Today, January 1, 2006, Mr. White decided to throw me a bone. At Overthrow.com, Bill White posted what he claims was a narrative written by a school psychologist referencing the problems that he was having in school. He also included a few of his own observations. I am going to republish that here with some very pointed commentary of my own. Suffice it to say…I believe this to be a fallacious document – and I believe that most will see why. It has been, however, a real insight into the real Bill White.
A Psychological Profile
1/1/2006 11:41:28 AM
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Dr Robert Mulcahy
Commentary -- [Bill: Long story here: Nicole Nichols of Citizens Against Hate questioned whether or not I have a 158 IQ, so I dug up all of my old school records and started going through them. My IQ was tested twice -- once, at age 7, at 158, and once, at age 14, at 152. IQs like that come along about once in every 40,000 to 50,000 people. What that means is that, right now, in the United States, out of all 280 million or so people, there are less than 7,000 other people who are as smart as me -- maybe less than 5,500.
In any case, while looking all of this up, I discovered an old psychological profile of me, which the school commissioned to determine why I was such a pain in the ass. This report was made February 2, 1994 by Robert Mulcahy, Montgomery County, MD school psychologist. I have deleted some personal details, like addresses, phone numbers, family members, etc.
And maybe you decided to “spruce” it up just a bit?
And for those who don't want to read to the end, what the guy concludes is that I'm a genius, not mentally ill, and the school system just isn't set up to deal with me. Read on:]
FALLACY #1: NO SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST would ever say that the school couldn’t deal with you. Once a school psychologist makes such a statement it holds the school district liable for expenses incurred through finding and teaching you in a more acceptable setting. According to what this man has stated, his report is based upon a one-hour session with you. Determining that a school-aged child cannot receive an appropriate education in one school district because of an inadequacy or lack of a suitable program or setting thus places the burden of the expense upon the school district for transportation and tuition to a school district or institution that can meet that students’ needs regardless of how unique those needs might be.
REASON FOR REFERRAL:
William ... was referred by the Office of Special and Alternative Progframs of the Montgomery County Public Schools of Rockville, Maryland. A psychological review and interview were requested in order to assist in program and placement planning.
Information presented here is based on review of the following documents and interview data: [long list of names of tests and so forth]
And your failure to include the names of those tests along with findings speaks volumes. If you are attempting to “prove” a point, you conveniently left out those things which would have proven much more valid than anything written here.
... The history in this case is rather complex, and during the past three years or so, numerous social-interactional problems have emerged exclusively within the school environment which have involved multiple school suspensions, several changes in placement ... and a relatively intensive level of staff involvement from Montgomery County administrative personnel.
The terminology “changes in placement” is a phrase that is used in conjunction with special education students. What this insinuates is that you were, at some point on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), undoubtedly for behaviors that were inhibiting you in some way. I am not attempting to characterize you as someone who is mentally handicapped or learning disabled as there are many other reasons for such a placement – behavioral and emotional disorders to name but two.
During this time, there have been private and public psychiatric and psychological evaluation, [and] a ... diagnosis of Oppositional and Defiant Disorder ...
I would be interested in knowing what was left out of that sentence. You see, If you had a private axis diagnosis of Oppositional and Defiant Disorder, by a qualified psychiatrist, there would have, undoubtedly, been further discussion. ODD is almost always accompanied by another – sometimes more pervasive – disorder.
Since the ninth grade, among other things, William was reportedly defaced school property; has been implicated in the pirating of confidential information from a County computer network; has been suspended from school on a number of occassions from three to ten days; has been defianty and verbally abusive to teachers; he was behaviorally impulsive [at age 14] and threatening to the principal of ... High School which required the intervention of the local police department and resulted in a charge of Battery against William [of which I was acquitted].
That sort of aggressive behavior over such a lengthy period of time is generally met with a psychological battery of tests being administered. However, if you already had an axis diagnosis of ODD and whatever other problems you may have had, there would have been no need of additional assessment – only a change in placement. Additionally, ODD is very close to CD (Conduct Disorder) which is a much more pernicious malady.
Psychological an educational testing support the sense that William clearly meets the criteria for a student who is gifted and talented. his Full Scal IQ has twice been valuated as being above 150; his academic achievement is well within the superior to very superior range across the board. William is also a talented writer who was the .. author of a student "newspaper" that purportedly endorsed "leftist utopian anarchy."
Many individuals who are emotionally disturbed display great skills and abilities in the areas of writing and art. However, I am having a little difficulty here because he references a Full Scale IQ yet no mention of other scores. Perhaps that is in the material that you chose to delete.
