Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Good morning, and thanks for writing to JA.
To answer your first question(s) about expertise - I diagnose Learning Disorders for a living and have administered over 7,000 individual assessments and diagnosed many individuals with learning struggles, including NLD. So, all that being said...
...it is important to recognize that an IQ test from Psychology Today or Barnes and Noble or even the SAT is not as reliable or valid as a thorough cognitive evaluation conducted by a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP). AMong the LMHPs, only Psychologists are licensed to administer and interpret valid and reliable assessments of cognitive ability.
So, there are two reasons why I can't really comment very intelligently on the scores you provided. While I appreciate that you have done your own research and have some very valid and important questions, here are the reasons why I can't tell you what your IQ is or interpret the results you provided...
#1: It is unprofessional and unethical to diagnose over the internet. This is true for most/all psychological disorders, including learning disorders, but especially for NLD. NLD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that needs to be distinguished from among a host of other disorders (including autism spectrum disorders, Aspergers, other forms of LD, ADHD, and various anxiety/habit disorders). The only was that such a diagnosis can be validly (and ethically) given is after a LMHP has conducted a thorough, individualized assessment with you in a face-to-face setting.
#2: The assessments you provide score for are difficult to interpret because they are not considered valid and reliable measures of cognitive ability. When a Psychologist administers, for example, the Wechsler (a common individualized cognitive assessment), I know the exactly how it was administered because it is standardized. Very little variation occurs among administrations - which is why psychologists can report, with 95%-98% accuracy, where an individual is functioning cognitively. This "standard error of measurement" is not provided among non-standardized tests... which makes their validity and reliability questionable. Here's the botXXXXX XXXXXne: I'm not sure what your test results mean because I don't have professional confidence in the tests. Your SAT results may be revealing - but remember that the SATs are most frequently administered in groups or on a computer - which is very different from a standardized, individualized cognitive assessment conducted with a licensed psychologist.
All this being said - you have some excellent questions - and it's clear that you've done your homework! Please, check to see if there is a licensed Psychologist in your area who is familiar with conducting in-depth psychological assessments, including an in-depth cognitive profile. Some might suggest you see a neuropsychologist, but this might be overkill. This individual would be able to (a) provide you with a valid and reliable estimate of your IQ; (b) more importantly, learn about specific areas of strength/weakness in your cognitive profile (because IQ alone tells you almost nothing); (c) explore diagnostic questions such as NLD; (d) rule out other diagnoses that might or might not also be clouding the picture.
I hope this was helpful. You have made an excellent start - but it really is time to see a psychologist in-person. No psychologist should provide the kinds of answers you're requesting over the internet, I'm afraid... and if s/he did, I would question their professional opinion. You deserve to have some answers, though - and most insurance will cover an in-depth psychological evaluation/assessment.
I wish you all the best. Feel free to ask any follow-up questions if you like.
Sorry... I just got your messages.
I don't think that the SAT is necessarily a more accurate "read" of your IQ for several reasons. 1) it doesn't purport to measure IQ to begin with; 2) I don't know the nature of the administration (unlike in an individualized, standardized cognitive assessment; 3) you accurately hit the nail on the head... if you have an underlying LD, the SAT could be skewed due to learning issues. When I said that your SAT results may be more revealing, I meant that only because I know, at least with some degree of confidence, the parameters within which the test was administered and what it purports to measure. Without knowing more about you (and we can only know that through that individual session), there's no real way to put those numbers into context.
The other assessments are highly suspect because they have not been developed or administered by a professional under strict standardized protocol. It would be like having your friend take your X-ray and then going to a radiologist to say, "What does this X-ray tell you about my arm?" The radiologist would probably say something very similar to what I'm saying... "if the person who took this picture isn't a licensed radiologist, I can't be certain what this means. Besides the *person* involved, I'm not sure I trust the tool used (x-ray machine) either." That's essentially what I'm saying here.
If you had results from an individually administered cognitive assessment along with other pieces of a psychological evaluation, you'd get good quality diagnostic information about LD, NLD, or any of the other diagnostic possibilities I mentioned. Once again, you have some excellent questions - and it's clear you've started to get a move on "getting your homework done..." but the next step, now, is to work one-on-one with a licensed Psychologist. S/he will help you get to the bottom of your questions... get you a valid and reliable diagnostic work-out... and (if you want) help explore options about treatment (if that's necessary).
Once again, you're to be commended for getting the ball rolling... but only a face-to-face meeting will be able to take you to the next step of answering the questions you have.
I really do wish you the best of luck. If you have further questions about NLD (also abbreviated NVLD), I'd look up the work of Byron Rourke, generally considered one of the "grandfathers" of the disorder.
Thanks. <PLEASE CLICK ACCEPT>
I absolutely understand your reservations about a formal assessment... but I think it's important to know that the process of completing an individualized evaluation is relatively pain-free and, actually, can be kind of enjoyable for some people. Moreover, I think it's important for you to recognize that most psychologists don't "bet the bank" on a single IQ score unless the overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests that the final composite number is XXXXX! Meaning, most psychologists observe the cognitive assessment carefully - and watch throughout all of your visits - to better understand HOW YOU THINK not just HOW YOU TEST. So, you might get a final number... or you might not. It might mean something, or it might need to be carefully interpreted in the context of WHO YOU ARE. Yes, an IQ estimate is a snapshot of your cognitive profile AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME... and while it is likely a very accurate picture of your cognitive abilities AT THAT TIME, it's important to contextualize WHAT THAT TIME might mean.
In other words, "Bobby" might come to see me for an assessment. He's got a very subtle form of delusional/psychotic thinking that isn't readily apparent in our first time together. We get through the cognitive assessment and I begin to wonder... especially when his IQ is much lower than I would have predicted. I conduct some further assessments and find out "WHOA! LOOK AT THAT!!!" I realize that Bobby is psychotic and put the IQ in the context of his overall functioning. Yes, perhaps his IQ reading of 73 was accurate *AT THAT TIME,* - but once I get the full picture - I know how to help to get him to a better place functionally. Then... Bobby can be re-assessed when he's functioning better!
That's what an individual assessment will do for you. Please don't put too much stock into one number. (It would be like walking around all day being obsessed about your BMI (Body Mass Index) from your physician. This is only *one measure* of you - and needs to be placed into the context of your overall picture!) Working with the psychologist on an individual basis will get you a sense of where you're functioning now, where you might be able to function if you tweaked some areas, and where you're likely to function like a "super star." Moreover, most psychologists are caring and gentle - and will work with you during the evaluation to help you maximize your own functioning for the assessment itself.
I hope this was helpful. I was glad to see that another JA-expert said essentially the same thing I did. I think the rest is up to you now! :) Thanks!
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Wow! I came here to Cincinnati to do my Post-doc here at Children's. I've gotten to know a number of people here who attended UC. Great school.
Best of luck to you!