Jacob, a child with Down Syndrome, enjoying a family holiday and browsing in shops, like any other 5 year old child wouldJacob looking at books and watching TV at age 6 years - Down Syndrome doesn't stop normal development, but social attitudes do. - Jacob, a baby with Down Syndrome - Jacob at one year of age

Down Syndrome – Increasing Intelligence and IQ: Lessening the Mental Retardation



So you want to improve your kid’s chances in life with higher Intelligence – excellent. There are two really important things YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW to increase IQ aka intelligence in your kid with Down Syndrome.

The first to increase IQ: Is to make sure your child has enough DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid) – preferably start the supplement from birth or before.

Doing so may preserve or boost your kid’s intelligence by about seven (7) Intelligence Quotient (IQ) points! Breast milk is normally rich in DHA and AA. That’s a pretty good boost that costs next to nothing.



2… Down Syndrome and IQ Scores;

3… What Are IQ Scores? What Do They Mean? The Definition and Characteristics of Developmental Disability, previously known as Mental Retardation and what IQ means for those with Down Syndrome;

4… Down Syndrome and IQ – The Effects of Prejudice, Expectations and Physical Disability?;



7… LATEST HOPES With Smart Drugs and so on, for improving the intelligence and IQ of those with Down Syndrome;

8… Improving the FUNCTIONING and APPEARANCE of Intelligence of those with Down Syndrome

The second to increase IQ: If your child has Down Syndrome or any other metabolic disorder, regular blood tests with a focus on iodine, selenium, zinc, iron studies and thyroid function may prove beneficial.

We do a full blood test every six months and minor blood tests roughly every three (3) months – the minor ones are to follow up any problems detected by the fuller blood tests.

By picking up deficiencies or malfunctioning early you can avoid mental retardation damage of around 10 IQ points.

So, just doing these two things, could give your kid with Down Syndrome an intelligence / IQ gain of 17 IQ points!!! That is, your child may be functioning 17 IQ points better through out his or her entire life.

For example, if your child was going to end up with an IQ of 45, you may be able to give him an IQ of 62. That’s over one standard deviation improvement in intelligence and that means a big reduction in the level of mental retardation that may have been.

Jacob, age 6, using his intelligence in learning to read - A kid with Down Syndrome should not be limited in their growth by other peoples perceptions - most kids with Down Syndrome can go on to live productive lives within the community.

2… Down Syndrome and IQ:

“…Developmental delay — All kids with Down syndrome are normally developmentally delayed, aka mentally retarded, although this may not be apparent until the child is beyond infancy. IQ scores range from 20 (severe mental retardation) to 85 (low normal). Overall learning abilities are usually equivalent to a 6 to 8 year old kid without Down syndrome…” Source: The Heart Center Encyclopedia

“…Most kids with Down syndrome have mild to moderate mental retardation (IQ 30 to 60). Persons with Down syndrome at the upper end of the IQ range might attain 4th to 6th grade reading skills. Persons with Down syndrome can provide for basic self-help needs, and have varying degrees of educational achievement and social and occupational skills. They need special education, training facilities, and frequently sheltered living and work situations.” Source: EncyMaster

“…Moderate-to-severe mental retardation occurs, with an IQ range of 20-85 (mean IQ is approximately 50)…” Source: emedicine. One point here: To have an IQ range with a mean of 50, means that 50% of those have an IQ of 50 and above, which in turn means that half have IQ’s intelligence scores in the Mild developmental disability range.

3… What Are IQ Scores? What Do They Mean?

The Definition and Characteristics of Developmental Disability, previously known as Mental Retardation and what IQ means for those with Down Syndrome

IQ and Down Syndrome

IQ or Intelligence Quotient scores are derived from intelligence tests. Such tests were originally designed to pick up school kids who would not do well academically due to lack of brain power.

With Down Syndrome, we are looking at IQ scores – intelligence scores – between 0 and 85.

Down Syndrome: Intelligence between 70 to 85 IQ points

IQ scores in the 70 to 85 range is considered to be low average functioning. kids with Down Syndrome with such intelligence scores are expected to go on to live ‘normal’ lives and to benefit from normal schooling. Mostly, people with Down Syndrome in this IQ range will have lower paid jobs and jobs of a more menial type, but they will partake in what life has to offer – hold a job and work well, marry, be a parent…

Down Syndrome: Intelligence below 70 IQ points

The lower the IQ intelligence score, the worse the scenario by society’s standards. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, when IQ intelligence falls below 70, the individuals [ including those with Down Syndrome ] “…are so limited in their adaptive functioning that they require special services and protection, particularly during the school-age years.”

When IQ intelligence falls below 70 on the intelligence tests, it has been taken to mean that the kid with Down Syndrome would not benefit from normal schooling.

Adaptive behaviours are generally not very good. The ability to reason through abnormal problems and emergencies are generally not very good. Holding a job can be very difficult and the jobs held tend to be lowly paid and of little importance by society’s standards. Job promotion is essentially non existant. Maintaining relationships can be difficult, particularly when stable meaningful relationships such as marriage are considered – conflict resolution skills are generally poor, as well as their own understanding of self. Parenting is generally very hard to impossible for them to do properly.

