Every good parent wants the best for her child, including opportunities for educational enrichment. From learning games to language courses, a variety of tools claim to raise a child’s IQ score. But what do IQ scores really mean? Unless you know how to evaluate your child’s score, you may not fully understand her needs or her potential.
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Identification: IQ Test
According to Dr. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University, the IQ test in its modern form first appeared in 1905 as a method for identifying developmentally disabled individuals. Modern IQ tests use standardized questions with a list of acceptable responses. Based on the number of questions answered correctly, the test estimates a child’s learning ability. The National Association for Gifted Children notes that individual IQ tests should be given by a licensed professional such as a psychologist. They recommend the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Third Edition or the Stanford Binet Intelligence Test, Fourth Edition.
Interpreting Your Child’s IQ Score
According to the National Association for Gifted Children, a score between 90 and 110 corresponds to the 50th percentile of the population—in other words, an average score. The top tier, represented by 2 to 3 percent of the population, scores higher than 130. A truly exceptional score—occurring, they note, in about 1 in every 1,000 children—is a 145.
According to Dr. David Perlmutter and Carol Colman in “Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten,” your child’s IQ is not determined wholly by genetics. Up to the age of three, your child’s experiences have the power to shape her IQ, to the tune of 30 points. Perlmutter and Colman note that simple things like feeding your child a vitamin- and mineral-rich diet can boost IQ, as can limiting TV time, showing your child affection and offering early computer training.
Tips for Raising Your Child’s IQ
Perlmutter and Colman believe that breastfeeding your child for her first year can give her the important nutrients she needs for brain development, resulting in as many as 8 IQ points. Similarly, engaging your child in musical training by age 4 can boost IQ. During your baby’s first six months, engage her in active play where she reaches for toys while lying on her stomach and her back. As your child develops, introduce toys such as jigsaw puzzles, building blocks, crayons and beads big enough to be strung. Each of these toys develops analytics skills as well as fine motor skills.
Don’t equate your child’s IQ score with his overall intelligence. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, IQ tests only measure traditional skills of logic and verbal ability. There are many other forms of intelligence this test can’t measure or capture. Additionally, because the score is based on a single testing experience, your child’s health or mood on a particular day may have had an effect on her score. Keep in mind that any score your child receives is simply an estimate of her overall intelligence, not a final verdict.