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Mental Retardation (updated April 2000)

Where can I find practical information about children with mental retardation?

An individual is considered to have mental retardation based on the following three criteria: intellectual functioning level (IQ) is below 70-75; significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas; and the condition is present from childhood (defined as age 18 or less).

The effects of mental retardation vary considerably among people, just as the range of abilities varies considerably among people who do not have mental retardation. About 87 percent will be mildly affected and will be only a little slower than average in learning new information and skills. As children, their mental retardation is not readily apparent and may not be identified until they enter school. As adults, many will be able to lead independent lives in the community and will no longer be viewed as having mental retardation.

The remaining 13 percent of people with mental retardation, those with IQS under 50, will have serious limitations in functioning. However, with early intervention, a functional education and appropriate supports as an adult, all can lead satisfying lives in the community. (From the website of the American Association for Mental Retardation [AAMR]: http://www.aamr.org)

Following are links to related ERIC Digests, Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

mental retardation OR mild mental retardation OR moderate mental retardation OR severe mental retardation OR developmental disabilities


teaching methods OR classroom techniques OR educational strategies

EJ474385 EC607469
Strategies for Functional Community-Based Instruction and Inclusion for Children
with Mental Retardation.
Beck, Joni; And Others
Teaching Exceptional Children, v26 n2 p44-48 Win 1994
ISSN: 0040-0599
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR94
This article describes one school's efforts to teach students with mental retardation functional skills in community settings, while maximizing inclusive experiences. The approach includes a method of identifying functional curricula, collaborative instructional planning and teaching, and community-based instruction for all students.
Descriptors: Curriculum Development; *Daily Living Skills; Elementary Education; *Experiential Learning; *Mainstreaming; *Mental Retardation; School Community Relationship; Social Integration; Teaching Methods
Identifiers: *Community Based Education; *Function Based Curriculum

EJ449998 EC603718
Reading Instruction for Students with Moderate Mental Retardation: Review and Analysis of Research.
Conners, Frances A.
American Journal on Mental Retardation, v96 n6 p577-97 May 1992
ISSN: 0895-8017
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJAN93
Analysis of research on reading instruction for children with moderate mental retardation indicated that word analysis instruction is a feasible option; word analysis is the most effective method of oral reading error correction; and the strongest sight-word instruction methods include those that use picture integration, constant delay, and the Edmark errorless discrimination method.
Descriptors: *Decoding (Reading); Elementary Secondary Education; Error Correction; *Moderate Mental Retardation; Oral Reading; Phoneme Grapheme Correspondence; *Phonics; *Reading Instruction; *Reading Research; *Sight Method; Sight Vocabulary; Teaching Methods; Word Recognition

ED403699 EC305250
Assessing Problem Behaviors. Innovations: AAMR Research to Practice Series, Number 4.
Demchak, MaryAnn; Bossert, Karen W.
American Association on Mental Retardation, Washington, DC. 1996
ISBN: 0-940898-39-X
ISSN: 1072-4036
Available From: American Association on Mental Retardation, 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 846, Washington, DC 20001-1512 ($21.95; $19.95 members).
Document Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIEJUN97
Target Audience: Practitioners
This guide shows how principles of functional assessment can be applied to behavior problems of students with mental retardation to identify the behavior's purposes and plan for more effective intervention in classrooms, supported living settings, and work settings. It shows how to conduct a functional assessment and link assessment results to interventions, and provides an example of a completed functional analysis. An introductory chapter identifies fundamental assumptions of functional assessment. Chapter 2 discusses conducting a functional assessment, with sections on identifying, prioritizing, and defining problem behaviors; formulating hypotheses; and completing a functional analysis. Periodic self-check sub-sections are also provided. Chapter 3 is on linking assessment results to interventions. It covers selecting replacement behaviors, manipulating consequences, manipulating antecedents, and addressing setting events. Chapter 4 provides a detailed example of a completed functional assessment through the steps of identifying problem behaviors, prioritizing problem behaviors, defining problem behaviors, formulating hypotheses, and developing an intervention. The concluding chapter stresses application of an assessment process conducted through a combination of structured interviews, systematic observations, and functional analysis of problem behavior.
Descriptors: Behavioral Science Research; Behavior Change; *Behavior Modification; *Behavior Problems; *Classroom Techniques; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; Intervention; *Mental Retardation; *Student Evaluation; Training Methods; Work Environment
Identifiers: *Functional Assessment

