Background and Rationale of the Study
Awareness of the existence of children with mental retardation or developmental disabilities has been present for how many years, but the exact nature of the condition, its identification, and societal attitudes toward it have been constantly changing. Over the years, the placement of children of children with mental retardation has moved gradually from segregated institutions to the public schools and within the schools to the least restrictive environment. Above anything else, we are trying to discover what can be done educationally for children and youth with the condition.
IDEA defines mental retardation as significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Mental health clinicians have defined four degrees of severity of mental retardation based in IQ score. These are mild retardation (IQ range 50-55 to about 70), moderate (IQ range 35-40 to 50-55), severe (IQ range 20-25 to 35-40), and profound (IQ below 20-25) (Woods, 2007).
According to Woods, mildly affected individuals comprise about 85% of people with retardation. They often cannot be distinguished from normal children until they attend school. In addition, they would also mature into an adult who can achieve a reasonable degree of social and vocational independence, although he or she will perhaps need some additional support in the more complex areas of life such as management of personal finances.
In the general classroom, the student with mental retardation will certainly experience significant difficulties with most learning tasks that have been set for the class (Hannell, 2006). He/She would exhibit slow academic progress. Although they learn more slowly they can develop academic skills equivalent to the sixth-grade level.
Their learning should be broken into small stages....