Adelaide IQ Assessment Clinic
Our aim is to provide excellence in intelligence testing and report writing in South Australia. Our dedicated clinic for IQ assessments is led by Dr Nada Asceric, an experienced Clinical Psychologist, who specialises in intelligence testing, including testing of special populations (i.e. Autism, psychosis, etc.). What is more, the clinic offers a range of other cognitive testing, including testing of learning disorders, working memory and testing of executive functioning of children and adults. We are also dedicated to providing expeditious completion of reports.
What is IQ testing?
Intelligence testing is an evidence-based method used by Clinical Psychologists to measure the person’s intellectual abilities. Intellectual assessment is a good indication of academic potential, such that if you score in the 95th percentile on an IQ test for your age group, it is reasonable to assume that you would perform in the top 5% academically. During the testing session you will be asked to solve a range of problems, including putting blocks together to make a design, solving puzzles, copying symbols, and to provide word definitions, among other tasks. Following the administration of an IQ test you will receive a detailed psychological report outlining the results of the test and the meaning of such scores. The majority of people enjoy the testing session as it is an engaging process involving novel and fun tasks. The Adelaide IQ Assessment Clinic offers IQ testing of children and adults, ages 6 to 90.
What is an educational assessment?
An educational assessment is a more comprehensive evaluation that involves an IQ assessment and an assessment of academic abilities. The aim of an educational assessment is to evaluate the person’s intellectual abilities as well as their academic performance in the domains of reading, writing and arithmetic. Evaluation of the academic abilities is integral for the diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), a neurodevelopmental disorder that impedes the ability to learn or use specific academic skills (i.e. reading, writing, or arithmetic), which are a foundation of academic learning. SLD is a clinical diagnosis based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-The Firth Edition (DSM-V) criteria.
Critical to the evaluation of SLD is demonstration of chronicity of problems. In other words, it is important to collect enough evidence from school reports across time to demonstrate a temporal existence of difficulties rather than simply relying on one evaluation at one point in time. Notably, SLD can only be diagnosed in children and adults who are not intellectually disabled. If the person’s IQ score is 70 and above then the SLD can be considered. Finally, there is now only one category for learning disorders, namely SLD, that comes with a specifier for a specific deficit (i.e. arithmetic or writing or reading, and mixture of the three). This is in contrast to previous diagnostic criteria that considered them as separate learning disorders.
When to consider IQ testing?
If you suspect that you or your child is gifted and/or if you need to provide an objective evaluation of giftedness to a school, an IQ assessment is necessary. IQ testing often qualifies children for special educational programs that are only available to students with a demonstrated IQ level in the gifted range (accelerated programs). Objectively verified, giftedness will also allow your child to better reach their potential by setting more appropriate learning goals and by being able to objectively demonstrate to teachers and the school your child’s actual capacity. Please check out the link for the SA government policy on Gifted and Talented Children.
If intellectual disability is suspected in a child, adolescent or an adult, IQ testing is then advisable to ascertain whether this is the case, and also to ascertain the level of suspected disability (i.e. mild, moderate, or profound). Intellectual disability is classified as a score of less than 70 on an IQ test such as WISC-V and WAIS-IV. While identification of intellectual disability can be an important step in receiving appropriate educational or vocational support, the IQ assessment process also aims to identify the individual’s potential cognitive strengths with a view of optimising their learning experience.
Adults and children at times experience difficulties with problem solving, which can significantly impact on educational and vocational functioning, and self-esteem. It is important to identify cognitive deficits as early as possible so that an individual can receive appropriate level of educational support, and appropriate learning plans and goals. IQ testing also enables us to also tap into existing strengths that could be utilised to compensate for deficits and that could make learning experiences more rewarding. Finally, access to disability specific support services (i.e. Disability SA) will require an official assessment by a Clinical Psychologist to verify the deficits.
Understanding Your Unique Learning Style
Parents may simply wish to understand more about their child's unique intellectual and learning abilities, such as their cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and how to use this knowledge to optimise their learning experience. Similarly adults may also seek to establish their unique strengths and weaknesses, particularly when considering vocational choices.