ED399701 EC305032 Teaching Persons with Mental Retardation: A Model for Curriculum Development and Teaching.
Dever, Richard B.; Knapczyk, Dennis R.
ISBN: 0-697-20559-2
Available From: Brown and Benchmark Publishers, 25 Kessel Court, Madison, WI 53791- 9030.
Document Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Document Type: BOOK (010); TEACHING GUIDE (052)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Wisconsin
Journal Announcement: RIEFEB97
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
This text addresses curriculum development for students with mental retardation based on the premise that it is the primary job of educators to teach these individuals independence skills and also based on criticism of the academic focus of most current instructional approaches. Individual chapters consider the following topics: (1) an overview of mental retardation; (2) the aim of instruction (including an instructional definition of mental retardation and the aim of independence for persons with mental retardation); (3) the concepts of curriculum and curriculum goals (including 10 principles and goals addressing curriculum structure, content, and functions); (4) formulation of the instructional aim and curriculum goals (offering a four-step procedure for selecting and formulating goals); (5) curriculum development (with a five-step procedure suggested); (6) planning an assessment of curriculum objectives (with principles of assessment and a five-step procedure for planning an assessment); (7) conducting an assessment and developing an individualized program of instruction; (8) the program objective analysis (establishing performance standards and analyzing skill clusters); (9) providing information (techniques, feedback, fading, and motivation); (10) monitoring instructional plans (a three-step plan for developing a monitoring system); and (11) modifying instruction (appropriate responses when learners are achieving desired instructional results and when learners are not progressing satisfactorily). Appendices include a list of terminal goals, worksheets, and a checklist of potential physical problems.
Descriptors: *Curriculum Development; Educational Principles; *Educational Strategies; Elementary Secondary Education; *Independent Living; *Individualized Education Programs; Instructional Design; *Mental Retardation; Self Determination; *Student Educational Objectives; Teaching Methods

ED373483 EC303251
The Integration of Students with Mental Retardation into General Education Classrooms.
Hilton, Alan
7 Apr 1994
20p.; Paper presented at the Annual International Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children (72nd, Denver, CO, April 6-10, 1994).
EDRS Price - MF01 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Washington
Journal Announcement: RIEJAN95
Inclusion of students with disabilities, especially those with mental retardation, has come to mean the placement of all students in general education classrooms, sometimes with limited planning for the individual needs of each student. Several court cases, laws, and movements have brought about the level of inclusion that exists today. However, schools are now evolving from inclusion to integration, which involves the planned placement of students in a setting. Two circuit court cases with implications for integration include Holland versus the Board of Sacramento City Unified School District, in which four components were outlined for determining the removal of a student from general education and the Oberti case, which stated that students with disabilities should be placed in general education classes with appropriate support. The four components of the Holland case provide a framework for examining what is effective in integrating students; components include educational benefits, non-academic benefits, effect on teacher and children in the regular classroom, and cost. A case-by-case approach to integrating students into general education is needed. The established best practices of the field of mental retardation should follow students no matter where they are placed, and ongoing monitoring of student progress should occur.
Descriptors: *Court Litigation; Educational Change; Educational Legislation; *Educational Planning; Elementary Secondary Education; Federal Legislation; *Individualized Programs; *Mainstreaming; *Mental Retardation; *Student Placement
Identifiers: *Inclusive Schools

EJ530742 EC614558
The Emergence of Literacy in Elementary Students with Mild Mental Retardation.
Katims, David S.
Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, v11 n3 p147-57 Fall 1996
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJFEB97
This study examined effects of immersing four primary grade students with mild mental retardation in a literacy-rich environment. A variety of instructional strategies was used to assist students in understanding stories read aloud by adults, developing decoding skills, and developing prereading/writing skills. Results indicated the students made measurable progress.
Descriptors: Beginning Reading; Decoding (Reading); *Educational Strategies; *Emergent Literacy; *Literacy Education; *Mild Mental Retardation; *Prereading Experience; Primary Education; Reading Aloud to Others; *Reading Instruction; Reading Skills; Teaching Methods; Writing Skills

ED385085 EC304118
Rays of Hope: The Special Child and the Family.
Pitts, Raymond J., Jr.; Marchitell, Carolyn K.
67p.; Photographs may not reproduce well.
Available From: Communication Arts, 3 Dayleview Rd., Berwyn, PA 19312-1293.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Pennsylvania
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC95
Target Audience: Parents; Community
This book illustrates techniques that families have found effective in coping with a family member who has mental retardation. It provides quotations and comments from a number of parents as well as anecdotal accounts and photographs, grouped into four sections. The first section is on the recognition process and recounts how parents have coped with the emotional trauma and imbalance as their feelings change from joy to sorrow and uncertainty when finding out and acknowledging that their child has mental retardation. The second section is on the dynamic process of dealing with fears, fantasies, and facts associated with the effects of the disability on the family dynamics. The third section stresses the working process which is using existing support systems and the exercising of rights when dealing with schools, programs, and placement decisions. The final section is on the future process--ways to prepare and position the family member with mental retardation for a lifetime.
Descriptors: Adolescents; Adults; *Child Rearing; Children; *Coping; Decision Making; Disability Identification; *Emotional Adjustment; Family Problems; *Family Relationship; Family School Relationship; Infants; Long Range Planning; *Mental Retardation; *Parent Attitudes

