There are a variety of problems associated with assessing students with Mental Retardation, MR. It is most important to remember this population of students are individuals, and they must be evaluated as such. Each child has her/his own strengths and weaknesses. A teacher may also need to consider that there are other possible handicaps that may interfere and require additional supports. Some other disabilities that may coincide with intellectual disabilities include: visually impairment, emotionally disturbed, speech and language impairment, hearing impairment, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic impairment, and/or Autism. It is also very important to take note of any medications the child is on, as they may interfere with the child’s testing abilities. A child’s race, sex, primary language, and ethnic background need to be considered as these to could affect the testing. When assessing a child, a statement needs to be written indicating their handicapping condition is not a result of economic, environmental, or educational disadvantage.
When testing, it is important to remember?
Tests using Standard Scores must be used to qualify a child for special education. The following represents the use of Standard Scores as the rating scale, which qualifies a student for Mental Retardation.
- Severe: 62 or below (55 or below for Preschool Sever Delay)
- Moderate: 77 to 63
- Mild: 85 to 78 (or 1 ½ standard deviations on one area)
According to the Arizona Academic Standards, assessments resulting in age equivalents and grades are to be reported as the following levels: (Ages – Grades)
- Pre-Academic Functional Level: 3 – 4 Preschool
- Readiness Level: 5 – 6 Kindergarten
- Essentials Level: 7 – 9 1st – 3rd Grade
- Foundations Level: 10 – 14 4th – 8th Grade
The characteristics of children with Mental Retardation that result in eligibility for special education include personal abilities like washing their face, domestic abilities like making their own bed, and community abilities like obeying traffic lights language. A child with an intellectual disability needs to learn these abilities, and by having extra help in special education classrooms, they have the chance to take time to learn the skill. Some other skills they may need to acquire include: Interpersonal relationships skills like imitates simple adult movements, play and leisure skills like using common household objects for play, and/or coping skills like saying “please” when asking for things. A special education classroom provides the added structure to support a student with Mental Retardation to learn basic skills at a slower pace and focus on their specific goals.It is important to remember that each student’s needs are defining by the individual and not the disability.
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