Thursday, March 13, 2008
I.Q. tests are not always well understood

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I was watching a rerun of Family Feud last night. The final fast money round had a question about IQ. The question was "what did 100 people say their IQ was". The two contestants gave answers of 160 and 350. The most common answer among the people surveyed was 120. It was obvious from the answers that most people do not really understand IQ testing. Intelligence quotient (IQ) is supposed to measure what the overall intelligence level of an individual is. The IQ tests are studied on many people before use. This is to ensure that they are as accurate as possible. Unfortunately all tests have limitations. Therefore, an IQ test gives a pretty good estimate of intelligence most of the time. However, it is not perfect. The focus of the questions on an IQ test is similar to the information learned in the average school classroom. Therefore, IQ test results are pretty good predictors of how well a child will learn in the average classroom in this country. IQ test scores have the value of 100 set as the exact average of the population. Therefore, half of the population would be above 100. Half of them would be below 100. If the audience surveyed by Family Feud was honest, the most common answer should have been 100. Instead it was 120. That is OK. People have a tendency to overestimate their intelligence when asked. Bumping it up 20 points is understandable. While 100 is the exact average number, there is a larger group of scores that make up the average range. Thus, we consider anyone with a score of 90 - 110 to be average. Those individuals should have no trouble learning in the classroom. Individuals with scores from 110 to125 are classified as above average. They could go faster than the average classroom pace. The result is that parents of these children must think about ways to challenge them. They should give them additional opportunities to learn things. That might mean taking them to museums. It might mean buying them educational games. It might mean having them read extra books. Individuals with scores between 125 and 140 fall into the gifted range. The challenges for their parents are even greater. Only a small group of the population has IQ scores above 140. These individuals are in the near genius and genius categories. They tend to learn everything in sight. They usually will do much of this on their own. There is a group named MENSA that requires an IQ of 140 for admission. Individuals with scores of 70 to 90 are below average. This usually means that things in the average classroom move a little too fast for them. They will usually require some extra help from their parents or a tutor to help them keep up with class work. Individuals with scores in the 70's will usually get extra help in the school. This may be in the form of special education. It may be in the form of having an extra teacher in the classroom to help them. Individuals below 70 fall into what is now called the mentally disabled group. This used to be referred to as mental retardation. That term has fallen into disfavor. There are four categories of mental disability. They are based on IQ scores. The highest performing group has scores of 55 to 70. This group will be expected to perform at 55 to 70% of their grade level. Thus by 12th grade, they will be somewhere between grade 6.6 (55%) and 8.4 (70%). Reading newspapers is a 5th grade skill. Balancing checkbooks is a 5th grade skill. They can be educated to that level. Thus they are called educable mentally disabled. Those individuals with scores between 40 and 55 will only learn to between grade 4.8 (40%) and 6.6 (55%). For this reason, they will have problems with reading and math. They can be trained to do things like provide care. They can be trained to cook. They can be trained to do other activities of daily living. This group is known as the trainable mentally disabled. Those individuals with scores between 30 and 40 will not reach the level of being able to care for themselves. When they reach 18 years of age they will only be at 30 - 40% of that. Thus they will act like a 5.4 (30%) to 7.2 (40%) year old. They will need to be cared for throughout their life. This group is known as severe mental disability. Individuals with IQ scores under 30 are classified as profound mentally disabled. They will reach 5 years of age in ability at best. They will need full time caregivers.

The important thing to remember is that these numbers are only approximate indications of expectations. There are people that perform better than their IQ score. There are people that do worse. What is most important is for every parent to provide their children with an environment that is going to allow them to reach their maximum potential. As is true with every job a parent has, this is a real challenge. The average Family Feud contestant does not understand IQ scores and their meaning. However, the average parent should be able to understand how important he/she is to the intellectual development of his/her child. That is true regardless of what their IQ score really is.

Look-In Glass Shoppe
The Look-In Glass Shoppe of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be having a "Hop Into Spring Sale" on Thursday, March 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pick an egg from the Easter Basket and get a discount from 5 percent to 50 percent off entire stock of Easter and Spring merchandise. Discounts exclude books, candy, live flowers and cards. Payroll deduction available for NHS employees. All proceeds from the Look-In Glass Shoppe benefit Nanticoke Health Services.

Caregivers Diabetes Program
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford will provide a Caregivers Diabetes Education Program on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Call JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) 302-888-1117 to register or fax 302-741-8602.

Del Tech offers first aid
Parents, teachers, coaches, and day care providers can increase their caregiving and safety skills with courses in pediatric first aid, basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at Delaware Tech, Owens Campus. Pediatric First Aid covers managing pediatric emergencies including: insect bites, convulsions, burns, poisoning, drowning, fractures, sprains and bleeding. This two-session course is approved by the Office of Child Care Licensing. Participants must attend both sessions to receive a three-year course completion certificate. For those whose jobs require certification of CPR and basic first aid skills, the college offers courses that teach adult (one-rescuer) CPR and relief of foreign body airway obstruction as well as hands-on skills for quick response in medical emergencies and first aid situations. Those who pass the written exam earn a two-year course completion card. The Pediatric First Aid courses will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 7 and 9. CPR & Basic First Aid is a one-session class and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 14, March 29 and April 23. For more information, contact Delaware Tech's Corporate and Community Programs at 854-6966.

Depression support group in Laurel
The Mental health Association in Delaware will be sponsoring a Depression Support Group in Laurel on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. The MHA encourages anyone dealing with a depressive disorder to attend. Register in advance by calling 1-800-287-6423. Peer support groups sponsored by Mental Health Association of Delaware are not intended to replace professional mental health treatment. MHA does not publish support group locations; locations are provided with registration.

A JDRF Downstate Diabetes Forum
A JDRF Downstate Diabetes Resource Forum will be held Saturday, April 5 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Community Christian Church, 6400 Culver Road, Salisbury. Guest speakers will be Dr. Gerard Kuhn, M.D. and Vic Pelletier. Dr. Kuhn is a parent of a Type 1 daughter. A pediatrician, Dr. Kuhn will speak about JDRF's research. Pelletier lived for 30 years with Type 1 Diabetes and was the recipient of a new pancreas three years ago. He will speak about living with diabetes for 30 years and his life being diabetes free. The event is hosted by Sondra Messick of Seaford and Robyn Wilson of Ocean City. RSVP to Messick at 302-629-8210.