Strategies for educating persons with mental retardation: In the past, many people believed that it is a waste of time trying to educate persons with mental retardation. Hence, they were neglected and left to their fate.
The history of their education really started in the contemporary time. From this period, different experts have emerged with various methods and strategies for educating persons with mental retardation. Because of the nature of their intelligence, people have advocated a separate school and environment for their education. With the time, people started advocating their integration for social interaction and thus we have figure out some of the educational programmes for persons with mental retardation.
6 Strategies for Educating Persons with Mental Retardation
The various methods and strategies for educating persons with mental retardation include:
1. Special School
This implies putting children with mental retardation in a separate school without mixing up with the regular school system. The school is specially built for them and them only.
2. Special Class
This implies having a classroom meant for children with mental retardation in a regular school setting. They interact with other children in the school compound but not learning together with them in the same classroom.
3. Resource Room
In this case, a resource room is built or created in the regular school where the children with mental retardation will go to be attended to during a particular time of the school hour by the resource teacher who is a specialist in handling them. They learn together with other children in the classroom and interact with them but a special time is created for them to visit the resource room for special
4. Itinerant teacher
In this case, there is a special teacher who might not be part of the regular teachers in the school but come at a scheduled time to attend to the needs of children with mental After attending to them, he goes away until the next appointed time.
5. Regular school with Special Unit
In this case, a special unit is constructed within the compound of the regular This implies interaction with other children in the same compound but not learning together in the same classroom.
6. Inclusive education
This is the most current programme of education recommendation for children with exceptional. In this case, there is no discrimination at all against the children with exceptional needs. All categories of exceptionality are cared for together with the regular children in the same setting.
How to Prevent Mental Retardation
Prevention, as people say, is better than cure. The condition of mental retardation is very serious and it is better prevented in our society than seeking for the cure. Several measures can be employed to prevent the incidence of mental retardation and theses are the tips on how to prevent mental retardation:
- Dissemination of information about the nature, causes and prevention of childhood accidents through mass media, workshops and seminars is very crucial.
- Provision of food, primary health care services in our society is also important.
- Expectant mothers should be enlightened on the risks of self-medication, exposure to x-ray examination and general carefree living, which can endanger the life of the foetus.
- Over and underage women should be advised on the danger of rearing children.
- Community based genetic counselling and diagnostic centres should be provided by government and NGOs and be adequately patronized.
- Excessive drug use should be curtailed / controlled as way as the use of fake drugs outlaw or proscribed by the government.
- Expectant mother and children should be properly fed with balanced diet to prevent malnutrition.
- Would- be couples should be mandated to do blood compatibility text before marriage.
- School and home environments should be stimulating enough to make learning friendly and possible.
Causes of Mental Retardation in Children
Causes of mental retardation can be grouped for easy understanding under three major sub-headings: prenatal, peri-natal and postnatal. Some of the causes of mental retardation in children include:
Prenatal Causes (Before birth)
- Chromosomal disorders eg. Down syndrome, fragile x syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome
- Malnutrition by mother
- Excessive exposure to x-ray
- Metabolic errors eg. Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Infectious diseases
- Maternal Age
- Rh-factor or blood in compatibility
- Maternal fall/accident
Peri-natal Causes (During birth)
- Premature delivery
- Umbilical cord accidents
- Multiple gestation
- Misuse of forceps
- Head trauma at birth
- Respiratory disorders
Postnatal Causes (After birth)
- Head injury
- Toxic metabolic disorders
- Environmental deprivation
Characteristics of Persons with Mental Retardation
We have outline the characteristics of persons with mental retardation under the following:
- Have difficulty in remembering information
- Have short attention span
- Have problem in transferring knowledge
- They cannot generalize
- They learn very slowly
- They lack interest in learning or problem –solving
- Computation ability is very low
Behavioural / Emotional Characteristics
- Some are restless/ hyperactive
- Some are loners / hyperactive
- Some exhibit temper tantrum
- Some are easily distracted
- Some have big or small heads
- Some have big tongues
- Some have stubby legs and hands
- Some have golden voice
- In some, it is difficult to differentiate the chest from the abdomen
- Some have basal forehead
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