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Intellectual Disabilities, Essay Example

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Definition:  An intellectual disability (also called mental retardation or cognitive disabilities) refers to people who have limitations in regards to mental functioning that can impair their ability to communicate, interact socially, and care for themselves.  The rate at which such children learn and develop can be markedly slower than normal children.  Special education services are provided for children with intellectual disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Heward, 2008).

Causes:  The most common causes of intellectual disabilities are genetic conditions, problems during pregnancy, problems at birth, and health problems (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, 2011).

Prevalence:  According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (2011), 1 in every 10 children who need special education have a form of intellectual disability, and 6.5 million people in the United States have an intellectual disability (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, 2011).

Classroom Accommodations:  Adapting the classroom environment and delivery methods is an integral part of special education and a valuable way of providing support to students with intellectual disabilities.

Classroom Environment:

  • Testing in small groups or a separate room
  • Providing noise buffers such as earplugs or headphones
  • Minimize the number of transitions over the course of a day

Teacher Presentation/Strategies:

  • Sequence the steps involved in learning a skill or concept
  • Use a variety of instructional methods
  • Provide opportunities for students to work in pairs or small learning groups

Materials:

  • Use print and non-print sources
  • Teach the student to use personal organizers for time management
  • Encourage the student to use tools which self-correct

Assessments:

  • Adapt the assessment format
  • Read or clarify the question for the student
  • Provide periodic supervised breaks
  • (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, 2011)

References

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2011). Intellectual disability. Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/intellectual

Heward, W.L. (2008). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education. 9th ed. New   York, NY: Prentice Hall.

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