Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is Not Related to I.Q.

It's important to know that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Intelligence, as measured by I.Q., are two different things.

Some parents are convinced that if their child has ADD it means that they are retarded. On the other hand, other parents say, "I've heard that ADD kids are really very, very bright. I think my child must have ADD," as if they wanted to wear a button that said, "My child is smarter than your child because he has ADD." Both of these points of view are unfortunate, and are based on bad information.

Intelligence falls into a Bell Curve, even for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Some Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids are below average I.Q., and some are even retarded. Other ADD ADHD kids are above average I.Q., and some are even quite brilliant. But the awful truth for a parent to hear is that MOST children (about 2 out of 3) are AVERAGE I.Q. That's why they call it "average." And most Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids have average I.Q. as well.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder just have a very tough time in the classroom setting. We tend to see lower academic achievement than we would predict based on the child's I.Q. If they are really smart and they ought to be A students, we are disappointed when they're getting C's instead. If they ought to be B students, they're getting D's instead. Their school performance is disappointing, but it may not be due to a lack of intelligence.

The ADHD Information Library has six web sites with information to help children and teens with Attention Deficit Disorder be more successful in school, at home, and in life. At our site dedicated to helping children and teens succeed in the classroom you will find over 500 classroom interventions for teachers and parents to use. Visit and look around for four or five suggestions to help your child succeed.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of Incorporated.

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