Intellectual Disability Program
Children with a mental handicap are unique individuals just as we are individually different. Children with moderate, severe, and profound disabilities are identified at birth or in early childhood by the medical profession. Generally, these children possess physical anomalies that alert doctors that a problem exists. The physician relies primarily on medical and developmental history; however, psychological evidence may serve to confirm his diagnosis. Children with a mild mental handicap differ from children with significant mental retardation. They are considered developmentally delayed by their families and neighbors, and they progress slowly when they enter school and when compared to their same age peers. Academic failure may be the first clue in diagnosis of a mild mental handicap. Children with a mental handicap take longer to learn the alphabet, numbers, and to read, write and compute simple mathematics than do other children their age. Some children with very significant mental disabilities may not read, write, or do mathematics in their lifetime to any significant degree. Many people with a mental handicap, however, live full and productive lives, holding employment and raising families. Children with profound mental disabilities generally have multiple problems with walking, talking, staying healthy, academics, eating, bathroom usage, and living independently. Each individual is unique and should be valued as a person with gifts, strengths, and abilities.
Criteria for eligibility for special programs for the mentally handicapped are as follows:
- The measured level of general intellectual functioning is two (2) or more standard deviations below the mean. The standard error of measurement may be considered in individual cases. The profile of intellectual functioning shows consistent sub-average performance in a majority of areas evaluated.
- The assessed level of adaptive behavior is below that of other students of the same age and socio-cultural group.
- The demonstrated level of performance in academic, pre-academic, or developmental achievement is sub-average.
- Students are eligible for TMH/PMH services from birth and EMH services from their third birthday until they graduate (receive a standard diploma or G.E.D.) or through the year they turn 22.
A child with a mental handicap will receive services from a teacher who specializes in Exceptional Student Education. Teachers certified to teach students with mental retardation may deliver the services in a variety of settings from the regular classroom to a special class designed for students with significant disabilities. The child with a mental handicap will have an Individualized Education Plan that will identify the specific educational program for that individual child and where the education will occur.
Students may be dismissed if one or more of the following criteria are met:
- The student no longer meets initial eligibility criteria (if performance on any assessment of intellectual functioning, academic or pre-academic achievement, or adaptive behavior is above initial eligibility criteria). Supportive documentation of student’s impaired functioning in that area must be provided in order for the student to remain eligible. Student scores that are substantially above eligibility criteria on one or more of the required measures may indicate a need for further assessment or dismissal.
- The student no longer needs the program as determined by the IEP team.
For further information please contact:
ESE MH Program Specialist