At times gifted children or children with unrecognised learning problems may display behavioural and emotional difficulties in schools that stem from the mismatch between their cognitive abilities and their environment. For example, a child with an undiagnosed learning problem is unable to participate in a given curriculum and demonstrates this through disruptive behaviour. Similarly, a gifted child may act bored or be disruptive in an environment where the material and learning is below their ability level. A cognitive evaluation can point parents and clinicians in the right direction in terms of determining the cause of the child’s emotional and behavioural problems.
Intelligence testing and comprehensive educational assessments are particularly recommended in some special groups, such as individuals with suspected or diagnosed psychotic illness (i.e. schizophrenia) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In individuals with psychosis, for example, cognitive deficits are highly prevalent and thus need a thorough evaluation for consideration of care planning. In instances like these, additional evaluation of executive function can be also performed. This is especially relevant to first episode psychosis presentations.
The Wechsler intelligence scales are used for testing of both children and adults. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition - Australian Standardisation (WISC-V) is one of the most reliable and validated IQ tests for children available. The WISC-V provides scores that represent intellectual functioning in five specified cognitive domains: verbal comprehension, visual-spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The WISC-V also provides a full scale IQ score measuring general intellectual ability. The full scale IQ score is especially relevant in terms of diagnosing intellectual disability and eligibility of Disability SA services, and for establishing giftedness.
The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) is an individually administered clinical instrument designed to assess the cognitive ability of adolescents and adults ages 16 through to 90 years and 11 months. As an assessment tool, the WAIS-IV can be used to obtain a comprehensive assessment of general cognitive functioning. It can be used to identify intellectual disability, intellectual giftedness, and cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The results can serve as a guide for treatment planning and placement decisions, a source of clinical information for optimising academic learning, and as a reliable and valid data for research purposes.
The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Australian and New Zealand Standardised, Third Edition (WIAT-III A&NZ) is the latest test used to assess the academic abilities of children and adults. The domains assessed by the WIAT-III are reading, writing, and arithmetic, and this test is an integral part of diagnosing learning disorders. The WIAT-III is suitable for use in a variety of clinical, educational, and research settings, including schools, clinics and private practices. WIAT-III results are used to identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of a student/adult, inform decisions regarding eligibility for educational services, educational placement, or diagnosis of a specific learning disability. The WIAT-III also assist in designing educational interventions.
Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS)
D-KEFS enables the clinician to assess the key components of executive functions believed to be mediated primarily by the frontal lobe. Administration time for D-KEFS is approximately 90 minutes and can be administered to individuals 8 to 89 years of age. D-KEFS allows for the assessment of the integrity of the frontal system of the brain, and it helps determine how deficits in abstract and creative thinking may impact daily life. Its game-like format is engaging for examinees, encouraging optimal performance without providing “right/wrong” feedback that can create frustration. D-KEFS helps the clinician design coping strategies and rehabilitation programs tailored to each patient's profile of executive function strengths and weaknesses.
NEPSY is an instrument designed to assess the neuropsychological development in preschool and school-aged children, ages 3 to 16. The word NEPSY was coined by combining two words, namely neuropsychology (NE) and psychology (PSY). NEPSY-II is used to measure skills such as attention and executive functioning, both of which require self-regulatory skills to achieve an objective, including strategic planning, flexibility, and modulation of one’s own action based on feedback from the environment. Other areas of cognition assessed by NEPSY-II include language (i.e. word generation), memory and learning, motor skills, and visual spatial processing. NEPSY-II is designed to assess both basic and complex aspects of cognition critical to children’s ability to learn and be productive, in and outside of, school settings. It is also designed to test cognitive functions not typically covered by general ability (i.e. WISC-V) or achievement batteries (WIAT-III).
