difficult child would have to undergo a whole lot more testing, preferably by a neuropsychologist, to really explain what's going on. I'd strongly reocommend that you pursue this type of evaluation.

    Good luck.
  8. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    I wasn't sure about the first IQ thing but am sure that the second one they did tell me was performance...I had my pen and pad by
  9. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    Thanks I am going to look in to a neuropsychologist but we have state insurance so it is limited. They already don't want to pay for the Learning Disability (LD) testing by the doctor they told me to go through the school for that. The doctor is fighting with them to get himn the testing.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My younger daughter just went through IQ testing this summer, and I have her report in front of me as I'm typing this. In the WISC-IV, the most common IQ test given, there are 4 index scores that make up the Full Scale IQ score: Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI), Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI), Working Memory Index (WMI) and Processing Speed Index (PSI). There is no Performance IQ. That was part of the WISC-III, which is no longer in use. You should call on Monday to clarify his scores because it does make a difference in understanding his cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
  11. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    I have asked for a copy of all the testing to give to the doctor. I am now looking at trying to find a neuropsychology doctor/clinic something in my area.

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Try a children's hospital or teaching hospital/university near you. You need a neuropsychologist or a psychologist with a PhD who is trained to give neuropsychological testing. It might help to do a little research online first, since it can be awkward to ask that forthright on the phone!!
  13. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    I am in the Tulsa, OK area....we have 2 collages and a childrens hospital. I will look there for some help.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    State insurance, which we also have, is usually accepted by University Hospitals and sometimes children's hospitals. They are both in my opinion excellent places to find NeuroPsychs. The waiting lists are long because neuropsychologist evaluations are really good.
    Hope you can get in!
  15. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Smallworld gave a really good explanation of the test measures.

    I do want to say that when you deal with a child who may have an Learning Disability (LD), the scores are not as indicative of things as when you are dealing with a non-Learning Disability (LD) child of whatever level of intelligence. When you add ADD to the mix, it skews the scores even more. Have you tried Adderall? Ritalin did not work for my ADD boy, but Adderall has.

    My Learning Disability (LD) son (pure dyslexia) tests low on IQ, etc. compared to his sibs. Even ODD boy tests at near 140, while Learning Disability (LD) boy has a full scale of 107. We were told early on to completely disregard his IQ score as it bears very little relationship to his actual intelligence. He is not as quick in math as ODD boy, but has much better inter-personal skills and is as good at history and science.

    That said, on the WISC-IV his numbers were similar to your son (he is now 12 but was almost 10 when tested). He had Full Scale or basic of 107, VCI of 119 (his vocab skills are in the 99th %ile, even when he couldn't read), PRI is 108 and working memory 107. His processing speed is the biggest issue, but not unexpected with Learning Disability (LD) and is 78. To me, it appears to me that your son does have some type of Learning Disability (LD). None of my other kids is Learning Disability (LD) and none of them have a testing profile like this one's.

    When he was younger, we would let him use a tape recorder for his HW so he could just blurt his ideas down before he forgot them! He thinks way faster than he writes or keyboards.

    Some Learning Disability (LD) kids act out because they are frustrated over the discrepancy in their lives. They KNOW they are smart, but they can't produce in the way school wants them to. My son used to cry because kids who were nowhere near as smart as him were reading and he couldn't yet. Fortunately, he has terrific people skills and most of his classmates adored him and would defend him when other kids teased him about his poor reading and writing. We had him in counseling but stopped when he left public school.

    We now have him in a private Learning Disability (LD) school (school district paying, VERY long story) and he is at the top of the heap, which helps his self-esteem. It also helps that he is being taught in a way that he can learn in.

    My son is lucky in that he has no co-morbid behavioral issues which can complicate the diagnosis and the help you get. Don't let them categorize him as ED unless there is no other way. ODD boy is ED but that's because he has no Learning Disability (LD)'s (other than anxiety masquerading as perfectionism which impedes his writing; after much fighting, I got him a diagnosis of "Disorder of Written Expression" which since it appears in the DSM-IVR is actually an ED diagnosis).

    In any event, keep pushing. Sometimes, the teaching schools will have grad students do evaluations (under supervision) so they can get training in administering and scoring the tests) and the charge is alot less. We got one of those for our kids to see if it was in the same neighborhood as the school's testing and since it was we opted not to spend the thousands that 5 sets of private testing would cost.

    Make sure that you get the FULL report, with all sub-tests. Those often show the issues more clearly than the full scale does. A wide discrepancy in sub-tests is clinically significant. For instance, my daughter has a 42 point discrepancy between PIQ and VIQ (old tests used as she's now 16). All they told us was her full scale which was in the gifted range. It was not until I got the sub-tests that I realized WHY a kid with her IQ sucked at math and that she wasn't just lazy.