At this point, concerns regarding the appropriate level of educational service and the potential need for additional mental health support within the school environment has been raised. William remained at home for a period of time before he recentlybegan to attend ... High School. Underlying this interview process was the question regarding whether or not William could effectively manage within a mainstream public high school without further disruptive behavior. ... For his part, William claims that his difficulties are behind him, and he insists that he is capable of managing the challenges of of a regular high school program ...
Acceptance of the problem is the first step in becoming healthy. Obviously, you had not reached that point – are you there yet?
Before we get into this narrative, I need to tell you that one of the problems that plagues school districts as well as mental health providers is that often the findings of the private sector are much more accurate and conclusive than those in the educational arena. Those who practice “school psychology” are generally very proficient at finding academic strengths and weaknesses but are sorely lacking in the areas of specific pathologies. Additionally, definitions given by the private sector are not always in agreement with those used by the public schools.
William presented as a 16 year ... old male who was seen on February 2, 1994 form 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The session took place at the MCPS Offices of the Diagnostic and Professional Support Team in Rockville, Maryland. Overall, William's response to the interview process was positive.
The session included discussion of William's current mental health status, the circumstances surrounding his former placement difficulties, his current and future academic interests and personal plans, and an interview designed to establish his potential needs for the provision of academic and non-academic support services.
William maintained a relatively consistent approach during this hour-long session which was characterized by an open, honest style, excellent attention to task, good cooperation, and a non-defensive, introspective, forthright analysis of his issues and conflicts. Yet, it is difficult to know at what level whe was able to completely trust the process and to reveal the depth and complexity of his real psychosocial issues.
The highlighted part is a disclaimer that merely covers the psychologist’s ass. His glowing comments are only there to persuade the reader that he believes that his findings are valid and that you didn’t try to hoodwink him – but, he can’t be sure.
As a communicator, William possesses outstanding expressive and receptive language. His vocabulary skills were highly developed, poignant, humorous, exact, and frequently thought provoking. There is a real sense that he listens carefully when being spoken to, and that he has a natural gift for rapidly cutting to the heart of an issue, exposing any inaccuracies or logical flaws that may be present, and immediately demonstrating by both verbal and non- verbal means that he has grasped the speaker's intent. At the same time, there was evidence to suggest that, depending on the topic under discussion, William's mind works so quickly, that his pseech and expressive language skills are not always able to keep up the pace. [I still do this sometimes, bur rarely. It sounds like stuttering.] This results in William becoming dissatisfied and mild yfrustrated with his own ability to verbally capture accurately the depth and full meaning behind his thoughts. Thus, depending upon the issue, there is sometimes a feeling of pressured speech about him as he interacts. His verbal ability and cognitive skills are nevertheless very rare.
Bullshit. No “psychologist” – school or otherwise writes this sort of editorial fluff in a professional narrative.
Physically, William is a strong, good-looking, well-developed, somewhat husky adolescent with brown eyes and brown hair. At 6' 2", he is well above average height (95th %ile) and, at 200 lbs, also well above average (98th %ile) weight for his age. When interacting with William, one gets the sense that this is a young man who expects to be taken seriously and respected. He seems to actively seek some form of unique significance and has an almost haughty disdain for any and all of the mundane aspects of life. In a sense, one gets the feeling that William could easily be Dostoervski's prototype of the nihilist adolescent. As he lounges there listening with his long legs propper up on a nearby desk, stroking his sparse goatee, there is a tired, whimsical, sarcastic grin on his face, an adult-like manner in the way he attends, a piercing brilliance in his eyes, and a feeling that his brain is taking in and dissecting the semantic social and political significance of each and every word and phrase he hears. The speaker becomes quickly aware of just how advanced William's conversational skills are as he effortlessly proceeds to tear an argument to shreds in a matter of moments, counters with a creative, funny, and insightful repartee, and launches into some form of abstract, philosophical meandering. This is not your typical 16 year old by any means.
Should any professional psychologist write such minutia and hyperbolic bullshit in a professional narrative, not only would his job be in question – his ulterior motives would also come under scrutiny. This is written as if the psychologist is having thoughts that go beyond determining psychopathology – this sounds as if the man has fallen completely in love with the teen-aged boy so sprawled out in his office. Bullshit.
Given William's approach to this session, observations reported here are thought to be relatively valid and reliable insights regarding the true current issues and conflicts which he faces. At the same time, it would be naive for anyone to believe that a one-hour, standard, psychological interview would be deemed worthy enough by William to actually permit the full revelation of his real, totally undefended self. However, there was some evidence available to suggest he was at least making effort to be as open and honest as he could possibly be during the session.
I’m sorry Bill…but this whole charade is just too unbelievable.
