In all true teaching the personal element is essential. Christ in His teaching dealt with men individually. It was by personal contact and association that He trained the Twelve. It was in private, often to but one listener, that He gave His most precious instruction. To the honored rabbi at the night conference on the Mount of Olives, to the despised woman at the well of Sychar, He opened His richest treasures; for in these hearers He discerned the impressible heart, the open mind, the receptive spirit. Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy.
Christ discerned the possibilities in every human being. He was not turned aside by an unpromising exterior or by unfavorable surroundings. He called Matthew from the tollbooth, and Peter and his brethren from the fishing boat, to learn of Him.
The same personal interest, the same attention to individual development, are needed in educational work today. Many apparently unpromising youth are richly endowed with talents that are put to no use. Their faculties lie hidden because of a lack of discernment on the part of their educators. In many a boy or girl outwardly as unattractive as a rough-hewn stone, may be found precious material that will stand the test of heat and storm and pressure. The true educator, keeping in view what his pupils may become, will recognize the value of the material upon which he is working. He will take a personal interest in each pupil and will seek to develop all his powers. However imperfect, every effort to conform to right principles will be encouraged.
Education pgs. 232-233

Jane is a 12 year old girl that has been diagnosed with mild-moderate mental retardation since the age of 7. Her adoptive parents (who have adopted him at 4 years old) and teachers noted that she was struggling academically and slightly immature. During a psychological evaluation, her adoptive parents reported that Jane had suffered from malnutrition while living with her biological parents and that she’d also experienced a brief period of anoxia during child birth. After a psychological evaluation, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children showed her I.Q. to be 53.
After the diagnosis, Jane began receiving special education services in school. For half of the day she is pulled out for services and remains in the general education setting for the balance of the day.
Jane has been in the same school system since the first grade, a Christian school system where she has been in class with the basically the same core set of students. Jane’s teachers say she is a polite and shy girl that gets along with her classmates. They also report that classmates try to help her when she doesn’t understand a subject. When transitioning from elementary to middle school, Jane’s teachers and parents came up with a support plan where she was able to meet her first middle school teacher and visit her classroom.
Jane enjoys middle school, church functions, and spending time with her parents. She receives Social Skills instruction while which has also helped with her peer-interactions. She will receive these and other special education classes throughout the rest of her academic career. The plan is to introduce some life-skills instruction and planning into her curriculum in high school. Some of this instruction will be made available to other students as well.

Children with Mental Retardation CAN lead “normal lives”…

What is Mental Retardation?

A term used when a person has certain limitations in mental functioning and in skills such as communicating, taking care of him or herself, and social skills. These limitations will cause a child to learn and develop more slowly than a typical child. Children with mental retardation may take longer to learn to speak, walk, and take care of their personal needs such as dressing or eating. They are likely to have trouble learning in school. They will learn, but it will take them longer. There may be some things they cannot learn.

Prevalence: 2.3% of the population
Describe Characteristics of Students:

· Continued infant-like behavior
· Decreased learning ability
· Failure to meet the markers of intellectual development
· Inability to meet educational demands at school
· Lack of curiosity

How is this disability identified?

· Abnormal Denver developmental screening test
· Adaptive behavior score below average
· Development way below that of peers
· Intelligence quotient (IQ) score below 70 on a standardized IQ test

How do these learners receive their education?

Varied educational settings. Some are home-schooled, some (about 8%) attend regular schools, and a majority of MR students attend special schools. Current educational efforts are to mainstream MR students.

What are best educational practices?

It is helpful to break tasks down into small steps and introduce the task one step at a time to avoid overwhelming the individual. Once the student has mastered one step, the next is introduced. Visual aids such as charts, pictures, and graphs are used as much as possible. Immediate feedback to strengthen the link between cause and effect. A hands-on, kinesthetic approach is effective. Refrain from lectures and verbal directions as they are not as effective.

· Academic expectations are individualized and not classroom based.
· IEPs
· Allow the student with writing difficulties to use a word processor for writing assignments.
· The student may need a note-taker.
· The student with mathematical difficulties may need to use a calculator for math classes.
· If necessary, the student should have access to books on tape.
· Student may need preferential seating due to perceptual difficulties.
· The student may need longer or unlimited time for an examination.
· Examinations can be modified to have less multiple choice or true-or-false questions.
· Set realistic goals, time for completing work, and acceptance of the fact that it may take many days or weeks to reach mastery of skills.
· Provide concrete ideas and skills; avoid the complex and abstract.
· Use praise but also give honest feedback on errors.
· Use more examples and demonstrations.

