Friday, August 30, 2019

Education for Secondary Students With Mental Retardation Essay

Education is important for any young person. All secondary school students are looking forward to their futures and independence. This is the goal that mentally challenged students also look forward to. It is the challenge of the school system to give each young person the best possible chance at achieving the goal of independence or at the very least performing daily functions to the best of his or her ability. In order for a school or teacher to accomplish this, the teacher must determine the student’s level of academic and adaptive skills then find ways to help him successfully transition into an area of employment that matches his skills. Education for Secondary Students with Mental Retardation Teachers who work with students with disabilities face greater challenges in preparing their students for the world outside of school. Many mentally retarded students, however can be very functional and hold jobs, if they are properly prepared for the world and helped to find their strengths. One of the first things the special education teacher needs to know is that each disability is different and each disabled student has individual needs. Once the teacher has established that each student needs to be treated differently, then a plan can be developed for the student’s future. The first step in helping a student reach his full potential is to determine the skills he already has, such as his academic and adaptive skills. By using these skills, the teacher can help the student make a successful transition from the academic world into the adult world of employment. A final step in successfully educating special needs students involves matching the student’s strongest skills with potential employment opportunities and training the student for the job he would be most likely to succeed in. When a teacher gets a special needs student in her class, her first challenge is to find out what his natural skills are. The first set of skills that need to be evaluated are the student’s academic skills. Academic skills consist what is usually considered school knowledge or what the student learned in school. Academic skills include skills such as critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematical skills (Young, 2007). They are often considered the skills that can be taught. A teacher who wants to see a student succeed needs to determine how well developed the student’s academic skills are developed and what areas of strength the student has in the area of academics. Although it is important for a teacher to provide a well rounded education to students, it is equally important to focus on the student’s specific areas of strength. Once the teacher has determined where the student’s strengths lie, a specific curriculum can be designed for that student. A curriculum is a specific course of study either for an entire class or, with special education, a specific student. It provides a sort of blue print for the educational goals (Browder, 2001). A good reason for developing a curriculum for students with disabilities is to help ensure positive out comes from the information being taught (Browder, 2001). This essentially means that by designing a curriculum specifically for an individual student, it will help that student maximize his academic strengths. Adaptive skills are equally important to helping determine the best way to help students reach their full potential. Adaptive skills can be defined as â€Å"how well a person can deal with the tasks of everyday life. These tasks include the ability to speak and understand; home-living skills; use of community resources; leisure, self-care, and social skills; self-direction. † (Free Health, 2007). Adaptive skills are the kind of skills that allow the student to adapt the information he knows into actions that can help them in daily living. These skills are vitally important in combination with the academic skills in order for a person to effectively adapt to the world and be independent. It is very important for teachers of mentally disabled students to help them develop their adaptive skills to increase the student’s independence. Part of this includes helping the student gain access to community services that can assist in various areas in the community (such as rent assistance, adaptive equipment, or financial assistance). This is another area in which individual attention is needed in order to insure that each student reaches his maximum potential. A teacher needs to assess the social and daily survival skills that the student possess and then help the student develop the areas of strength. In order to develop the skills, the student must practice the skills repeatedly and build on them. The students, like people without disabilities desire to develop socially acceptable behavior and in order to develop this, they must try to maintain it (Wacker, 1984). Once the level of skills and the student’s ability to adapt have been determined, the teacher needs to find the best way to prepare the student for life outside of the school setting. Most mentally challenged people will require some outside assistance in order to be successful. Many students leaving high school go to group homes or spend time in adult day care (Thompson, 1987). In order to successfully transition a mentally disabled young person from the very structured school setting to the adult world, it will take the involvement of more than just the teacher. Family members and community assistance needs to be involved, when looking into helping a mentally challenged young person adapt to life outside of high school. For at least the last year of the student’s school career, the teacher, parents, and the community social service workers involved should meet to discover the most likely