Measuring Intelligence: The Issue With IQ Tests For Neurodivergents

An exploration of why IQ tests are harmful to the neurodivergent community from an autistic perspective.

Tas (they/them)
4 min readOct 18, 2021


A white pencil sitting on top of a fill in the bubble test
Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

The measure of success in society is often based on intelligence. At the same time, people in positions of power are automatically assumed to be smarter than the average person. It is fair to say that (intelligence quotient) IQ tests have been a part of society for decades. Measuring intelligence determines where a person socially stands in the world. The implicit bias that is within society means that working as a science professor means you are smarter than the mechanic down the road. This is a fallacy of thinking that has negative consequences for the neurodivergent population.

IQ tests are used to determine how a neurodivergent person will function in society. The tests will even be used to decide if you receive supportive services during your childhood and adulthood. As an adult, the tests dictate your access to higher education and employment. This article will explore the issues with IQ tests for the neurodivergent community from an autistic perspective.

Intelligence depends on cognitive function

Neurotypical society measures your functioning on intelligence. In fact “differences in performance on the IQ tests have been assumed to solely convey discrepancies in the quality of cognitive functioning of the test takers.”

The cognitive functioning of a neurodivergent person is different from a neurotypical society. The neurodivergent person may have strengths in other areas not recognized by an IQ test. Autistic cognitive functioning is not based on traditional logic used in a neurotypical thinking style. However, this does not mean the person is lacking intelligence.

Thinking in different patterns causes society to assume that a “low” IQ means you will not be contributing member of society. The issue does not lay with the test taker, but with the test itself that is inherently biased.

IQ tests are not inclusive

The tests are developed to accommodate the neurotypical brain. This creates a gap for neurodivergent…



Tas (they/them)

Tas is an autistic/neurodivergent disabled author, writer, and publisher. Editor in Chief of Neurodiversity Times Magazines.