    Wright's law website has an excellent section on deciphering and interpreting the scores. I never go to a CSE without having run my child's report through that first.

    Good luck to you.
  16. terryboberry

    terryboberry New Member

    Sveng Thank you for the Wright's Law referral to look at testing scores. I overlooked that resource. I'm going there after this post :D

    Smallworld and others described the testing results well. Thorough testing (outside of the school) is the best. However, our public school would not accept our private testing results. My 13 yo difficult child comprehensive testing through a well respected children's hospital. We had several days of testing and interviewing. Many psychoeducational tests were taken including the WISC-IV, Woodcock-Johnson, TOWL. We also had complete personality assessment.

    My son had a VCI (verbal) standard score of 134 and PSC (processing speed) of 80. He has a 54 point spread between them - very significant discrepancy. Large enough that the doctor's said that the full scale IQ should not be considered. Our public middle school would not consider him Learning Disability (LD) because his full scale IQ was above average and he was on the B honor roll.

    The fact that he loved school and had no problems until middle school was an issue to us. He was depressed, cutting his arms and thighs, hiding under the covers and refused to go to school and had huge melt-downs at home, quit sports and lost friends. The school saw all these symptoms as ADHD and depression.

    I think he was frustrated as HExx !! In middle school he had to be much more organized, take notes, record math calculation/formulas, and write, write , write. He could verbally express what he learned - but if he talked too much in class, because of his ADHD he was considered disruptive. If he was told to be quiet, and write what he learned..... he melted down and gave up!! It's no wonder he got an additional ODD diagnosis - what 13 year old boy in this situation wouldn't be a bit oppositional :angry-very:He ended up with two p-hospital in 4 months.

    Finally we brought our sad, ego-bruised, heart broken boy to a small arts focused charter school. They looked at our whole child as well as his diagnosis labels - ADHD, ODD and "disorder of written expression", and depression.
    There he can use the Alphasmart instead of paper/pencil, a voice recorder, take breaks, and show what he learns through verbal presentations more often than writing papers.

    I apologize for the long vent. I'm a little anxious about school starting again.... and alot of words just poured out. DramaQueenLisa your post brought it all back - hang in there and know that there are more ways to be people, than there are diagnoses.

  17. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    First I want to thank everyone for the many responses to my post. I had been feeling alone, scared, like a bad parent and didn't know what way to turn. So thank you for helping me to feel like I can get through this and that I am not alone. I am going to follow up on the information that you all have given me. I have the links to the medical collages in the area, as well as the children's hospital, saved in my I can call on Monday. Thanks to you I know what my sweat-pea needs a full report, with all sub-tests done by a neuropsychologist. That gives me some comfort....just knowing where to go to find the help. I had been running from the school, md, therapist & psychologist for far to long and was getting no where.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I wish to make it clear - I am not a psychologist, I am speaking from knowledge gleaned as a parent (and in the past, frequent subject of IQ tests).

    Just so I don't have to keep flicking back up to the top of the page - here are the scores you posted.

    "Basic IQ 105
    Performance IQ 123
    PRI 112
    VCI 99
    WMI 77---this is the memory thing"

    Sveng said it, I'll say it too - IQ tests are not good at testing kids with learning problems.

    When IQ tests were developed, they tested a wide range of people/kids who would have all been considered "normal" by the standards of the day. And think about it - anybody who was particularly slow, or different, would probably have not been in school or would have been in an institution.

    Once they had amassed data from the wide range of subjects, the ranges would have been charted and at some point (usually based on Standard Deviation) the lines would have been drawn as to what constitutes "normal". We talk about kids being in the "top 5%" or "bottom 30%" of the population, and often these stats are based on these old results which are, frankly, badly skewed in favour of Western, white, Anglo kids with no or minimal learning problems. To then apply these tests and results to a kid with learning problems - you have to keep this in mind if you are to get valid and useful information from the process.

    One thing I feel SHOULD NOT be done - is to average out the test results and give a kid an IQ score, when the discrepancies are just too wide.

    As you can see from the results, IQ testing is complex and consists of a number of different tests, each working on a different area of function. Kids with learning problems of various kinds - these tests can be very useful because they can pinpoint exactly where the child has problems, which then can be used to help them in these deficit areas.

    The trouble is, this isn't always what happens. A problem I've had when my kids were assessed by the school district - they averaged out the sub-scores and then declared that not only was the child not bright enough to warrant extension in what I considered skill areas, the child was considered by the school to be doing well enough "for a kid with that IQ score".
    difficult child 3 was the most recent kid this happened to - we had actually taken part in a research project through the uni which was testing kids with a diagnosis of autism in order to see which sub-score areas these kids were consistently scoring significantly lower. I gave a copy of this testing and the report to the school. So there had been no need to re-test difficult child 3 by the school six months later, especially since it was done without my knowledge (or permission). The school counsellor gave me the report which was very brief. Her verbal summary was, "You must be so proud of him, he's got an IQ of 115 so he's brighter than average. And for an IQ like that, he's really doing well especially in maths and science. It's not as if he's a genius, you shouldn't have your expectations too high. And it's good that he won't be feeling as frustrated as we thought."

