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Documentation

  1. The presence of a mental disorder in a child must be documented on the basis of reports from acceptable sources of medical evidence. See §§ 404.1513 and 416.913. Descriptions of functional limitations may be available from these sources, either in the form of standardized test results or in other medical findings supplied by the sources, or both. (Medical findings consist of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings.) Whenever possible, a medical source's findings should reflect the medical source's consideration of information from parents or other concerned individuals who are aware of the child's activities of daily living, social functioning, and ability to adapt to different settings and expectations, as well as the medical source's findings and observations on examination, consistent with standard clinical practice. As necessary, information from nonmedical sources, such as parents, should also be used to supplement the record of the child's functioning to establish the consistency of the medical evidence and longitudinality of impairment severity.
  2. For some newborn and younger infants, it may be very difficult to document the presence or severity of a mental disorder. Therefore, with the exception of some genetic diseases and catastrophic congenital anomalies, it may be necessary to defer making a disability decision until the child attains 3 months of age in order to obtain adequate observation of behavior or affect. See, also, 110.00 of this part. This period could be extended in cases of premature infants depending on the degree of prematurity and the adequacy of documentation of their developmental and emotional status.
  3. For infants and toddlers, programs of early intervention involving occupational, physical, and speech therapists, nurses, social workers, and special educators, are a rich source of data. They can provide the developmental milestone evaluations and records on the fine and gross motor functioning of these children. This information is valuable and can complement the medical examination by a physician or psychologist. A report of an interdisciplinary team that contains the evaluation and signature of an acceptable medical source is considered acceptable medical evidence rather than supplemental data.
  4. In children with mental disorders, particularly those requiring special placement, school records are a rich source of data, and the required reevaluations at specified time periods can provide the longitudinal data needed to trace impairment progression over time.
  5. In some cases where the treating sources lack expertise in dealing with mental disorders of children, it may be necessary to obtain evidence from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or pediatrician with experience and skill in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders as they appear in children. In these cases, however, every reasonable effort must be made to obtain the records of the treating sources, since these records will help establish a longitudinal picture that cannot be established through a single purchased examination.
  6. Reference to a "standardized psychological test" indicates the use of a psychological test measure that has appropriate validity, reliability, and norms, and is individually administered by a qualified specialist. By "qualified," we mean the specialist must be currently licensed or certified in the State to administer, score, and interpret psychological tests and have the training and experience to perform the test.
  7. Psychological tests are best considered as standardized sets of tasks or questions designed to elicit a range of responses. Psychological testing can also provide other useful data, such as the specialist's observations regarding the child's ability to sustain attention and concentration, relate appropriately to the specialist, and perform tasks independently (without prompts or reminders). Therefore, a report of test results should include both the objective data and any clinical observations.
  8. The salient characteristics of a good test are: (1) Validity, i.e., the test measures what it is supposed to measure; (2) reliability, i.e., the consistency of results obtained over time with the same test and the same individual; (3) appropriate normative data, i.e., individual test scores can be compared to test data from other individuals or groups of a similar nature, representative of that population; and (4) wide scope of measurement, i.e., the test should measure a broad range of facets/aspects of the domain being assessed. In considering the validity of a test result, we should note and resolve any discrepancies between formal test results and the child's customary behavior and daily activities.
  9. Identical IQ scores obtained from different tests do not always reflect a similar degree of intellectual functioning. The IQ scores in listing 112.05 reflect values from tests of general intelligence that have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15, e.g., the Wechsler series. IQs obtained from standardized tests that deviate from a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15 require conversion to a percentile rank so that the actual degree of limitation reflected by the IQ scores can be determined. In cases where more than one IQ is customarily derived from the test administered, e.g., where verbal, performance, and full scale IQs are provided in the Wechsler series, the lowest of these is used in conjunction with listing 112.05.