INTERVIEW OUTCOMES AND INTERPRETATIONS:
Capturing the essence of William White at this stage of his developemtn requires first an understanding of the place he occupies in the statistical world of averages. This is a young man who perhaps represents one in ten thousand 16 year olds [one in forty to fifty thousand]. It is therefore absolutely ridiculous to expect this young man to be typical in any way. At the other end of the spectrum, neither would we ever expect a severely retarded sixteen year old to master German. As polar as this example may seem, in the law of averages, they represent equivalent extremes. We also need to realize that our mainstream educational and social services are simply not adequately prepared to appropriately serve the social-emotional-academic needs of someone with William's psychoeducational profile. But just beause William is statistically unique on the cognitive-linguistic and perceptual-motor levels, doe snot imply that he does not have the same basic psychological needs of every other sixteen year old high school student. In fact, there is every reason to believe that William's affective system is not particularly brilliant, but actually rather average. He engages in basic attention seeking behavior, just like all adolescents. He has strong needs for recognition and acknowledgement, as do most all of his peers. He longs to be liked by others and is highly motivated to friendships, romantic involvement and a strong need to feel like he belongs. The problems is that William comes to these routine tasks of adolescence with a highly unusual, incredibly well developed mind set. Therefore his actions and behaviors. Therefore, his actions and behaviors, the way he chooses to relate to others, the decisions he makes, and the thoughts he shares, are all at risk for appearing to be atypical of his peer group.The world does not deal well with uniqueness, and the typical teenage world of a Montgomery County High School student is certainly no different. ...
Three comments here: 1) Refer to my initial statement – NO school psychologist would claim such a thing; 2) Regardless of IQ – if your affective system was functioning in, say the responding stage of development yet your intellectual functioning was above average, that alone would qualify you to be classified as an “emotionally disturbed” individual and in need of treatment and special help from the school system; and 3) The kind of editorializing done by this person is not something you would ever find in this kind of report. It’s bullshit.
Perhaps it's difficult for most of us to imagine what it must be like to exist at that far end of the normal curve. Boredom and a lack of adequate stimulation are continual challenges. Feelings of social dissatisfaction and innate superiority must invade his thoughts on a daily, hourly, even momentary basis as he sees his cognitively less well endowed peers engaging in immature, ego-based behaviors which William could never even think to permit himself. So, the only option left to him is to adopt the role of the rebellious renegade, the outlaw, the loner, the one who goes his own path, or any number of other romantic, dramatic roles that literature and history have thus far offered to William as alternatives to merely accepting life as he finds it.
First of all, whoever wrote this diatribe of excuses doesn’t really know what he is talking about – unless, of course, it happens to be you. Secondly, no psychologist would attempt to “romanticize” the problem. Bullshit.
Although William may very well meet the necessary criteria for coding as a student with severe emotional disturbance, this label doesn't capture William very well at all. Rather, it would be more appropriate to see him as a frsutrated adolescent who constantly struggles to maintain a sense of cognitive and behavioral balance, [and] of emotional and social equilibrium ... What results are displays of frustration based annoyance that appear to others as representative of emotional or behavioral disturbance beause they seem to be so outrageous, dramatic, atypical and certainly unique [like pulling the fire alarm at a certain high school, roaming through the halls announcing a walk out, then standing up on a pillar outside the school and giving a speech to the students on the need for a revolution to overthrow the school system -- which I did on several occassions. ;-D] But, in actuality, William only wants to be taken seriously. It is true that he lacks tact. It is also accurate to state that his interaction skills are often quite unusual, threatening when he's cornered, defensive when he's attacked, and angry when he's provoked. But we need to remember that just because he has a natural flair for the dramatic, an exceptional ability to make sarcastic wit, and a conceited, self-righteous ability to make his opponent feel foolish, these features do not necessarily imply the presence of psychopathology. He's just good at what he does. William is not sick, disturbed, deranged or dangerous. William is a genius who is trying to find his way in a world of very average institutions, simplistic answers to complex social problems, and inadequate basic services for most of the world's population. He's absolutely right. The world must change. It has to. Where he errs however is in the logical analysis of his recommendations for this chanmge. Where he errs however is in the logical analysis of his recommendations for this change. When he's pressed to provide the details, he cannot. When his plan is challenged, he becomes flustered. When a moral justification for his anarchistic views is sought, he has not given the topic sufficient thought.
[Bill: Well, you know, I was sixteen. I admit I didn't have it all figured out right then. I've gotten better over the years, though. ;-D]
I have to say, unequivocally, that either 1) This man was completely enamored with this young boy in his office; or 2) Bill…you wrote this yourself. BULLSHIT.