Inclusive Practices:
· Including students in general education setting.
· Educating peers as to the disability.
· Creating a climate of acceptance.
· Setting aside an area where special education services may be provided.
· Using Differentiated Instruction

Provide a continuum of severity or extent possible in youngsters:
Mild MR
IQ Level 50-55 to approximately 70
Moderate Retardation
IQ Level 35-40 to 50-55
Severe MR
IQ Level 20-25 to 35-40
Profound MR
IQ Level Below 20 or 25

~ 85% in mild category of mental retardation.
· Can be educated
· May function quite well in society.
· May eventually be able to live independently, in a group home or with family with little supervision.
· Mostly affects intellect
· Generally not associated with substantial behavioral problems.

~ 10% in the moderate category.
· This group is considered trainable.
· Learn best through repetition and cause and effect teaching methods.
· Few, are able to function independently as adults.
· Nearly all require lifelong assistance in navigating through everyday situations.

~3-4% in the severe category
~1-2% in the profoundly retarded category.
· Tend to display more behavioral problems.
· Far less socially developed than higher functioning mentally retarded individuals.

Special Challenges for General Education :
· Education for general education teachers
· Resources
· Maintaining a well-organized classroom

Accommodations: Assistive Technology PDF
· augmentative communication devices
· electronic and manual communication boards
· input and output devices
· modified or alternate keyboards
· special software (including speech recognition software) that allow people with disabilities to use a computer
· patient lifts
· transfer aids
· all types of wheelchairs and three-wheel vehicles
· artificial limbs
· braces or other devices
· hearing aids
· low-vision aids
· telecommunication devices

Wraparound Service if any
· Any long-term vocational planning if not being offered by the school
· Job placement agencies
· Department of Mental Retardation involvement
· Social Services
· Possible Social Security involvement

Impact: Is this a school issue or life issue – Why
Both. Children need support in the school setting as well as when their school careers are over. Some may never be able to live on their own or will only be able to work in certain settings.
Impact: How does this affect home?
Parents of a mentally retarded child may be providing direct care for the child for the rest of his/her life. Parents may also experience feelings of guilt and unnecessary shame.
Name of someone who has achieved greatness: Chris Burke
He had a genetic defect called the Down’s syndrome at time of his birth. In his adulthood, he always attended special schools and fought an enduring battle against his mental illness, He was well known for his humor and friendly nature. He became famous as a TV actor in ABCs show “Life Goes On”.
Name of a teacher who overcame this or is helping a child overcome it.
Robert A. Sedlak is Professor of Special Education and the Director of the Office of Research and Service for the School of Education and Human Services at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Denise M. Sedlak is a former special education teacher and the co-author of a series of short studies on management of aggressive behavior with Dr. Patrick J. Schloss and Ms. Donna Filips. She is currently Executive Director of the Dunn County United Way. They co-authored are noted for their work with mentally retarded young people.
What can you do to make a difference for the child?
· Use short and simple statements at a time, during a conversation.
· Repeat instructions and give clarifications and explanations. Ask them if they need more explanation from time to time.
· Make sure distractions are at a minimum.
· Be very specific while teaching skills.
· Be supportive and understanding. Support can help them overcome the disability and increase their self-confidence and self-esteem.
· Make things simpler and easier for them, as far as possible.
· Use alternative teaching techniques and testing methods.
· Be supportive and help out with dealing with social and peer pressure. Help them make friends and lead as normal a life as possible.
· Be patient and tolerating. Losing one’s temper will cause the child to ‘shutdown’ emotionally.

What can you do to support parents?
· Offer to help if needed and ask how you can help.
· Be non-judgmental.
· Treat the child the way you would treat other children.
· Discuss parenting/sibling support groups and therapy.
· Help parents become educated about MR.

Yu, J., Newman, L., Wagner, M., & National Center for Special Education Research, (. (2009). Secondary School Experiences and Academic Performance of Students with Mental Retardation. Facts From NLTS2. NCSER 2009-3020. National Center for Special Education Research, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Demirel, M. (2010). Primary School Curriculum for Educable Mentally Retarded Children: A Turkish Case. Online Submission, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Websites that contain further information: