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Stability of cognitive performance in children with mild intellectual disability


Jenni, Oskar G; Fintelmann, Sylvia; Caflisch, Jon; Latal, Beatrice; Rousson, Valentin; Chaouch, Aziz (2015). Stability of cognitive performance in children with mild intellectual disability. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 57(5):463-469.

Abstract

AIM Longitudinal studies that have examined cognitive performance in children with intellectual disability more than twice over the course of their development are scarce. We assessed population and individual stability of cognitive performance in a clinical sample of children with borderline to mild non-syndromic intellectual disability. METHOD Thirty-six children (28 males, eight females; age range 3-19y) with borderline to mild intellectual disability (Full-scale IQ [FSIQ] 50-85) of unknown origin were examined in a retrospective clinical case series using linear mixed models including at least three assessments with standardized intelligence tests. RESULTS Average cognitive performance remained remarkably stable over time (high population stability, drop of only 0.38 IQ points per year, standard error=0.39, p=0.325) whereas individual stability was at best moderate (intraclass correlation of 0.58), indicating that about 60% of the residual variation in FSIQ scores can be attributed to between-child variability. Neither sex nor socio-economic status had a statistically significant impact on FSIQ. INTERPRETATION Although intellectual disability during childhood is a relatively stable phenomenon, individual stability of IQ is only moderate, likely to be caused by test-to-test reliability (e.g. level of child's cooperation, motivation, and attention). Therefore, clinical decisions and predictions should not rely on single IQ assessments, but should also consider adaptive functioning and previous developmental history.

Abstract

AIM Longitudinal studies that have examined cognitive performance in children with intellectual disability more than twice over the course of their development are scarce. We assessed population and individual stability of cognitive performance in a clinical sample of children with borderline to mild non-syndromic intellectual disability. METHOD Thirty-six children (28 males, eight females; age range 3-19y) with borderline to mild intellectual disability (Full-scale IQ [FSIQ] 50-85) of unknown origin were examined in a retrospective clinical case series using linear mixed models including at least three assessments with standardized intelligence tests. RESULTS Average cognitive performance remained remarkably stable over time (high population stability, drop of only 0.38 IQ points per year, standard error=0.39, p=0.325) whereas individual stability was at best moderate (intraclass correlation of 0.58), indicating that about 60% of the residual variation in FSIQ scores can be attributed to between-child variability. Neither sex nor socio-economic status had a statistically significant impact on FSIQ. INTERPRETATION Although intellectual disability during childhood is a relatively stable phenomenon, individual stability of IQ is only moderate, likely to be caused by test-to-test reliability (e.g. level of child's cooperation, motivation, and attention). Therefore, clinical decisions and predictions should not rely on single IQ assessments, but should also consider adaptive functioning and previous developmental history.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:May 2015
Deposited On:19 Jan 2016 14:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:53
Publisher:Mac Keith Press
ISSN:0012-1622
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.12620
PubMed ID:25363202

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