ED365050 EC302675
School Restructuring & Full Inclusion. Revision 5. Prepublication Copy.
Sailor, Wayne; And Others
San Francisco State Univ., CA. California Research Inst. 1992
Sponsoring Agency: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC04 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120)
Geographic Source: U.S.; California
Journal Announcement: RIEMAY94
This monograph addresses the issue of full inclusion of children and youth with severe intellectual disabilities and whether this form of social and academic integration is consistent with the direction of present school reform policies. The first section examines the implications of current efforts in educational reform. A case study illustrates differences between integration and inclusion. Key elements of full inclusion are identified: (1) full general education class membership; (2) full perception of "ownership" by the general education program (including special education); (3) individual outcomes-based decision making; (4) student-based services with team curriculum design; and (5) site team coordination of services and educational support. Next, issues in education policy are discussed such as recent trends in general education policy and reform. The following critical variables in school restructuring are identified: curriculum revision, performance-based assessment, decentralized instruction, school autonomy, site-based management and budgeting, shared decision making, infusion and coordination of educational resources, and community involvement. Finally, the comprehensive local school is described as a framework for inclusion through delivery of a variety of special education services and through systematic team design of the individual's curriculum within the general curriculum.
Descriptors: Change Strategies; Curriculum Development; Delivery Systems; Educational Change; Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Individualized Instruction; *Mainstreaming; *Normalization (Disabilities); Peer Relationship; *Regular and Special Education Relationship; *School Restructuring; *Severe Mental Retardation; *Social Integration; Teamwork
Identifiers: Performance Based Evaluation

EJ507332 SE554346
Science and Students with Mental Retardation: An Analysis of Curriculum Features and Learner Characteristics.
Scruggs, Thomas E.; Mastropieri, Margo A.
Science Education, v79 n3 p251-71 Jun 1995
ISSN: 0036-8326
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJNOV95
In this investigation, students with mental retardation were observed over a two-year period in order to determine how the characteristics of mental retardation manifested themselves in the context of an inquiry-oriented, hands-on science curriculum. Implications for teaching science to students with mental retardation are provided.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; *Inquiry; *Mental Retardation; Science Curriculum; Science Education; *Science Instruction; *Teaching Methods Identifiers: *Hands on Science

ED399705 EC305036
Improving Maladaptive Behaviors Using Sensory Integration Techniques.
Shuman, Theresa
May 1996
39p.; Master's Action Research Project, St. Xavier University.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Illinois
Journal Announcement: RIEFEB97
A study examined the use of sensory integration techniques to reduce the maladaptive behaviors that interfered with the learning of nine high school students with mental impairments attending a special school. Maladaptive behaviors identified included rocking, toe walking, echolalia, resistance to change, compulsive behaviors, aggression, tantrums, monotone speech, and gagging. A literature review examined the relationship between the senses and behavior of those with disabilities; the functions of nervous system and sensory integrative processes; and various methods of behavioral intervention including aversives, drugs, megavitamins, diets, psychotherapy, animal therapy, auditory integration therapy, and sensory integration techniques. The intervention involved the use of various sensory integration techniques including auditory/vestibular, visual, olfactory, gustatory, tactility, speech/communication, behavior, and balance techniques. After the intervention, the teacher reported a decrease in maladaptive behaviors and increase in student enjoyment of the activities. Appendices include observation checklists, a caretaker questionnaire, and the parental consent form.
Descriptors: *Behavior Modification; *Behavior Problems; Educational Strategies; High Schools; Instructional Effectiveness; *Intervention; *Mental Retardation; *Sensory Integration; Sensory Training; Special Schools; *Training Methods