People with Down Syndrome with such low IQ intelligence scores are generally unfit to stand trial; nor are they able to understand the legal process – if they do something illegal, they often don’t understand that what they did was wrong.

For example, I had to do a fitness to stand trial report on a middle aged lady [non Down Syndrome], whose IQ fell in this range. She had lit a fire on the loungeroom floor to stay warm, the house burnt down – she did not understand the risk of burning down the house and she certainly had no understanding of the legal process.

Down Syndrome: IQ Intelligence between 50 and 70 IQ points

When IQ intelligence falls between 50 and 70 inclusive, that is the mild developmental disability range, previously known as the mild mental retadation range, such individuals, including those with Down Syndrome, are classed as educable.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, such individuals “…can develop social and communication skills during the preschool period (ages 0-5[years of age]), have minimal impairment in sensorimotor areas, and often are not distinguishable from normal kids until a later age.

By their late teens they can learn academic skills up to approximately the sixth-grade level; and during the adult years, they can usually achieve social and vocational skills adequate for minimum self-support, but may need guidance and assistance when under unusual social or economic stress.”

Down Syndrome: Intelligence between 35 and 49 IQ points

For an intelligence which falls in the 35 to 49 IQ range, that is the Moderate developmental disability range, previously known as the moderate mental retardation range, such individuals, including those with Down Syndrome, are classed as trainable.

They can learn to talk or communicate during the preschool years, but lack social conventions. They can be taught some basic skills to work and look after themselves, provided they have ongoing close supervision all their life. The highest education level they will reach is about grade 2.

Down Syndrome: Intelligence between 20 and 34 IQ points

Severe developmental disabilities, previously known as the severe mental retardation range, characterised by intelligence test scores between 20 to 34 IQ points inclusive. People with such IQ’s, including those with Down Syndrome, may learn to talk and be trained in basic hygeine during the school age period.

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, “…They are generally unable to profit from vocational training. During their adult years they may be able to perform simple work tasks under close supervision.”

Down Syndrome: Intelligence under 20 IQ points

Profound developmental disability, previously known as the profound mental retardation range, is when the intelligence score falls to 19 IQ points or below. Essentially learning is very, very limited. Perhaps a few words and other very limited things may be learnt over their lifespan. Constant care and supervision is required.

After four years, I finally decided to include this section. It is important to remember at this point that there are people working to increase the brain power / IQ of all our kids with Down Syndrome.

4… Down Syndrome and IQ – The Effects of Prejudice, Expectations and Physical Disability?

“…Estimates of the average intelligence of people with Down’s syndrome have in fact been trending upward steadily for the last 60 years. Up to the early 1900s, people with Down’s Syndrome were typically viewed as being profoundly mentally retarded. Surveys of kids and adults during the first half of this century classified most Down’s Syndrome people in the severely mentally retarded category. Kirman’s (1974) review suggested that the majority of Down’s Syndrome kids fell in the moderately to severely retarded range, with only a very small minority (2-3%) achieving at the mildly retarded level. In the 1960s there were reports of up to 10% of cases being educable or mildly retarded. By the mid 1970s it was suggested that perhaps as many as 30-50% of older kids and adults with Down’s Syndrome were in the mild range with a small number even achieving within the normal range. (Clunies-Ross, 1986.)

…The pattern has been, in any case, that people with Down’s syndrome have tended to approach the level of expectations that their parents and teachers have for them, and these expectations have been based on marginally surmounting the upper limits of professional expectation in each generation. While encouraging, this is a slow and incremental process, and involves no questioning of the basic paradigm.

…If, for the moment, we accept that the effect of prejudice might be to depress IQ scores by 20 points, we might then look to see whether the particular circumstances of particular people with Down’s syndrome might contain other factors that would depress scores. Most people with Down’s syndrome have physical disabilities. A 1990 study of kids with Down’s syndrome found that 38% had heart problems, up to 77% had visual defects and 62% had hearing loss (Turner et al., 1990). Very little work deals with the extent to which level of cognitive functioning can be masked by physical disability. Hearing loss and visual defects can affect test-taking both directly, in that they slow down operations on the actual test and indirectly, in that they handicap the student in acquiring the information needed to take the test successfully. There are no studies of the intelligence of people with Down’s syndrome that control for these factors (or, indeed, for racial attribution). Just to open the bidding, one might suggest that these would raise the average score by a further 10 IQ points. Once we had adjusted for those known physical or perceptual impairments that depress IQ score, but do not necessarily affect the underlying cognitive structure we might then look at hypothesising and testing for unknown impairments; we might, following the lead of one tendency in the debate over facilitated communication training (Crossley & Remington-Gurney, 1992), raise the possibility of performance being influenced by apraxias and aphasias. Another — even more hypothetical — ten [IQ points]?… ” Source: C. Borthwick


We have posted in different newsgroups seeking help in alleviating the microencephaly caused by Down Syndrome. There are many dedicated modern medical doctors and researchers trying to find a solution to microencephaly.

