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K.C.T., A Minor, By Through His v. Michael J. Astrue

March 8, 2011

K.C.T., A MINOR, BY THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, TANESHI MADKINS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S.Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff K.C.T., by and through his guardian ad litem Taneshi Madkins (hereinafter referred to as "Ms. Madkins"), seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for child's supplemental security income, pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge.*fn1

FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS*fn2

Ms. Madkins filed an application for benefits on July 14, 2006. AR 68, 74, 101. After being denied both initially and upon reconsideration, Ms. Madkins requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 68, 74, 93. ALJ Christopher Larsen held a hearing on January 12, 2009. AR 32-44 . The ALJ issued a decision denying benefits on April 6, 2009. AR 14-25. On May 1, 2009, the Appeals Council denied review. AR 2-4.

Hearing Testimony

The hearing was held on April 3, 2008, in Fresno, California. AR 32. K.C.T was present and was represented by attorney Geoffrey L. Hayden. AR 34. K.C.T's father, Mr. Thurman testified at the hearing. AR 32-44.

Mr. Thurman testified that Plaintiff, who had no problems at birth, had speech difficulties that made him difficult to understand. AR 38-40. He reported that Plaintiff receives average grades in school and attends regular classes. AR 40, 43. He said that Plaintiff's hearing was normal but people, other than his parents, could not understand him. AR 42-43. He testified that Plaintiff was in the second grade, that he had friends, he can count change, and he can tell time on a digital clock. AR 42. He stated that Plaintiff attended speech counseling but without noticeable improvement or worsening. AR 42.

Medical Record

The entire medical record was reviewed by the Court. Summaries of the relevant reports and treatment notes are provided below.

The Opinion of Speech Pathologist, Terri Plake On October 11, 2006, Terri Plake, M.C.D., a speech and language specialist, evaluated Plaintiff at the age of four in connection with his disability application. AR 145-48. Ms. Plake noted that plaintiff's grandmother accompanied Plaintiff to the evaluation. AR 145. She observed that plaintiff was cooperative during the examination and demonstrated fluent speech throughout. AR 146. Ms. Plake also found Plaintiff's conversational intelligibility to be at sixty percent intelligible but noted that it improved with repetition. AR 146. She concluded that Plaintiff's language skills were in the low normal range and that with articulation therapy "the progress for complete remediation of [Plaintiff's] poor articulation [was] excellent." AR 147.

The Opinion of Psychologist, Kimball Hawkins On October 16, 2006, Kimball Hawkins, Ph.D., a psychologist, evaluated Plaintiff. AR 149-151. Dr. Hawkins observed that Plaintiff was not easy to understand and had poor articulation. AR 150. Dr. Hawkins summarized Plaintiff's abilities as follows:

* Communication Domain: Plaintiff used complex prepositions, asked questions when speaking, and spoke in short sentences but was not easy to understand, did not state both his first and last name when asked, and did not speak without sound substitutes (AR 150).

* Daily Living Skills: Plaintiff reported that he could dry himself with a towel, take care of his toileting, answer the phone, call someone to the phone, and dress himself with help, but he did not put his shoes on the ...


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