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In addition to the inadequacy of adaptive behaviors that occur during the developmental period, mental disability is a state of being below normal in terms of general intelligence functions. In mental disability, developmental period refers to the period up to the age of 18 years. Being below normal in intelligence functions is below the intelligence section score obtained in intelligence tests. Inadequacy in adaptive behavior in children with mental disabilities is the state of inability to show the social behaviors expected of the child from his / her age and expected from the members of the society. Although it can be classified as a psychiatric disorder, it is not a mental disorder. Mental disability describes a particular situation in functions that begin in childhood. This is the limitation of intelligence and the associated adaptive skills.
Regardless of the level of development of mentally retarded children, they differ from normal children. However, the development needs of these children are no different from theirs. These children need to eat, drink, to be loved, to succeed, to be accepted and to live as a member of society. Mentally disabled individuals are able to reach the maturity of personality needed to survive in the social environment by meeting the mentioned needs.
The physical appearance and health status of mentally retarded children varies according to the severity of the disability. The appearance and motor skills of children with mild mental retardation are generally no different from their normal peers. This may be different in children with moderate to severe mental disabilities. Children with mental disabilities are more likely to be ill than their peers. they show some degree of retardation in psycho-dynamic fields. Large and small muscles show inability to use. They have difficulty in hand-eye coordination. Additional physical disabilities such as sight and hearing are more common. As their mental disability increases, language and speech problems increase. Attention periods are short and scattered. They want continuous monitoring, rewards and changes. They have difficulties in transferring the information in short term memory to long term memory. Mentally handicapped children learn many skills as their normal peers. However, their learning is slower and more difficult. As the severity of mental disability increases, their learning slows down and becomes more difficult. It is accepted that they can learn academic skills. Although they cannot be educated in academic skills, they are expected to learn the social adaptation, practical communication and self-care skills (dressing, eating, personal cleaning, etc.) required by daily life. Mentally handicapped children exhibit inadequate skills in fulfilling the requirements of social life (expressing themselves, social cohesion, meeting social needs). They often experience unsuccessful experiences in their school and professional life. .They prefer to play with and play with the younger ones.
We can classify children with mental disabilities as light, moderate, heavy or parallel, educated, taught, heavy and very heavy according to the severity of their disability, or we can classify them according to the intensity levels of the assistance they need. The classification of children with mental retardation is carried out in order to determine the educational needs of the child, to prepare educational programs in the best and appropriate way and to find the most suitable educational environment for the child.
Prepared by: Special Education Specialist Erdi Kanbaş
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