ED364006 EC302575
Promoting Self-Determination Using the Life Centered Career Education Curriculum.
Wehmeyer, Michael
Arc, Arlington, TX. 9 Apr 1993
23p.; Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional
Children (71st, San Antonio, TX, April 5-9, 1993).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Texas
Journal Announcement: RIEAPR94
This paper examines issues concerning self determination for people with mental retardation and other disabilities, within the context of the Life Centered Career Education (LCCE) curriculum. It looks at various views of self-determination; offers a definition; and relates self-determination to autonomy, self-actualization, and self-regulation. Aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act dealing with self-determination and transition are considered, as are best practices in promoting self-determination and the educator's role in this process. The paper then addresses the curricular components of self-determination, describing the development of one organization's (The Arc) model of self-determination and a project which resulted in the identification of four LCCE competencies and 17 subcompetencies which focus on developing self-determination skills. The project reviewed relevant LCCE lesson plans, made revisions for greater suitability with secondary students having mild cognitive disabilities, and field tested the materials with this population in a wide range of settings. General guidelines for applying the LCCE curriculum are offered. Finally, the paper addresses training and assessment aspects of applying the LCCE to self-determination instruction.
Descriptors: *Career Education; *Curriculum Development; Daily Living Skills; Instructional Materials; Lesson Plans; *Mental Retardation; *Personal Autonomy; Secondary Education; Self Actualization; *Self Determination; Self Efficacy; Self Esteem; Self Evaluation (Individuals); *Student Educational Objectives
Identifiers: *Life Centered Career Education

EJ534098 EC614525
The Use of Unrelated Instructive Feedback When Teaching in a Small Group Instructional Arrangement.
Whalen, Catherine; And Others
Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, v31 n3 p188-202 Sep 1996
ISSN: 1079-3917
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR97
Three elementary students with mental retardation were taught math facts during small group instruction in a regular classroom, using unrelated instructional feedback (sight word vocabulary cards). Results found that all students learned their targeted stimuli, some of their unrelated stimuli, and some of their peers' target stimuli through observational learning.
Descriptors: Arithmetic; Classroom Communication; Elementary Education; *Feedback; Instructional Effectiveness; Mathematics Instruction; *Mental Retardation; *Observational Learning; Sight Vocabulary; *Small Group Instruction; Teaching Methods

ED391282 EC304531
Structured Methods in Language Education: SMILE.
Wolf-Schein, Enid G.
Jul 1995
13p.; Paper presented at the International Congress on Education of the Deaf (18th, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 16-20, 1995).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Florida
Journal Announcement: RIEJUN96
This paper describes a method of language intervention, Structured Methods in Language Education (SMILE), used with students having severe language disabilities due to such factors as autistic disorder, central auditory dysfunction, impaired hearing, or mental handicap. SMILE develops a hierarchy of skills leading from phonology to morphology to syntax. It starts with the smallest unit of language, the phoneme, which is immediately associated with its written representation, the grapheme. As soon as the sound system and a number of words have been learned, syntax is taught through linguistic string formulas and sentence patterns. The teaching progresses from simple to complex at each level of the curriculum. The SMILE approach also incorporates development of attention, specific and consistent teaching methodology, use of structure and routine, immediate reinforcement, successive approximations leading to exact repetition, pattern practice and substitution/transformation drills, and ongoing attention to generalization. Student learning and progress is shared with parents by means of individualized "books" showing new skills.
Descriptors: Autism; Curriculum; Deafness; Delayed Speech; *Developmental Tasks; Drills (Practice); Elementary Education; Intervention; *Language Acquisition; *Language Impairments; Mental Retardation; *Phonetics; Preschool Education; Severe Disabilities; Speech Therapy; *Teaching Methods

EJ494793 EC610001
Let Me See What You Say: Let Me See What You Feel
Zeece, Pauline Davey; Wolda, Mary K.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v27 n2 p4-9 Win 1995
ISSN: 0040-0599
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR95
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
This article discusses the use of sign language to facilitate language development of children with developmental disabilities mainstreamed into the early childhood setting. It discusses the benefits of using sign language, presents a rationale for its use, and provides instructional guidelines and resources.
Descriptors: Communication Skills; *Developmental Disabilities; Early Childhood Education; Expressive Language; *Language Acquisition; Mainstreaming; *Sign Language; *Teaching Methods

ED354701 EC301886
Siblings: Brothers and Sisters of People Who Have Mental Retardation. Arc Q & A Series.
Arc, Arlington, TX. Jan 1993
Sponsoring Agency: Minnesota Governor's Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, St. Paul.
Contract No: MGPCDD-25200
Available From: The Arc, 500 E. Border St., Suite 300, Arlington, TX 76010.
EDRS Price - MF01 Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Texas
Journal Announcement: RIEJUL93
Basic information about siblings of people with mental retardation is presented in a question-and-answer format. The following questions are addressed: "Is having a sibling with a disability different than having a sibling who does not have a disability?"; "What are some of the concerns of siblings of people with disabilities?"; "Are there any benefits to being the brother or sister of a person with a disability?"; "What are some positive actions parents can take with their children when there is a sibling with a disability?"; "How does family structure affect siblings?"; and "What is being done to address concerns that siblings may have about having a brother or sister with a disability?" Also provided is a list of three organizational resources and five references.
Descriptors: Child Rearing; *Disabilities; *Emotional Adjustment; *Family Relationship; *Mental Retardation; *Sibling Relationship; *Siblings

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