  10. IQ test results must also be sufficiently current for accurate assessment under 112.05. Generally, the results of IQ tests tend to stabilize by the age of 16. Therefore, IQ test results obtained at age 16 or older should be viewed as a valid indication of the child's current status, provided they are compatible with the child's current behavior. IQ test results obtained between ages 7 and 16 should be considered current for 4 years when the tested IQ is less than 40, and for 2 years when the IQ is 40 or above. IQ test results obtained before age 7 are current for 2 years if the tested IQ is less than 40 and 1 year if at 40 or above.
  11. Standardized intelligence test results are essential to the adjudication of all cases of mental retardation that are not covered under the provisions of listings 112.05A, 112.05B, and 112.05F. Listings 112.05A, 112.05B, and 112.05F may be the bases for adjudicating cases where the results of standardized intelligence tests are unavailable, e.g., where the child's young age or condition precludes formal standardized testing.
  12. In conjunction with clinical examinations, sources may report the results of screening tests, i.e., tests used for gross determination of level of functioning. Screening instruments may be useful in uncovering potentially serious impairments, but often must be supplemented by other data. However, in some cases the results of screening tests may show such obvious abnormalities that further testing will clearly be unnecessary.
  13. Where reference is made to developmental milestones, this is defined as the attainment of particular mental or motor skills at an age-appropriate level, i.e., the skills achieved by an infant or toddler sequentially and within a given time period in the motor and manipulative areas, in general understanding and social behavior, in self-feeding, dressing, and toilet training, and in language. This is sometimes expressed as a developmental quotient (DQ), the relation between developmental age and chronological age as determined by specific standardized measurements and observations. Such tests include, but are not limited to, the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and the Revised Stanford-Binet. Formal tests of the attainment of developmental milestones are generally used in the clinical setting for determination of the developmental status of infants and toddlers.
  14. Formal psychological tests of cognitive functioning are generally in use for preschool children, for primary school children, and for adolescents except for those instances noted below.
  15. Generally, it is preferable to use IQ measures that are wide in scope and include items that test both verbal and performance abilities. However, in special circumstances, such as the assessment of children with sensory, motor, or communication abnormalities, or those whose culture and background are not principally English-speaking, measures such as the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, Third Edition (TONI-3), Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised (Leiter-R), or Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III) may be used.
  16. We may consider exceptions to formal standardized psychological testing when an individual qualified by training and experience to perform such an evaluation is not available, or in cases where appropriate standardized measures for the child's social, linguistic, and cultural background are not available. In these cases, the best indicator of severity is often the level of adaptive functioning and how the child performs activities of daily living and social functioning.
  17. Comprehensive neuropsychological examinations may be used to establish the existence and extent of compromise of brain function, particularly in cases involving organic mental disorders. Normally these examinations include assessment of cerebral dominance, basic sensation and perception, motor speed and coordination, attention and concentration, visual-motor function, memory across verbal and visual modalities, receptive and expressive speech, higher-order linguistic operations, problem-solving, abstraction ability, and general intelligence. In addition, there should be clinical interview geared toward evaluating pathological features known to occur frequently in neurological disease and trauma, e.g., emotional lability, abnormality of mood, impaired impulse control, passivity and apathy, or inappropriate social behavior. The specialist performing the examination may administer one of the commercially available comprehensive neuropsychological batteries, such as the Luria-Nebraska or Halstead-Reitan, or a battery of tests selected as relevant to the suspected brain dysfunction. The specialist performing the examination must be properly trained in this area of neuroscience.

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You need no money to hire Attorney Donald H. Peters

(248) 549-3485
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Call Social Security Professionals now to discuss your claim for free

You need no money to hire Attorney Donald H. Peters

(248) 549-3485
FREE CONSULTATION

Southfield Lawyer Donald Peters of the Law Office of Donald H. Peters, P.C. in Southfield, Michigan, handles Social Security Disability claims throughout Michigan and in the Tri-County Metro Detroit area including Detroit, Southfield, Novi, Warren, Royal Oak, Roseville, Livonia, Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights, Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Berkley, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor, Eastpointe, Waterford, Flint, Canton, Taylor, Romulus, Westland, Clinton Township, Troy, Dearborn, Brighton, Howell, Pontiac, Rochester Hills,  as well as Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Ingham County, and Livingston County, Michigan.

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