Issues Relating to Terminology of Mental Retardation

Some of the issues relating to terminology of mental retardation are how it affects the parent and their perception of their child and other people’s perception of their child. We used to label children TMH (trainable Mentally handicap) and EMH (educable mentally handicap) for the primary reason of not saying “retardation” as a label. However, in the last few years, the labels have changed to MIMR, mildly mentally retarded, and MOMR, severely mentally retarded. This could create some issues with others keeping pace with the terminology and perhaps some getting confused.

Issues relating to the law are related to the new law of “no child left behind”. This law states that no matter the severity of the disability the child should be main-steamed into the regular classroom so that they are exposed to the same opportunities as “regular” children. However, the drawback to this is that the curriculum, language used by teacher and students, does not necessarily match their ability. It can lead to disruptions to the rest of the class.


Issues relating to identification of mentally retardation are the comparison of standard scores and their IQ. IQ is rated by scores. For example, an IQ of 130 and above means Very Superior, an IQ of 120-129 means Superior, an 110-119 means High Average, an IQ of 90-109 means Average, an IQ of 80-89 means Low Average, an IQ of 70-79 means MIMR, and an IQ 69 and Lower means MOMR. Standard scores are principles that all standardized tests have to allow a psychologist to “label” a child. If their Standard Score were 72, they would fall in the MIMR range. The final decision is suppose to be a “team ” decision, but an issue might arise if the teachers involved, the psychologist, and parent do not agree.

The impact of characteristics might be physical appearance, different walking gaits, being made fun of, being picked on, getting into trouble because they cannot think things through and don’t understand the consequences, being taken advantage of by regular students.

All of these issues demonstrate how difficult it is not to offend some and how the issues evolve as politics change. By discussing with others their views of the issues, it helps to better understand how many issues there truly are in the school system.

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