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DMR Eligibility Decision by H.O. Deirdre Rosenberg 9/23/07

Date: 
09/23/2007
Author: 
Deirdre Rosenberg

Outcome: Denied

Keyword: sub-test scores, adaptive skills

Hearing Officer: Deirdre Rosenberg

Counsel present for Appellant: Tim Sindelar

Counsel present for DMR: Douglas White

Hearing Officer decision: Sept. 23, 2007

Appeal confirmed by Commissioner: Oct. 5, 2007

 

The hearing officer considered whether the appellant qualified for DMR services by reason of mental retardation as defined in 115 CMR 6.03(1). The Appellant had a diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder-NOS. The hearing was in response to a June 15, 2006 denial of the Appellant’s application for DMR supports.

 

Appellant was a 21 year old male and lived with his family in Lexington, MA. Throughout his schooling, he received special education services and other modifications. He passed the MCAS and the requirements for graduating high school; however, he chose not to accept his diploma. After high school, he worked for an organization called Work Opportunities Unlimited. During the time of this meeting, he worked at a local restaurant prepping food.

 

Year

Test

Age

Score

Diagnosis in report

Verb.

Perf.

Full

1997

WISC-III

11

67

77

70

Examiner said the 10 point difference between Verb and Perf was insignificant

2003

WAIS-III

17

76

76

74

Examiner described him as a “happy young man who is comfortable in his home and school environments.”

 

DMR’s eligibility psychologist for the Northeast Region testified at the hearing that the 1997 WISC-III test revealed that Appellant’s scores were borderline, average, or in the low average range for mental retardation. The DMR psychologist did not have the 2003 WAIS-III test when she denied his application for DMR supports. The DMR psychologist also reviewed the results of an Adaptive Behavior Assessment System test from 5/10/2006, and concluded that Appellant did not meet the DMR criteria for adaptive skill deficits.

 

DMR denied the Appellant’s application for two reasons:1) DMR concluded that Appellant’s WISC-III and WAIS-III tests demonstrated that his IQ level fell “on the cusp” of the IQ range where an individual may be classified as mentally retarded (“an IQ range of approximately 70-75 or below”) 2) DMR concluded from his ABAS-II test that Appellant demonstrated the required ability to perform adaptive skills. DMR also supported its position by citing the Appellant’s mother’s testimony about his ability to perform household chores.

 

While acknowledging that the case was “a close call,” the Hearing Officer deferred to the DMR Psychologist’s professional opinion that Appellant’s sub-test scores give a more accurate picture of his intellectual abilities than do his full scale IQ numbers. The Hearing Officer added that even if she disagreed with the DMR Psychologist’s conclusion regarding the intellectual abilities, she would uphold DMR’s decision regarding eligibility “because he does not demonstrate the necessary related limitations in adaptive skills” as evidenced by the ABAS-II and the mother’s testimony.

 

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