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DDS Eligibility Decision by H.O. Silver 2010-11

Date: 
01/01/2010
Author: 
Elizabeth Silver

 

Silver 2010-11

Outcome: ineligible

Keyword: adaptive functioning, score discrepancy

Hearing Officer: Elizabeth Silver

Counsel present for Appellant: no

Counsel present for DDS: Patricia Oney

Appellant present: yes

Hearing Officer Decision: 2010

Commissioner letter: 2010

 

IQ

 

Year

Test

Age

Verb

Perf

Full

Diagnosis regarding MR in report (or info on disability affecting result of testing)

2006

WISC-IV

14

 

 

54

VCI 59, PRI 79, VMI 54, PSI 43 Examiner found Appellant’s overall abilities to be within the Extremely Low Range, but score needed to be looked at with caution because of the significant discrepancy between VCI and PRI.  Appellant met the criteria for a language-based disability.

2006

WISC-IV

14

 

 

63

Six months later same test: VCI 61, PRI 82, WMI 71, and PSI 68. Significant inter-subtest scatter.

 

Axis 1 Diagnosis:  Tourette’s Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depressive Disorder NOS, R/O Psychotic Disorder NOS.

 

Axis 2: Mild Mental Retardation.

2006

W-J III

14

 

 

 

Basic Reading Skills 52, Academic Skills 61, Academic Apps 62 and Academic Knowledge 69.

2008

W-J III

17

 

 

 

Broad Reading 66 (very low), Broad Math 87 (low average), Basic Reading Skills 62 (very low), Math Calculation Skills 83 (low average) and Academic Skills 60.

2009

WAIS-IV

18

 

 

74

VCI 74, PRI 90, VMI 71, PSI 76. Scores placed Appellant in Below Average range. Difference between highest and lowest score was 19 pts. which was within the 1.5 standard deviations. 

2009

WASI

18

74

106

87

32 pt. difference between verbal and performance scores highly suggestive of a language based disability.

2009

W-J III

18

 

 

 

Broad reading 61 (very low), Broad Math 94 (average), Basic Reading Skills 63 (very low), Math Calculation Skills 95 (average), and Academic Skills 63.

               

 

FUNCTIONAL ABILITY

Year

Tests

Age

Score

Diagnosis regarding MR in report, if any (or info on disability affecting result of testing)

 

2006

Vineyard Adaptive Behavior Scales

14

 

Communication 41, Daily Living Skills 69, Socialization 62, Adaptive Behavior Composite 53. Scores showed a low level of adaptive functioning.

2009

Vineyard Adaptive Behavior Scales

18

 

Communication 81, Daily Living Skills 79, Socialization 74, Motor Skills (est) 78, Adaptive Behavior Composite 75. Scores Moderately Low but evaluator issued caveat that scores may indicate a higher level of functioning due to the fact the school is so structured and its possible Appellant would not score as well in a less structured environment such as the home.

2009

BASC-2

 

 

Self-report Composite T Scores: School Problems 65, Internalizing Problems 62, Inattention/Hyperactivity 63, Emotional Symptom Index 57, and Personal Adjustment 53. Teacher Report Composite T Scores: Externalizing Problems 63, Internalizing Problems 48, School Problems 50, Behavioral Symptom Index 60, Adaptive Skills 44.

 

Evaluator: Appellant not mildly mentally retarded because he demonstrated high average non-verbal reasoning with average non-verbal memory. Appellant’s scoring much more indicative of a language based disability that impacts his educational, social and emotional functioning.

 

Issue is whether Appellant is mentally retarded as defined in 115 CMR 2.01 (a person with significantly sub-average intellectual functioning existing concurrently and related to significant limitations in adaptive functioning).

 

Appellant is 18 years old. Appellant was held back in 1st and 2nd grade and received special education services throughout his schooling. Appellant has been diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, PDD and ADHD.  In regards to adaptive functioning, Appellant mange money, cook, clean and does not often remember to bathe herself. After increased aggressive behavior at home, Appellant was voluntarily signed to residential school. When he was at home, Appellant would often fly off the handle and attack family members. Appellant’s family expressed concern for their safety and that of the Appellant if he comes home after he graduates.  In regards to the Appellant’s cognitive functioning, Yolanda Claudio, social worker for DCF testified that she believed Appellant’s increased testing scores  could be due to exposure and familiarity with testing. She also testified that Appellant will always need assistance for daily activities and help taking his medication.

 

Dr. Crenshaw from the Department testified that he believed the Appellant was not mentally retarded but instead suffered from a verbal learning disability. Dr. Crenshaw noted that Appellant’s scores were within average limits in his visual spatial processing and borderline in his verbal processing. Over time, there was also some narrowing between the VCI and PRI scores  which suggests that Appellant continued to grow cognitively. Dr. Crenshaw concluded that Appellant did not meet the Department’s cognitive eligibility requirements because he has pronounced intellectual skills.  Dr. Crenshaw also testified  that the Appellant did not meet the Department’s adaptive functioning requirements because his 2009 Vineyard scores were above the DDS threshold.

 

The Hearing Officer concluded that Appellant did not meet the Department’s definition of mental retardation. In terms of the Appellant’s adaptive functioning, Appellant satisfies the eligibility requirements although his Vineyard scores exceed the Department’s threshold. The Hearing Officer decided that Appellant’s scores must be interpreted in light of the fact that behaviors, unlike intellect, can change from week to week, depending on the structuring of the environment. Appellant’s witnesses testified credibly that Appellant is incapable of living independently. In terms of the Appellant’s cognitive abilities, Appellant does not meet the Department’s criteria.  Although older scores met the eligibility requirements for the Department, Appellant’s most recent test scores however were above the Department’s regulatory threshold.  The Hearing Officer decided that Full Scale IQ was not determinative here because there is such a significant split between Verbal and Performance scores. Although the Appellant’s Verbal scores across the board fell in the extremely low to low end of borderline range, Appellant’s Performance scores generally fell in the low average to average range. A split in scores is generally more characteristic of a verbal learning disability than mental retardation. Appellant has demonstrated at least some cognitive functioning, i.e. average Performance scores, and therefore is outside of range of mental retardation.

 

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