What is the best age for an IQ test?
This depends on why you want the test. The IQ tests are designed for the age of children taking the test, but there is some very old research evidence from 1973 that IQ scores may increase as the child gets older, and that tests may be more reliable when children are at least 6 years old. This research was carried out with the general population, so it did not examine whether the outcome held equally for gifted children (who are intellectually advanced, and therefore mentally older than their own chronological age). I have certainly tested very young children with very high IQs.
The WPPSI is designed for children aged 2.6 to 7.7 years. The publishers advise that a 6-year old child who is suspected of being gifted should do the WISC instead. The WISC is designed for children aged 6.0 to 16.0.
Here are some legitimate options about when to have the IQ test done:
Australian states and territories have a minimum age for school entry. In NSW, for example, it is 4.6 years. If you are concerned that your child is already ahead in a number of areas and are considering that the child should attend school earlier than the state or territory minimum age for school entry, you will need to provide evidence that your child is gifted. Part of that evidence would be the child’s measured IQ. You would therefore have to have your child tested before the minimum age for school entry with the WPPSI, so prior to or around 4 years of age. Note that NT and WA do not offer early entry to gifted children.
Advocacy or curiosity
If your child is already at school and complains that s/he is not learning anything new and plays up or has stopped trying, you have a couple of options, depending on the age of the child.
If the 5-year old is in his or her first year of school and you want to advocate for his or her educational needs to be met (or you are curious whether the child is gifted), you should have the child tested with a WPPSI so you can ask for immediate acceleration.
If you are already half way through the year, probably wait until 6 years of age so s/he can be tested with the WISC.
Should I send my child to a Steiner preschool or school
The big question for parents who find out that their child is gifted is where to send them for the best educational outcome. You may have heard that preschools or schools using the Steiner method could be the right place for your gifted child, especially if they are creative.
Steiner (1861-1925), who was born in Austria, based his educational ideas on his own spiritual philosophy (Anthroposophy). His methods were largely adopted in Northern Europe where children started school at 7. Although much has changed since his time, children in these countries still start school later than in Australia.
The reason schools commenced at age 7 is based on Steiner’s belief that children should not be set academic tasks such as learning to read before their first adult teeth appeared. The start of adult teeth in children occurred around 7 years of age in Steiner’s day. This, of course, happens much sooner now, with better nutrition, but the Steiner philosophy and practice has not changed accordingly. A gifted child who reads or wants to learn to read or write before this time may therefore not be a good ‘fit’ for a Steiner education.
Steiner posited that before the age of 7 children were in a physical phase of development. Mentally children were thought to be still partly in the spiritual realm (as they had rebirthed, one of Steiner’s beliefs). If you are uncomfortable with such spiritual beliefs then a Steiner education may not be a good fit for your family.
Activities encouraged before the age of 7include physical exploration and play, art and craft, eurhythmics (a special Steiner designed dance or movement activity), and listening to fairy tale stories. Children are provided with faceless dolls so that their imaginations can fill in the features. Wooden toys are used, and there is an emphasis on the use of natural elements, such as pebbles for their play. The use of computers and television are discouraged. Art and craft involves a repetitious diet of mainly wet paper water painting, and specific stitches sewn into hessian or similar fabric. A child who wants to explore other art forms may feel stifled at a Steiner preschool.
Once at school, Steiner teachers stay with the children for 7 years. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on whether the children and their parents get along with the teacher.
Steiner was a man of his time. He was racist and anti-Semitic. In his autobiography he states: “Beloved Christians, realize who are the enemies of the truth: it could be a Freemason or a Jew” (p 32). That attitude still prevails in some Steiner schools. I personally experienced a blatant anti-Semitic incident, my first and only, in one of these schools. More can be read about Steiner education at the following link:
I only want an IQ test. Why should I choose the package instead of just the IQ test?
The package is unique in the way the tests and assessments have been handpicked in order to provide a holistic snapshot of a child. Most packages do not include, for instance, assessment of children’s emotional quotient. Clever Kids Consultancy, however, has recognized the importance of this aspect in attaining a successful future, and has included such an assessment in the package.
The package provides you with your gifted child’s current
- IQ, or academic potential
- possible learning disabilities
- emotional intelligence and areas needing attention
- assessment of issues such as anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), consistent with the diagnostic categories of the American Psychiatric Association’s (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).
In addition to the above, we can also offer both reading and spelling assessments, depending on the child’s age and ability to read and write. These assessments can help support an IQ test result or pinpoint a learning difficulty.
