Monday, November 22, 2010

Research: Many children with autism spectrum disorders academically more capable than their IQ scores suggest

From ANI:

A new research has revealed that many children with autism spectrum disorders are academically more capable than their IQ scores would suggest.

In a study by researchers at the University of Washington, 90 percent of autistic children showed a discrepancy between their IQ score and their performance on reading, spelling and math tests.

"Academic achievement is a potential source of self-worth and source of feeling of mastery that people may not have realized is available to children with autism," said Annette Estes, research assistant professor at the UW's Autism Center.

Thirty students with autism spectrum disorders, aged 9, were considered for their study.

IQ scores in the general population reliably predict academic performance - as measured by standardized tests for word reading, spelling and basic number skills. But results of the study showed something else.

"What we found was astounding: 27 out of the 30 children - that's 90 percent - had discrepancies between their IQ score and scores on at least one of the academic achievement tests," Estes said.

"Some scored higher and some scored lower than what their IQ score would predict," she added.

The discrepancies were especially profound in spelling and word reading, the researchers report.

They also found a link between social skills and academic ability in school. Specifically, children who had higher social skills at age 6, including introducing themselves to others and a willingness to compromise and cooperate, had better word reading skills at age 9.

Estes said that future study would concentrate on whether or not these trends hold true in the classroom.

The study is published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.