    I checked her sub-scores for difficult child 3 - he had scored very high in most areas but in the deficit areas his scores were so low that when all of the scores were averaged, it brought the overall result down a long way. The highest score was about 18, the lowest was 5.
    I looked up the rules for analysing these tests and found a strict injunction - when testing on a child produced wide variations in sub-scores then they should not be averaged out since this will give a false low impression of the child's IQ.

    difficult child 3 had, six months earlier, been given a conservative IQ score of about 145. I was also given a list of his problem areas with suggestions to support him and help him overcome the problems in these areas.

    If IQ tests have ANY validity, it shouldn't be possible to get a higher IQ score than you're capable of, in any sub-test. Of course it's possible to get a lower score - you could deliberately fail a test, for example, or be having a difficult day and not be able to concentrate. But a child tested on their absolutely best day of all still can't get a higher score than they are capable of.

    So this means that if you look at the highest score a child has got in any sub-test, this is likely to be an indication of what the child should be able to do across the board, were it not for the learning problem.

    Where there are wide differences between sub-scores for a child in an IQ test, the school can either identify the child as having no problem, or as being both gifted and learning disabled.
    The trouble with the latter - the school has now identified a child who needs help in two disparate areas, therefore the school must now strive to meet the needs of this child. Not easy. Not cheap. Much cheaper to average it all out and say, "No problem. Just discipline. Therefore - parenting problem."

    A child shouldn't be tested too often, either, or you end up with a child who is very skilled at taking IQ tests. Again, this can give you false results.
    We bought a software package (it came as a 'freebie' with some educational software) which screamed on the packaging, "Boost your IQ!"
    We all had a go with it. The software was a multiple choice quiz of a few hundred problems randomly chosen from a database of about a thousand problems. The software kept records of who was doing the test, when, and what the previous scores were for that person.
    I did the test over and over. By about the fifth time I had raised my IQ score from about 130 to 200 - the highest possible score.

    I'm not that smart. I don't believe the software package increased my intelligence. What it DID do - it trained me to get the answers right.

    We actually did for difficult child 1 what I suggest for you - send the detailed test scores to someone private. What happened with difficult child 1 - the low scores in areas of concern were the focus, the private expert then did more tests specifically to identify in more detail what the problem might be. It was very helpful indeed. Also a lot cheaper than getting the private person to have done the lot in the first place.

    The scores you have given here are themselves each an average. There must exist, somewhere, the finer detail. They may not release it to you, but if you can see if they will send detailed testing scores to a private psychologist of your choice. There should be nothing wrong with the actual testing process itself; it's the analysis where you need a keener eye.

    You've got "performance IQ 123" but "Basic IQ 105". I fail to see how a child could be performing ABOVE his capability. And the working memory thing of 77 I think shows clearly the problem he has in actual, practical function. It tells me (remember, I'm a lay person) that your child is brighter than average, within the top 10% of the population, but has considerable difficulty manipulating information in his head. This will mean that he will have difficulty following complex verbal instructions, will have trouble taking notes in class, will only be able to copy notes a few words at a time (less than other kids), will need to be told things over and over, will have trouble with writing tasks. There ARE ways to manage this - we taught difficult child 1 to use mind maps (aka clustering) and to write instructions down and follow written lists. He uses his long-term memory to compensate and over the years has adapted.

    Your son's scores are very similar to difficult child 1's. He has (currently) a diagnosis of ADHD plus Asperger's Syndrome. He only had ADHD as a diagnosis until he was 15. It never explained everything.

    Taking stims helped difficult child 1 a lot, but never enough. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has a similar (milder) memory problem, a low dose of stims almost eliminates it for her.

    We tried a lot of things with difficult child 1 that didn't work. We also found some things that worked brilliantly. He is still a work in progress. If there is anything I can do, or share with you, that you feel could help your son - just ask.

  19. Cindijh

    Cindijh New Member

    THANKS for the link to this site. I only skimmed it but I can see it has a lot of great info. Have you read the book promoted on the site??

  20. Cindijh

    Cindijh New Member

    This site too!!! Thank you. Can you guide me to the section on deciphering the scores and how to "run" the report through? difficult child had neuropsychologist testing done last week and we are getting the results sometime this week. She was also tested for ADD and personality testing. This thread is very helpful (although I haven't gotten any farther than this post and will have to read after work)

    Sig coming...really....promise....