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DMR Eligibility Decision by H.O. Silver 5 6 08

Date: 
05/06/2008
Author: 
Silver
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Outcome: eligible
Keyword: brain injury, mental illness, adaptive skill deficits, test validity of ABAS-II

Hearing Officer: Elizabeth Silver
Counsel present for DMR: Cynthia Gagne
Appellant present: No
Hearing Officer decision: 5/6/08
Appeal confirmed by Commissioner: 5/12/08

The appellant, 20, was diagnosed in various reports with PTSD, schizoaffective disorder, impulse control disorder, psychiatric crisis, depression, anxiety, developmental delay, mood disorder, traumatic encephalopathy, seizure disorder, complete loss of hearing in the right ear and significant loss in the left, and complete visual loss in the right eye, S/P post traumatic brain injury, intermittent explosive disorder, R/O dysthymia, and bipolar II disorder.

Seven test results were entered into the evidence.

Year

Test

Age

Score

Diagnosis in report

Verb.

Perf.

Full

2004

WJ-III

16

 

 

56

The evaluator reported that the appellent's academic skills were negligible.  Compared to others at his grade level, the appellant had very low oral language skills and very low broad reading, mathematics, math calculation skills, written language, and written expression. 

2004

PPVT-III Form A

16

 

 

63

 

2004

EVT

16

 

 

54

 

2004

CELF 3

16

 

 

50

In summary of these 3 tests (PPVT-III Form A, EVT, and CELF-3), the evaluator concluded that the appellant demonstrated a severe receptive and expressive language disorder.

2006

ABAS-II

18

 

 

88

It was unclear who the tester was and how long he had worked with the appellant, making the results of this test problematic.  Some answers were contradictory to the appellant's social worker's findings.

2007

WAIS-III

19

61

57

59

The evaluator concluded that these scores fall solidly in the mild mentally retarded range of functioning. 

2008

SIB-R

20

 

 

73

This score was more than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean.

 

The hearing officer found that the appellant meets the criteria for DMR's definition of Significantly Sub-average Intellectual Functioning and is eligible for DMR services.  The hearing officer found it difficult to distinguish the appellant's emotional and psychiatric issues from his cognitive deficits, but nonetheless found the WAIS-III scores to be an accurate reflection of his cognitive abilities.  His school reports, neurological assessments, and the WJ-III also indicate that he is mildly mentally retarded.

With respect to the appellant's adaptive limitations, the hearing officer found the SIB-R report more credible than the ABAS-II since the SIB-R was rated by someone who knew and worked with the appellant for over two years.

The hearing officer also stated that the appellant's cognitive difficulties, behavioral issues, and loss of vision and hearing appear to stem from the head injury he suffered as a child.  Considering the age when the appellant sustained this injury, the appellant's disorders clearly began long before he turned 18.  The hearing officer also found that the appellant's adaptive limitations exist concurrently with his significantly sub-average intellectual functioning. 

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