Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/01 - Specified Disability: Dyspraxia and Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)
Specified Disability: Dyspraxia and Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)
Background: The appellant is 16 years of age and is in fifth year at his local Community College. His mother had been in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance until he reached 16 years of age, when he was invited to apply for Disability Allowance. When his claim was disallowed, he made an appeal and his parents also made a written submission on his behalf.
Oral hearing: The appellant was accompanied by his parents. At the outset, the issue was explained and the Appeals Officer advised as to all the documents that were on the appeal file, including the Deciding Officer’s decision and the appellant’s own letter of appeal. He also explained the appeals process itself in some detail.
The appellant gave a short account of his interests, which include watching sport. He gave an outline of the work experience programme he had participated in when he was in Transition Year and said that the experience had been a positive one. His parents said that they considered the appellant had significant challenges, making reference to points outlined in his mother’s written submission. At her request, and with the agreement of the appellant, the Appeals Officer spoke with the appellant’s mother and the appellant and his father left the hearing room.
The appellant’s mother outlined the challenges experienced by her son. She drew particular attention to his difficulties with concentration span and memory, his co-ordination difficulties and motor challenges. She reported that he had difficulty with crowds and that he tended to withdraw from people. She stated that he had been the subject of constant teasing by classmates, particularly because of his co-ordination challenges and perceived clumsiness. She said that he did not engage in sports at all, and spent his time at home, watching television or on the computer. She made reference to his poor self-esteem and lack of confidence. She provided a medical report from her son’s G.P., in which it was stated that he is nervous and shy; he finds it difficult to function in social settings especially if in large groups, and he requires assistance and supervision at home and in school.
Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer observed that the appellant presented as a pleasant and friendly young man, who engaged well and was quite animated about his interests. He considered that he had underplayed the challenges he faces, which were evidenced by way of the medical reports and his parents’ submissions.
The Appeals Officer noted the details outlined in the medical reports which accompanied the appellant’s claim form, including the specialist reports referring to speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, and the Paediatrician’s and Psychologist’s reports. He noted also that in completing the ability/disability profile on the claim form, his G.P. had assessed the appellant as follows:
- Mental Health/Behaviour – affected to a moderate degree
- Learning/Intelligence – affected to a moderate degree
- Balance/Co-ordination – affected to a moderate to severe degree
- Manual Dexterity – affected to a moderate degree
- Speech – affected to a mild degree
The Appeals Officer noted that the appellant was reported to have difficulties functioning in social settings, challenges with concentration and memory, and problems with co-ordination and motor skills. He noted his G.P.’s report and assessment and his statement that the appellant requires assistance and supervision at home and in school, although he had not been approved for Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support. The Appeals Officer noted also that Domiciliary Care Allowance had been paid in respect of the appellant until he reached 16 years of age and, in this, that it had been accepted that his medical condition was such that he required substantially more care and attention than persons of his own age, who do not have a disability.
He noted that the appellant completed his Junior Certificate and had been granted three hours of resource teaching a week. He noted that the appellant had no real work experience, other than a week or so as part of a Transition Year programme. In that regard, he noted that his parents had drawn attention in their submission to the significant challenges which had arisen when the appellant was in a work placement.
The Appeals Officer concluded that the evidence indicated that the appellant required support, guidance and close supervision. He considered that he would be unable, at this point, to undertake work in an environment which could not offer him close and attentive supervision, substantially more than persons of his own age and experience would normally require. On balance, and having close regard to all the available evidence, including the appellant’s own written submission, his parents’ letter of appeal and the oral evidence which had been provided throughout the course of the oral hearing, he concluded that it had been established that the appellant, at this time, could be held to be substantially restricted in line with the governing legislative provisions.
Decision of the Appeals Officer: The appeal is allowed.
Decision reason(s): Disability Allowance may be paid where a person is substantially restricted in undertaking work which would otherwise be suitable with reference to their age, experience and qualifications and the specified disability must be expected to continue for at least one year.
Taking careful regard of all the available evidence, I decide that the appellant has established that he is substantially restricted in line with Social Welfare legislative provisions. In the circumstances, the appeal succeeds.