Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are probably the worst students in school. They rarely sit still in class, and when they do, their minds wander into far-off places. They often lose their school materials, forget to do their homework, and have a hard time studying for exams because they can’t stay put. Yet children with ADHD are also the most creative and resourceful in class; they can come up with innovative solutions to problems because they view life from a different perspective. In other words, being chronically inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive are merely setbacks that prevent children with ADHD from applying their knowledge, focusing on tasks, and living to their fullest potential. They do not, in any way, reflect their innate intelligence and talents.
However, the first part of ADHD testing usually involves giving standardized tests and achievement tests to evaluate the child’s level of academic functioning and thought processes. While intelligence does play a part in doing well on these tests, the purpose of these tests is not to measure IQ. Rather, these useful instruments determine whether these children have special needs that traditional classroom teaching does not address. They also indicate if the child will need further testing, and give the doctor helpful clues about how to best help the child. Below are some of the intelligence tests used to evaluate children with ADHD.
The Woodcock-Johnson III is designed to measure cognitive abilities, scholastic aptitude, academic achievement, and overall intellectual ability for anyone aged 2 to 90. This instrument has several advantages over others. First, it can be taken over an extended period of time, which means the child won’t feel pressured to answer quickly. It also means that children with ADHD Inattentive Type can answer the questionnaire. The test can also be taken by children with reading disabilities, because it is mostly visual and verbal, reducing the margin of error caused by reading. The Woodcock-Johnson III gives useful information about the child’s learning style, strengths, and academic aptitude.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC)
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale is one of the most widely used intelligence tests for children. Developed in 1949, this two-part test is an important instrument that uses performance skills and verbal skills to assess logical thinking, factual knowledge, mathematical abilities, and spatial skills. The combined scores of the verbal test and performance test are used to form the Wechsler IQ score, which is then compared to the scores of the test-taker’s age group. Although the WISC does not evaluate ADHD and learning disorders, it is often a springboard that suggests whether a child has a learning disability or not.
Wechsler Individual Assessment Test (WIAT)
The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test was developed by the same experts who formulated the WISC, and is made up of four standardized sections that examine reading, math, oral language, and written language skills. Except for the written component, all the sections are administered without a time limit so the child can demonstrate his or her knowledge and skills without pressure. The WIAT has been useful in detecting learning disorders that occur with neurological disorders.
The tests mentioned above can be taken through and interpreted by licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, and learning experts. Ask your child’s guidance office or school psychologist to help you access these tests.