DDS Eligibility Decision by H.O. Adamo, 2010-22
Keyword: variability of IQ scores
Hearing Officer: Adamo
Counsel present for Appellant: no
Counsel present for DDS: Elizabeth Duffy
Appellant present: yes
Hearing Officer decision: 2010
Commissioner letter: 2010
Diagnosis regarding MR in report (or info on disability affecting result of testing)
Appellant scored within the normal range of intelligence after her exposure to lead.
Score possibly influenced by medication for behavioral issues.
Noted that diagnoses of ADHD and bipolar could influence test results. Little weight given to this assessment because of Appellant’s mood swings.
Reference to past diagnoses of ADHD and bipolar, as well as the fact that Appellant was in the process of changing medications
Score viewed as minimal estimate of intellectual potential. Given doctor’s cautionary note, little weight was given to this assessment.
Significant signs and symptoms of mental retardation but in addition signs and symptoms of emotional issues. Minimal weight given to the diagnosis of Mild Mental Retardation due to the doctor’s statements regarding the possible impact of Appellant’s emotional issues on her adaptive functioning.
Tested as “mentally deficient.” Weight was given to the fact that the doctor found these results to be a valid estimate of Appellant’s current functioning and that this score was in the mentally deficient range of intelligence.
Verbal and Perceptual Reasoning both average. Deficits may be related to executive functioning. Used to affirm DDS’s assessment that Appellant is capable of functioning above the range of intelligence necessary for a diagnosis of Mental Retardation.
Diagnosis regarding MR in report, if any (or info on disability affecting result of testing)
Functional Behavioral Assessment
Three main areas of concern: (1) arguing/complaining, (2) tantrums, (3) unsafe behaviors.
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 was exposed to and treated for lead poisoning at approximately age two. Appellant attended a head start preschool program with special interventions due to gross and fine motor delays which appeared to be related to the lead poisoning. Appellant has been on medications for behavioral issues since the age of four. At age five, Appellant was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Later diagnoses include Psychotic Disorder NOS, ADHS, PDD, PTSD and Mood Disorder NOS. The Appellant testified that she had been a victim of sexual abuse.
The DDS Psychologist testified that variability in IQ scores is not typical of someone with mental retardation, and that in his opinion, Appellant does not meet the criteria for service eligibility from DDS. Also testified that a person cannot score out of the range of Mental Retardation if (s)he does not have the capacity to do so.
The hearing officer examined the results of each of the Appellant’s IQ tests to assess which of the scores is the most valid reflection of her IQ. (see chart above)
The hearing officer concluded that the Appellant’s final score of 80 was likely a correct assessment of her cognitive ability. Because Appellant does not have an IQ score at or below 70, she does not meet the first prong of the DDS definition of mentally retarded. Appellant’s psychiatric disorders and medication are likely the cause of Appellant’s lower scores.