There are many disabilities, such as intellectual disability, that affect the process and progress of students’ learning. But with the collaborative help from the school, parents, and community; these students can achieve a positive outcome. Intellectual disability is 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 of the same age (NICHCY).
Limitation in intellectual functioning and limitations in adaptive behavior are two major characteristics of intellectual disability. Levels of intellectual disability vary greatly in children based upon their IQ range, which classifies them as mild, moderate, severe, and profound mental retardation (Turnball, Turnball, Wehmeyer & Shogren, 2013):
• Mild mental retardation: IQ 50-55 to approximately 70
• Moderate mental retardation: IQ 35-40 to 50-55
• Severe mental retardation: IQ 20-25 to 30-40
• Profound mental retardation: IQ below 20-25
No matter the severity of this disability, these students all have intellectual functioning needs in the area of memory, generalization, and motivation. The second defined feature of intellectual disability limits the child’s developmental life skills such as conceptual skills (reading, numbers, money, time, and communication), social skills (understanding following social rules, obeying laws, detecting motivation of others), and practical skills (feeding, bathing, dressing, occupational, and navigation skills) (Reynolds, Zupanick & Dombeck).
Intellectual disability can be caused by a problem that starts any time before a child turns 18 years old – even before birth. It can be caused by injury, disease, or a problem in the brain. For many children, the cause of their intellectual disability is not known. Some of the most common known causes of intellectual disability – like Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, genetic conditions, birth defects, and infections – happen before birth. Others happen while a baby is being born or soon after birth. Still other causes of intellectual disability do not occur until a child is older; these might include serious head injury, stroke, or certain infections. Usually, the more severe the degree of intellectual disability, the earlier the signs can be noticed (Louise Chang).
Once the determination of the presence of an intellectual disability has been determined, the nature of specially designed instruction and services can be provided to the student. It is important to implement strategies and other resources that address the needs of the individual and should be applied at home, school, and within the community. The best way to implement these strategies and resources is conducting an IEP meeting. An IEP meeting is when the parents, teachers, counselors, principal, special education director, service...