The lengthy report received by parents lists results obtained on the day of the assessment. Each area is explained in terms of their significance, covering the child’s intellectual potential, educational requirements and emotional learning needs. Recommendations at the end of the report include educational suggestions and additional assessment requirements, where needed.
I had my child tested last year. How often can she be tested?
Once a child has had an IQ test, he should not be re-tested any earlier than 9 months after the first test, according to Sattler, a well respected expert. This is because children’s results can otherwise be boosted by what is known in the profession as ‘practice effect’, resulting in the child possibly remembering some of the questions, and getting a higher score due to that, rather than to the child’s true ability. Generally, psychologists prefer not to test again for a couple of years, and there is actually no reason to test again, unless you think that the first results were poor due to the child’s negative attitude on the day, due to a dislike of the tester, or unless there is a request from a school. In such a situation it is possible to administer a different IQ test earlier than the 9 months mentioned above (for example, WISC IV instead of Stanford Binet V), and ‘practice effect’ will therefore not be a major problem.
I have had my child tested, but don’t understand what the report means. What should I do, and how can I help my child.
I have sometimes been asked to look at a report written by another psychologist because the parent did not understand what the report meant in a practical sense. If you have a similar problem and you don’t feel you can go back to the initial psychologist, contact me and make an appointment for a single hour consultation.
Can an IQ test help identify a learning disorder?
An IQ test can indicate if your gifted child has a learning disorder. If that is the case we will advise you to have your child assessed further with a WAIS Australian achievement assessment. This assessment will help pinpoint if your child has a specific learning disorder in reading, writing, or mathematics. If reading is the problem we can also administer the Neal Analysis of Reading Ability to identify specific problems in your child’s reading. The fees for these diagnostic assessments are additional to the identification package and are only recommended where a specific learning disorder is suspected.
What is GLD? Can a child be gifted AND have a learning disorder?
Yes, that is quite possible. For example, a child can be verbally gifted but have a reading disorder (e.g. dyslexia).
Should I send my gifted preschooler to a Montessori preschool?
There are no particular methods or approaches that are better than others for gifted children. What young gifted children require more than anything else are meaningful relationships with adults and a stimulating and responsive program, and these are the key things you should be looking for if you intend to enroll your child at a preschool. Some parents prefer to send their child to very good local community preschools where children learn to socialise appropriately prior to school. Others choose alternative preschools attached to alternative schools that are conducted in the A.S. Neill/Tolstoy/Dewey style, based on a democratic individual and group approach. Others again choose a Rudolph Steiner Preschool believing that children should be given time to be dreamy and spiritual before any factual teaching takes place, or a Montessori Preschool where children are expected to master set tasks prior to being allowed to move on to new challenges. Finally, some parents prefer to keep the children at home, but send them to tutoring in particular subjects such as reading, mathematics and early childhood music. This latter option is useful if your child is precocious in one of these areas.
What can I do with my gifted preschooler, she is bored and I’m no longer sure that I am able to provide what she needs?
You sound like a fairly typical exhausted parent of a gifted child. Although you felt capable of helping your child before, you no longer feel sure how to proceed with the child, who is ever-hungrier for more and more experiences and information. Right?
Congratulations – whatever you have been doing has obviously worked really well, so why fix it?
- If the child is keen and eager to learn, then you have obviously been able to maintain the interest through providing the requisite amount and type of experiences and activities that have been neither too easy nor too difficult.
- You have not expected the child to perform for the sake of performing, and have instead provided encouragement that has propelled the child towards development and achievements.
- The child has amassed a large vocabulary, demonstrating that you have spent much time in direct dialogue and communication, discussing a variety of subjects with the child. A large and sophisticated vocabulary is a sign of giftedness.
The good news is that you do not need to be available to support the learning of the child all the time. The child should be able to self-direct at least part of the day, and cries of boredom can be coached to become an agent for creativity. What you may need, however, are a few pointers in how to continue a job already well done. Please contact me and make an appointment for a single hour consultation, and you should be on your way again!
I have a 2 year old and I think he is gifted. How old do children have to be before they can be tested?
The most ideal time to test children is between 4 and 9 years of age. However, we can administer an IQ test to a 2-year old, although the result may not be as reliable as after 4 years of age.
Are there different levels of giftedness?
Yes, there are five levels of giftedness: mild, moderate, high, exceptional and profound (Feldhusen, 1993).