Should IQ Decide Who Gets Services?
By Michelle Diament
July 31, 2012 Text Size A A
In many states, eligibility for disability services is largely defined by whether or not a person scores 70 or below on an IQ test. But a panel of judges is now questioning the practice.
The state of Massachusetts is being ordered to reevaluate its approach for assessing individuals with disabilities after an appeals court ruled last week that the state’s Department of Developmental Services relied too much on IQ score.
The ruling came in a case involving Paula Tartarini, a 45-year-old woman who was denied services after scoring 71 on an IQ test even though she depends on her mother to make her meals and manage her money.
State officials insisted that they consider “clinical judgement” in addition to IQ, but the court said that the state failed to explain why it relied so heavily on an intelligence score and ordered the agency to reconsider Tartarini’s case, reports The Boston Globe. To read more click here.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled last week that the state agency that serves people with intellectual disabilities has failed to justify why it established an IQ score of 70 or below as a major criterion to qualify for services.
As part of the decision, the appeals court judges ordered the state to reevaluate its denial of a 45-year-old Swampscott woman, largely because of her having an IQ score of 71.
The decision was hailed by groups for the intellectually disabled, which have argued that the state’s measure of intelligence is too rigid. But state officials maintain that their criteria go far beyond IQ test results, including how well applicants function in society. The state has made no decision yet about whether to appeal Monday’s ruling to the Supreme Judicial Court, or adjust its regulatory language in response to the decision.