Wanted: new measuring stick?

The courts have ruled Community Living British Columbia can't use IQ test results to decide who receives services for the developmentally disabled. In a judgment handed down on Monday, provincial Supreme Court Justice Eric Chamberlist found the Crown corporation - which restricts adult service access to those with IQs lower than 70 - doesn't have the statutory authority to use those results as a screener.

Speaking with Public Eye, New Democrat children and family development critic Adrian Dix called the ruling "one of the most significant in this area that we've ever seen and one that will have a profound impact on government policy" - opening doors for those have been denied access to community living services. "There are many, many, many cases of adults who clearly need those services - who need 24/7 care - who, not withstanding that, have relatively high IQs."

Mr. Dix warned Campbell administration against changing the law so that Community Living British Columbia can circumvent the ruling and continue to use the IQ screener. "That would be wrong. They need to take this opportunity to recognize IQ tests are no longer the right method to determine who has access and who doesn't have access to services for adults with developmental disabilities."

The judgement is the result of a petition brought forward by Fiona Gow, whose adopted teenage son was denied assistance from the corporation when he turned 19 because his IQ is 79 - this, despite a psychological report that found "although Neil (Fahlman)'s IQ scores were not in the range that defines eligibility for services from Community Living Services, his adaptive behaviour was markedly challenged...Health and safety issues are relevant here. Without the support now in place Neil would be extremely vulnerable to his own aggressiveness and impulsivity. He could do significant harm to himself and the community without support."

8 Comments

Can we use political affiliation as a screener for who qualifies as developementally disabled?

Absolutely!

The problem then becomes that the only people qualifying as developmentally disabled would be those in support of anything New Democrat.....

...gosh, how we don't want the body politic thinking that the left wing is taking advantage of some arm of government!!!

Can you get us a backdated memo on that Adrian?????

On a serious note, both sides of the aisle have to find some consensus on this very important issue. Dix, as usual, is all critique and no answers. Come up with some options to the current crippled system, which is clearly leaving people behind!

This is a very good decision. IQ levels are an incredibly crude instrument for gauging an individual's capacity to cope unaided in the adult world -- recall Dustin Hoffman's classic "Rainman" performing remarkable mathematical feats but stumped by shoelaces.

In BC's brave new world, Rainman would try to survive alone in the Downtown Eastside unless a kindly friend or relative offered to look after him for life. (...and real life Rainmen can be 250 pounds and prone to intense tantrums.) The Feds have far more appropriate criteria to assess tax credit eligibility for those who don't fit in a world designed for a far narrower range of profiles than exists in the actual population.

The IQ 70 limit also targets the bulge of youths with Autism Spectrum Disorder now approaching adulthood and relates to families' dismay over Minister Hagen's broken promise to keep autism services out of CLBC. It's a cruel, cynical way to make problems disappear, just like other CLBC "innovations", e.g. gutting social workers' monitoring roles, shifting to informal, unsupervised residential models, institutionalizing waitlists to ration services, etc.

Deputy Minister Du Toit should take note that this is what happens to "innovation", "respect and dignity", "honesty and integrity", "person-centred planning", etc, when you include the mandate to "highlight Ministry accomplishments" while cutting/underfunding services that must nevertheless remain "affordable and sustainable."

Premier Campbell, Minister Hagen and their appointees at CLBC understand this all very clearly. Does Ms. Du Toit get it yet?

It simply confirms my assessment of IQ as a poor indicator of human capacity that A.G. Tsakumis finds it funny to insult his political opponents by comparing them to the developmentally disabled.

My 13-year old autistic son could teach him volumes about what it means to be a mature, whole human being.

"Does Ms. Du Toit get it yet?"

Probably not.

Too busy tightening the chain on her mountain
bike to prepare for a ride on the Galloping Goose Trail.

Agree Dawn in regards to A. Tsakumis.

Maybe he should look in the mirror and see if
he sees someone who is actually possessing intelligence. I would guess think not.


Monday's Supreme Court ruling on the use of IQ to determine eligibility for services is a landmark decision for people with disabilities in BC and a giant step into the 21st century for our province's system of supports for people with disabilities.

IQ never did and never will provide much useful information about the supports people need. The intelligence tests originally developed by Binet had a benevolent purpose - to identify children who needed additional assistance in school. Binet himself strongly opposed the notion of a numerical IQ - especially as a measure of innate intelligence. Unfortunately, eugenicist psychologists in the U.S. soon perverted Binet's tests into a hereditarian version which they claimed would identify people who had "the gene" for "feeblemindedness".

Despite the flawed genetic theorizing (there is no single gene for intelligence, for starters) and dubious intentions of those early proponents of intelligence testing, the use of IQ quickly gained popularity. While the widespread adoption of testing and IQ usage did much to advance the credibility and status of psychologists as the new "social scientists", it meant disaster for many people with disabilities, as thousands in the US, Canada and elsewhere were targeted for institutionalization, sterilization and - in the case of Germany's so-called "euthanasia" program - murder.

In BC, IQ has been used for decades as a convenient means of limiting the number of people considered eligible to receive "community living" supports. Monday's Supreme Court decision confirms what informed observers have long recognized - that IQ is a crude and arbitrary measure of people's need for supports. One would hope that this long-overdue decision will now lead to the adoption of a more enlightened approach to determining who needs supports and what those supports should be. The shift to a new approach will certainly present its own challenges, but the move away from IQ-based eligibility criteria is a necessary and inevitable step in the evolution of this provinces service system.

As Dawn Steele suggests, it will no doubt take longer for our society to mature to a point where people no longer make thoughtless jokes at the expense of people with intellectual disabilities. The ignorance and arrogance that led to the development of IQ and the labels and classification systems with which IQ is associated, are still ingrained in our thinking and in the social structures we have created.

My guess is that the inclusion of people like Dawn's son in our communities and our everyday lives is the only thing that can ultimately change attitudes and behaviour. He and others will teach us the things that the pioneers of psychology and psychometrics failed to learn for themselves - humility, respect and the value of human diversity.

I think it's unfortunate that Ms. Steele and Mr. Mandels have chosen to take my statements above out of context. Unfortunate, but not surprising at all, considering the source(s).

Instead of showing us that they actually are capable of some reading comprehension, they took the expedient route and launched ad hominem attacks against me because I took a swipe at their nutter party of choice, the NDP.

I am so very sorry if I offended the windbag contingent of the NDP.

Ms. Steele and Mr. Mandels should put in for some of those up and coming assistants jobs.

The NDP are always in need of sock puppets.

My comments above were clearly in jest, and if you bothered to read the previous posting to mine, as an extension, I was simply making light of that comment, and not the developmentally disabled.

Perhaps it is you Ms. Steele that should not be trotting out your autistic son as a level to my obviously off the cuff banter. Were you trying to say that there is something 'lesser' about being either autistic or young? Or were you just trying to be cheap? I suspect, a little of both.

Thanks for that useful background, Mr. Ford. Unfortunately, the recent (unanimous!) approval of Bill 33 shows how far our legislators and teachers are out of step with the times. Bill 33 singles out and sets classroom quotas on students with identified special needs under the guise of resolving the challenges of teaching diverse classrooms.

Mr. Tsakumis, I'm happily self-employed, thank you. My son and I believe that autism, with its unique gifts and challenges, is quite an appropriate topic for polite conversation -- not something to hide or be ashamed of.

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