A Description of IQ Ranges
Extremely Low Range Children who score in the extremely low range are in the bottom 2 percent of the population. Children who are within this range would be expected to find academic skills very challenging and would most likely require special education services to master basic academic concepts. When a child scores within this range, or the borderline range, the school psychologist (or social worker) will require additional information about adaptive functioning levels (daily living skills).
Adaptive Functioning: It is always helpful to obtain information about adaptive behavior from the child's teacher and parents, because each can provide a different perspective on adaptive skills evident at home and at school.
Interviewing the parent can often provide valuable information about the child's developmental history (when the child started walking, talking, and so forth) and medical history. There are also adaptive rating scales that parents and teachers can complete, such as the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Second Edition (ABAS-II) or the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition (Vineland-II). These scales assess daily adaptive functioning or living skills in areas such as self-care, independence, communication skills, social skills, leisure activities, health and safety, and so forth. An example of some of the questions that may be asked about past development can be seen in Table 7.2, along with other thoughts to consider in preparing for an education meeting. Information that teachers may want to bring to the meeting, as well as questions and considerations they may have for the parent, are presented in Table 7.3.
Scores for adaptive functioning can also be reported as standard scores, and comparisons can be made between IQ level and adaptive levels in several areas. Informed decision making for children who score within the extremely low IQ range requires consideration of several factors, including intellectual level, academic performance, and adaptive functioning (strengths and weaknesses in adaptive skills). Interventions would be expected to target skill development in the adaptive as well as academic areas.
Borderline Range Children who obtain scores in the borderline range are midway between the average ranges and the extremely low range; because they fall on the borderline, the term Borderline Range is used. These children pose the most difficult challenges for decision-making teams because they may or may not qualify for special education assistance, depending on specific criteria that vary from state to state.
Children within this range often experience significant difficulty in transferring information from situation to situation. For example, what they learn one day might not be transferred to the next day's lesson. What they learn in reading may not generalize to their written work. Therefore, rather than building on prior skills to construct a cumulative learning curve based on an increasing body of knowledge, their learning may be based on individual pieces of information that do not connect into a bigger picture. The story of John at the beginning of this chapter is a very good example of how deficits in transferring information can have a negative impact on learning.
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