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ADHD Test: Intelligence Test

Although children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are often the class's troublemakers or the ones with the lowest grades, the disorder in no way determines a child's level of intelligence.  In fact, many people with ADHD are innovative, resourceful individuals with the ability to come up with more creative solutions than those without ADHD.  Most children with ADHD have average or above-average scores on IQ testing. It is their inability to concentrate and sustain focus that makes it difficult for children with ADHD to apply the knowledge they have or to focus during problem-solving tasks.  In other words, the design and structure of most standardized tests does not reflect the innate intelligence and ability of children with ADHD.

Because of this, standardized tests are not often used to evaluate children with ADHD. When ADHD specialists do use standardized tests, they come in the form of achievement tests, which are designed to measure the child's level of academic functioning. Although intelligence does play a role in completing these tests, achievement tests are designed to measure the functioning ability of children with ADHD, and not IQ per se.  During analysis, these test results are also combined with other neurological exams to obtain a better picture of the child's intellectual functioning. Below are some of the achievement tests used by specialists to assess children with ADHD.

Woodcock-Johnson III

The Woodcock-Johnson II can be taken by anyone ages 2 to 90, in order to measure general intellectual ability, scholastic aptitude, cognitive ability, and academic achievement. This test has several advantages.  First, it is not timed, so the child does not feel pressured to work quickly. The test is also primarily visual and verbal, reducing errors caused by reading and making it friendly to children who have reading disabilities. The test can be taken over an extended time period, which means that children with ADHD Inattentive Type can take it.  Finally, the test also points out the child's strengths, learning style, and aptitude in academic areas.

The Weschler Intelligence Scale (WISC)

The Weschler Intelligence Scale was developed in 1949 and is the most commonly used intelligence test.  The WISC evaluates verbal skills and performance skills to assess factual knowledge, logical thinking, spatial skills, and mathematical ability. Although this test is not used to diagnose ADHD per se, it is very helpful in determining whether or not a child has a learning disability.  The combined scores of the verbal and performance tests are used to arrive at the Weschler IQ score, which is then compared with average IQ scores.

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)

This test was designed by the same researchers who developed the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. This allows testers to make comparisons between the WIAT and the IQ test, which makes discrepancies and the presence of learning disabilities easier to detect.  WIAT test scores can also be compared to other scores that are expected out of the child's age group or grade level.  Except for the Written Expression subtest, all tests are administered without time limits, which allows the child to demonstrate his or her actual knowledge.

You will need to find a licensed practitioner to have your child tested. Your child school's psychologist should be able to help you out with that.