Mental Retardation


The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR, 1992) defines a person as mentally retarded when the following three criteria are met: cognitive level (IQ below 70-75), significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas; and the condition is present from childhood (age 18 or less).


  • Cognitive learning - area where students differ most
  • Learn at slower rate
  • Achieve less academically


  • Exhibit same range but more frequently exhibit inappropriate responses to social/emotional situations.
  • Do not fully comprehend what is expected of them in social situations


  • Delayed development of physical skills
  • Usually overweight because of less activity levels

Teaching Strategies for individuals with mild retardation

  • Put individual in less demanding sport position
  • Over teach the cognitive information
  • Emphasize fitness activities

Teaching Strategies for individuals with severe retardation

  • Emphasize range of motion exercises
  • Have individual propel him/herself as much as possible
  • Concentrate on postural righting activities
  • Use resistance training with therabands
  • Concentrate on vestibular activities

Web Sites About Mental Retardation (Federal Resource Center Mental Retardation Links) Special Education Resources on the Internet for Mental Retardation



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