Let us not forget that the world needs William White. We should never overlook this fundamental truth. And William White needs the world. On one level, we should accept that the events described in this young man's file represent an indictment of our social systems. At times, we are an incredibly intolerant culture. Differences make us very uncomfortable. Challenges to the status quo aer unwelcome. We are guided by insecurity and a lack of foresight when a fourteen year old author with a leftist "newspaper" threatens our stability and disrupts our structural integrity. Which is not to say that any of the behaviors exhibited by William were right. Bullying staff and defacing school property are totally unacceptable, and the consequences which were meted out to him, as well as the procedures which were followed in these processes were appropriate. But the real question here is why did these events occur in the first place? What was it about the environment within which William existed that made the selection of these behaviors important to him? In other words, could any of these acts have been prevented? If William's needs had been adequately addressed by the systems which were charged with the responsibility to care for these needs, would any of these suspension events have even happened?
Bill, do you honestly expect anyone to buy that a “school psychologist” – someone paid by the school system – would include in a narrative that was to be shared by teachers and administrators within that district such an indictment of the system itself? I would ask if you are nuts – but, obviously, the question would be a rhetorical one.
There are right ways to deal with William, and there are ways which will results in absolute, but quite predictable, chaos. Ther history in this case is sufficient to demonstrate that fact. William loves the thrust and the parry. He wants to win, but he respects his opponents. He fights fair. He defends his action, and he can eloquently justify each and every transgression he has ever been accused of committing. He will never turn his back on a co- conspirator, and his loyalty is unquestioned. Yes, he is oppositional and quite possibly defiant as well; bvut, we do him no service by applying these pscyhiatric diagnoses. Will it really help to more effectively program for William to know that on Axis I he is such and such? Does someone like William White really belong in an institution for severely emotionally disturbed people? Hardly. William has already sufficiently acquired what the Montgomery County Public School system has to offer him. He could graduate tomorrow without attending another class and have more information and skill than a majority of high school graduates in the entire United States. But what he hasn't learned is tolerance, patience, foresight, wisdom, cooperation, respect and compassion. [Bill: I disagree with the last. The others, where needed, I've picked up in the past decade. ;-D] He has learned how to be ruse, to challenge authority, to denigrate and despise others. [Bill: I also take exception to the last there. I learned how to denigrate and despise the authorities in high school; not people in general.]By his numerous rebellious behaviors, William has managed to expose the dark underside of formal education and found our systems to be quite legitimately lacking.
And if anyone believes that this came from an employee of the school district – I have a few things that I would like to sell them as it could be very profitable.
William was referred for an evoluation of his current mental health status as this pertains to his needs for academic support and to assist in placement planning.
At this point William has returned to school at ... High and apprarently has adjusted fairly well to the program requirements. He has ... promised to maintain his composure in the face of potential threats. Evidene gathered during this review suggests that William has a range of cognitive-linguistic skill that is highly unique. At the same time, he has basic social and emotional needs that are typical of most adolescents. ... School-based support services should be provided to William on an "as needed" basis. Although William would prefer to be able to return to ... High School, given the history of his relationships with staff and administrators in the setting, the wisdom of such a decision is seriously questioned.
Robert T Mulcahy, Jr
Certified School Psychologist
At this point, I have removed the “recommendations” from this article simply because going any further with discussion of this would be totally non-productive.
The initial catalyst for all of this was Bill White’s claim to an IQ of 158. The “evidence” which is has presented, in my opinion, proves nothing. Did he have a psychological interview with a school psychologist – yes. However, there is nothing in this narrative that either makes sense or provides any sort of empirical evidence that such an IQ can be attributed to Bill White.
Further, it appears to me that this “report” is anything other than what was initially written by Mr. Mulcahy as is evidenced by my comments throughout. Given the fact that Mr. White had already been given an axis diagnosis of ODD, it is completely unbelievable that a “school psychologist” would consider his findings in a one-hour meeting more valid than that of a psychiatrist in good standing. As a matter of fact, something of that nature could very easily be considered a breech of ethics.
The very fact that this “report” has been edited to delete certain information such as the tests administered by the school system and various parts of narrative raises many questions about its’ validity. However, the ODD diagnosis does provide a starting point, or a context, in which to further view the psychopathology of Bill White.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder, as stated previously, rarely appears by itself. Any child who warrants such a diagnosis must also be evaluated for other disorders as the co-existing problems are often just as debilitating as the ODD. Additionally, the laws surrounding special education – which, incidentally, includes gifted and talented – are very specific. Throughout the narrative, the word “unique” is used. Whether that is the word chosen by the examiner or Bill’s word, I am not certain. But, “uniqueness” does not absolve the school district of dealing with the problem. They HAVE to provide a program or a facility that can meet the needs of the student.
In the work that I do away from CAH, I have read and utilized literally thousands of psychological reports and I can honestly tell you that no psychologist would ever editorialize the way Bill would like for us to believe this school psychologist did. Granted, the world of school psychology is considerably different than the private sector – but not so different as to preclude common sense.