Delis-Rating of Executive Function (D-REF) (5 to 18 years of age)
D-REF is a quick measure of the child’s/adolescent’s behaviours stemming from executive function difficulties. D-REF is used to evaluate the behaviours of 5 to 18 year-olds and only takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The instrument is used to evaluate children with: ADHD, traumatic brain injury, Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome and learning disabilities. D-REF is further useful in tracking changes in behaviour over time, or after therapeutic interventions. D-REF provides global scores in the domains of cognitive, behavioural and emotional functioning of the child/adolescent, as well as scores evaluating their working memory, anger, and impulsivity. D-REF is completed by parents and teachers, or significant others. Children and adolescents in the 11 to 18 years of age category can also self-evaluate for a more comprehensive estimate of abilities and symptoms. D-REF can be requested as a part of the IQ/educational assessment or independently of it.
Working Memory Scale-Fourth Edition (WMS-IV)
WMS-IV is an adult battery for a comprehensive evaluation of memory, and is comprised of an Adult battery (ages 16-69) and an Older Adult battery (ages 65-90). Although memory can be conceptualised in a variety of ways, memory and learning are generally closely associated, and memory often refers to persistence of learning and is an indicator that learning has previously occurred. Memory is generally divided into short-term and long-term systems, with the former usually lasting from few seconds to a few minutes, whereas the latter normally refers to a more permanent or stable storage of information. When conceptualising memory it is further important to differentiate between the processes of encoding, consolidation and retrieval. Memory problems can occur in any of these domains and WMS-IV helps us identify where the memory deficits lie.
The Test of Nonverbal Intelligence Fourth Edition (TONI-4)
TONI is an individually administered, norm-referenced instrument that uses nonverbal abstract reasoning and problem solving to estimate the general intellectual ability. TONI is not a broad measure of all intellectual abilities and domains, but rather focuses on the measurement of the essence of intelligence, namely nonverbal problem-solving. TONI was developed for the purposes of assessing the intelligence of children and adults whose language, cognitive and/or motor skills preclude them from understanding or responding optimally to the traditional measures of intelligence. TONI is thus useful in populations with multiple disabilities and co-morbidities. TONI is generally regarded as easy to administer, is considered an objective measurement of intelligence, and has a relatively short-period of administration. The average administration time is 15 minutes. TONI can be administered using verbal commands but can also be administered nonverbally. TONI is useful in specific populations such as illiterate individuals, non-English speaking individuals, non-verbal ASD individuals, for example.
Testing of Executive Functioning
Executive functioning, often referred to as self-regulation, describes a broad range of cognitive and behavioural skills that plays an important part in learning. It is a collection of higher level cognitive skills that converge together to enable an individual to adapt to its environment and achieve desired goals. It encompasses abilities such as being able to work with distraction, with other people, and multiple demands. A good analogy for executive functioning is that of an air traffic control system, involving tasks such as managing a lot of information at once, avoiding distraction, initiating a goal-directed behaviour, and putting the brakes on an automatic response.
Executive functioning has been conceptualised as having four broad components, namely goal formation, planning and organisation, production of goal-directed behaviour, and effective performance. The key cognitive skills underpinning these four components are self-monitoring, working memory, inhibitory control, and mental flexibility. The inability to perform any of these, or multiple such actions, can be a great source of stress for a child or an adult, especially as some of these skills appear to be under the person’s control and often can be interpreted as wilful noncompliance. Poor executive functioning is also implicated in reduced social functioning.
This video on the Executive Functioning from the Centre on the Developing Child from Harvard University offers a great summary on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efCq_vHUMqs
Can a child or an adult be re-tested and when?
All individuals can be re-tested at some stage in the future in the event a new assessment is required. It is recommended that this is done after 2 years for all IQ assessments, to counter any possible practice effects. At times, however, it is appropriate to re-test after 12 months if cognitive decline is suspected or major learning problems become evident. Other instruments can be administered more frequently and thus it is important to have this discussion with the clinician.
The parents of children who undergoing IQ testing are advised to provide school reports and/or any previous IQ assessment reports the child may have had. It is also important to advise the Clinical Psychologist of the reasons for seeking an IQ assessment (i.e. suspected learning problem or suspected giftedness), so that the IQ assessment and the comprehensive report can be tailored to the individual needs.