success plan for the student. The young person should be included in the process of planning, in order to make the plan more likely to succeed. The plan needs to be within the abilities and skills of the student, and include the student’s interest. The majority of the people classified as mentally retarded are considered to be high functioning enough to live alone and be employed if they are provided with some community assistance. If the student has successfully developed his strongest skills, then he is likely to become fairly well adjusted to functioning in the community. The teacher by the time of graduation needs to have taught the student such basic skills as money management, meal preparation, grooming and safety. In addition to the basic skills, the student needs to have developed some job skills, in order to obtain and maintain employment. The job skills are where the student’s individual areas of strength become important, as those strengths often correlate with the student’s interests. If the teacher and family members effectively helped the student develop the skills, the student is more likely to make a successful transition into the adult world. Those who choose to live on their own instead of with parents or family, often move into group home settings at least initially. Group homes are homes in which several mentally retarded people live together either with some full time supervision or occasional monitoring to provide assistance. Living in one of these homes can often help with the transition from school to independence. Employment opportunities for the mentally challenged vary widely based upon their skills and abilities. Many restaurants and grocery stores employ mentally challenged individuals for stocking shelves or greeting customers. In some cases they help in group environments specifically designed to employ mentally retarded people. Most of these places are set up to provide added support and structure for the disabled people. â€Å"Currently, only one-third of all disabled Americans with disabilities work, although the remaining two-thirds who are not working would like to have a job, but may or may not be looking for one† (Brodsky, 1990). Those who would like to have jobs, but are not actively seeking them may not have been properly prepared by their school systems, their communities or their families. These people need to be informed on the opportunities available to them and provided with assistance on finding suitable employment for their skill level and abilities. Most businesses now claim they are equal opportunity employers, which means that anyone can apply for positions in the company. Some jobs do have basic requirements either for specific position knowledge or for safety purposes, but the company can not turn down a qualified applicant simply because they have a diagnosis of mental retardation. This law has helped many disabled people have opportunities they might not have had available to them a number of years ago. In addition to this many businesses are providing special accommodations for wheelchairs and hearing impaired employees to make jobs more accessible. Everyone has some talent and skills that other people do not possess and everyone despite his or her disabilities has the right to reach his or her maximum potential. It is the job of society to see that every child is raised to reach that potential. No child should be left behind or written off as incapable of accomplishing anything. No one knows what a person is capable of until someone has helped the person achieve success. Everyone even the most intelligent people need some assistance to achieve his maximum potential. The new laws that have been passed in recent years have helped to ensure that the school systems provide the necessary assistance to help disabled children reach their maximum potential rather than just passing them on and counting them for the sake of the school census, until they reach the age of eighteen.Many schools today are legally obligated to provide a satisfactory education to every student. Resources: Beker, Jerome. (1988) Transitioning Exceptional Children and Youth Into the Community. Hawthorn Press/New York. Booth, Tony. (1983). Policies Towards the Integration of Mentally Handicapped Children in Education Oxford Review of Education. Vol. 9, No. 3, 1983. Brodsky, Melvin. (1990) Employment Programs for Disabled Youth: An International View. Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 113, 1990 Browder, Diane. (2001) Curriculum and Assessment for Students with Moderate And Severe Disabilities. Guilford Press/New York. Cambridge, Paul. (2005) Person Centered Planning and Care Management With People With Learning Disabilities. Jessica Kingsly Publishers/ London Connis, Richard T. (1981). Training the Mentally Handicapped for Employment: A Comprehensive Manual. Kluwer Academic Pub Free Health Encyclopedia. (2007). Advameg. Retrieved October 3, 2008 from: Mental Retardation – Definition, Description, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis, Prevention President’s Committee on Mental Retardation- The President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped (1969). Rao, H. P. (1994). Employment opportunities for mentally handicapped individuals in rural area : a proposed model. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology. 1994 Jul; 20(2): 131-7 Thompson, Angela. (1987). Mentally Handicapped School Leavers: Where do they Go? Child care: Health and Development. Wacker, David. (1984). Training Moderately and Severely Mentally Handicapped Children to Use Adaptive Social Skills. School Psychology Review, v13 n3 p324-30 Sum 1984 Young, John W. (2007). Validity of the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress. Educational Testing Service.

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