Appeal denied by Commissioner on May 23, 2006
Keyword: Score Discrepancy, Learning disability, intellectual function
Hearing Officer: Deirdre Rosenberg
Counsel present for Appellant: Elaine W. Cockcroft (second hearing only)
Counsel present for DMR: Kim LaDue
Appellant present: Yes
Hearing Officer Decision on March 17, 2006
The appellant's primary diagnosis had been autism. In 1992, when he was seven, the appellant's WISC-R scores were verbal IQ of 90 and performance of 64. When he was 11, his scores were verbal IQ of 100 and performance of 75. In both assessments, full scale IQ scores were not computed due to the wide discrepancy between the verbal and performance scores. In the 2000 evaluation, the appellant received a verbal IQ of 94 and performance of 65. At this time, subtests suggested that the appellant's verbal comprehension scores were around the average range. DMR's expert stated that such a wide discrepancy was a result of a learning disability in certain areas rather than of mental retardation, because scores of mentally retarded individuals tended to be flat.
The appellant's parents alleged that the test did not capture his level of functioning. They expressed concerns about his behavior as to safety issues, as well as his obsession with steam and fire. They also testified that the appellant was not able to perform in the workplace and school without constant supervision.
The hearing officer found that the appellant did not meet the DMR's definition of mental retardation as set forth at 115 CMR 2.01. The hearing officer concluded his test profile suggested that he had a learning disability rather than mental retardation. The appellant's adaptive functioning was not considered.