A time will then be set to administer the test, which takes on average 60-90 minutes in duration. In the event that a child/adult requires a full educational assessment (i.e. academic assessment of reading, writing and arithmetic, the assessment will take longer or may have to be conducted over 2 days in case of fatigue. It is important that a person undergoing testing is rested before the appointment and that they have had breakfast/lunch. The actual testing itself is generally quite enjoyable, especially for children, and no breaks are generally sought. After the testing session is completed a comprehensive written report is provided outlining findings and recommendations based on the assessment.
A comprehensive psychological report is written by an experienced Clinical Psychologist who performed the actual IQ test. It provides an objective evaluation of the person’s abilities and their learning needs. The report thoroughly outlines the psychologist’s clinical observations, the validity of test results, the nature of the test used, the person’s overall IQ score and performance in specific sub-domains, their potential strengths and weaknesses, and recommendations for optimising learning. If the full educational assessment is performed additional details about the person’s reading, writing and arithmetic abilities is discussed and contracted with the IQ profile.
The report can be either mailed to the client or collected in person. A copy of the original report will be kept at the practice in the event the client requires more copies in the future. The client can photocopy the original psychological report as many times as it is necessary or be provided a soft copy via email.
How long does it take to do IQ testing?
The IQ testing alone can take 60-90 minutes in duration, whereas a full educational assessment will take longer. It is recommended that parents are NOT present in the testing room during the actual testing process of children to minimise distraction and improve reliability of the test results. In the event you suspect that your child will have major difficulties with engaging with the testing process and that your presence is necessary please advise the Clinical Psychologist.
Should I discuss the results of the testing with my child?
The concept of intellectual ability is a difficult one for children to understand and consequently caution is advised in relation to discussing the actual scores with your children. This is true for both intellectual deficits and giftedness. Some feedback can be given to children, but it needs to be age appropriate and not involve generalisations about their abilities, implications for their future, or their sense of worth. As all children have unique profiles, it is best to discuss this topic with the Clinical Psychologist first so that appropriate feedback is constructed collaboratively. You can also discuss with the psychologist how to prepare your child for the testing and what to say in such circumstances.
Limitations of IQ testing
It is important to be aware of some of the limitations of IQ testing. For example, standard IQ tests do not measure the person’s creative capacity or emotional intelligence. Creativity and emotional intelligence are important aspects of a person’s unique profile, school and vocational performance, and adjustment, and should be considered in addition to standard measures of IQ. Further, some individuals may not perform at their optimum on the day of the testing despite best efforts at engagement by the psychologist. If this is observed the implication of this will be discussed with the client. If a person has a major visual impairment then it may not be appropriate for them to undergo standard IQ testing. Similarly, if the person is not fluent in English it is not advisable they undergo standard IQ testing but other forms of testing, such as non-verbal IQ tests.
Please also note that in the event of a rather large variability in performance on IQ subtest scores, the full scale IQ score is at times not computed. In such cases the Clinical Psychologist will discuss and analyse separate domains of cognition individually and the implications of the same (i.e. verbal comprehension, working memory, etc).
Anyone can self-refer to the clinic by contacting the clinic phone number.
We aim to offer competitive pricing for both assessment and completion of psychological reports, and to avoid any unplanned costs.
The total cost of an assessment is $1300 which include:
Administration of an IQ test and/or WIAT-III/NEPSY-II/WMS-IV/D-KEFS.
Comprehensive IQ report.
Delis-Rating of Executive Function (D-REF) test and report (if separate to the above).
Detailed feedback session: A detailed discussion with the Clinical Psychologist about the test results (minimum 30 minutes). This is highly recommended as it is important to have a good understanding of the results and the implications of the same.
NDIS funding can be used to cover the cost of the whole assessment.
Medicare generally does not cover the cost of IQ testing.
Private insurance may be able to partially cover the cost of the assessment and you are encouraged to check this prior to seeking an assessment.