Another newsgroup responded to my plea of how to increase brain growth with references to the fact that microencephaly and superior/genius intelligence and IQ also are compatible with each other. Anotole France, the French Noble Prize winner writer, was small brained yet had great insight into the way society functioned.

Other examples of microencephally and normal to high intelligence and IQ are quite common – one lady with a brain around 4 to 5 standard deviations below the mean (in other words, really, really small) still had high average intelligence IQ!

Microencephally is certainly not a guarantee of retardation and there is a suggestion that the more normal the microencephalic brain is ( right shape, relative size, location of brain parts ) the more likely the person will have OK intelligence IQ.

Also, according to Dr. Leichtman, 30% of the Targeted Nutrient Intervention kids with Down Syndrome have normal head circumferences, but show the same variability of performance as the microencephalic Targeted Nutrient Intervention kids with Down Syndrome.

In other words, head size does not appear to be the determining factor in the intellectual disability of those with Down Syndrome – it is some other aspect/s of Down Syndrome that cause it. It will be interesting to one day find out why this is so. What he is saying, in effect, is that microencephally and Down’s Syndrome both cause intellectual disability, that they are different and what works for one may not work for the other; though one would hope so.

Special note: Microencephaly also causes motor retardation and so on, same as Down Syndrome does. The elimination of microencephaly will benefit more than the Down Syndrome population.


I’ll update this section from time to time; I also frequently adjust the webpages, so please be sure when you return to any of Jacob’s pages, to click the refresh button in your web browser.

There was one study just completed on Piracetam, with the authors making claims that it is useless in the treatment of retardation in Down Syndrome. Let me put in some simple straight forward information on Piracetam:

1…By itself, Piracetam doesn’t appear to increase intelligence, nor IQ, we have known this for a long time, though one study apparently did find it helped one or two cognitive abilities.

2…When used with choline, it increases a neurotransmitter in the brain and this is believed to have an unproven beneficial effect on intelligence.

3…To take full advantage of improving intelligence, the theory goes that the metabolic therapy has to be instigated by the time the kid turns 4 months of age, with the piracetam being implemented from around the 6 month mark.

Dr. N.A. Meguid, et al found a significant improvement in cognitive and gross motor development in comparison to the other groups. The study emphasized the therapeutic effect of antioxidant nutritional intervention on the quality of life of people with Down Syndrome. Author: N.A. Meguid, et al., Early Intervention in Down syndrome: The effect of antioxidants. [conducted with Nutrivene] Human Genetics Department, National Research Centre, Tahir Sir, Dohki, Cairo, Egypt.

Dr. Gelb stated that improvements in neurological development can be demonstrated. Whether these neurodevelopment improvements are causally attributable to Targeted Nutrient Intervention or whether they derive, for instance, from the fact that kids are sick less frequently must, for the time being, remain undetermined. We are of the opinion that is a sensible, responsible and financially feasible way to provide simple and effective help for people with Down Syndrome. Dr. Gelb, Targeted Nutritional Intervention in kids with Down’s Syndrome J.J.padiat. prax 59, 703-708 (2001) Hans Marseille Verlag GmbH Muchen.

Later research, has apparently shown that these early succeses do NOT evolve into Permanent intelligence gains.

7… LATEST HOPES With Smart Drugs and so on, on improving the intelligence and IQ in those with Down Syndrome:

There is currently a smart drug undergoing human trials in the USA. The manufacturers are seeking FDA approval for it as a treatment for Down Syndrome! They have apparently found a way to get NGF through the blood brain barrier. We can now hope for much bigger improvements in our kids’s abilities.

The Stanford University Medical Centre has just been funded (2003) to aggressively seek out ways of improving memory, learning and cognition in those with Down Syndrome. They hope to have a drug that reverses the mental retardation in ten years. They believe it is one extra gene that causes the disability, so by finding a drug to reduce the gene’s ‘output’ by a third should solve the problem; irrespective of the person’s age!

For more about smart drugs on adults and kids with Down Syndrome, as well as opportunities via smart drugs, that may await adults with Down Syndrome, go to our webpage on smart drugs.

8… Improving the FUNCTIONING and APPEARANCE of Intelligence of those with Down Syndrome:

One of the big things you’ll hear about is number rehearsal as a treatment for those with Down Syndrome.

Having your kid hear a number then say it back to you. The goal is to get your kid to master about 5 to 7 numbers in one go: That is, you say five numbers with a one second delay between each number, after which the kid says it back to you.

This is believed to improve functioning intelligence – little improvement in Intelligence Quotients IQ’s, but it means you have helped your kid develop a better short term memory, which means they can learn things a bit easier and follow instructions that are more ‘normal’, giving the appearance of a higher intelligence.

Thanks to “Down Syndrome Einstein” group for coming up with this one.

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