The parent of the child with Intellectual Disabilities is the most Important members of the team. That provides intervention for these children. The IEP (Individual Education Plan )the meeting is comprised of the psychologist, special educator, speech therapist, occupational therapist if needed , the physical Therapist if needed. In some schools a district representative has to be present and depending on the medical status of the child a nurse is present (KidsHealth Nemours, 1995-2012)
The parent is the most important team member of the IEP process and because of the parent’s role in the educational process the parent should also be a part of the intervention .The parent is the care taker of the child with Intellectual Disabilities and the care taker has to be very knowledgeable about the physical, Psychosocial, cognitive, and language aspects of the child with Intellectual disabilities.
. The American Association of Mental Retardation (AAMR) definition is as follows: Intellectual Disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before the age of 18
When providing services for the child with severe and profound Intellectual Disabilities it is important to remember that these students can develop skills Through intervention from a qualified professional team but it is also important to understand that children with intellectual disabilities do not develop along a normal continuum. Physically children may have some limitations are : head and trunk control problem, limitations with gross motor skills, gait is awkward(walking).
Children with Intellectual Disabilities should be seen by an Occupational therapist to help them develop skills such as: feeding, dressing, writing and other skills that require the use of the upper extremities. The occupational therapist should work very closely with the parents by training the parents in techniques That will help them with their child in the home.
The Physical Therapist might also be a professional team member That provides intervention to the child with Intellectual Disabilities. earlier we mentioned that children with intellectual disabilities have Physical limitations. The physical therapist is the expert that works with the lower extremities. Walking, climbing stairs, using equipment such as: standers bikes etc. The Physical Therapist can also help parents with ways to carryover intervention in the home.
The Speech/Language Therapist provides intervention in The areas of receptive and expressive language skills. The speech therapist also provides services with oral motor and feeding skills. The speech therapist provides intervention with pragmatic and social skills. Many children with Intellectual Disabilities very frequently drool and have difficulties with coordination of oral musculature during eating. The occupational therapist will and should work with holding a spoon and bringing the spoon to the child’s mouth to eat, but the speech therapist works with chewing, swallowing, lip closure.
Students with severe and profound Intellectual Disabilities frequently are non-verbal or minimally verbal and Augmentative Alternative Communication(AAC) is needed. There are many voice out put communication devices on the market that students with Severe and profound intellectual disabilities can be trained to use to make their basic needs and wants known.
Workshops are mandatory for parents to learn how to manage and provide Intervention to their children with Intellectual disabilities. Each Professional team member should train the parents about intervention that they can carry over In the home. Parents should be told about assistive technology and equipment that can be used in the home. Very frequently Medicaid pays for equipment such as: therapeutic bean bags, Bobath therapy balls, communication devices etc. If a communication device is IEP driven then the child can bring it to and from school until graduation.
Children with Intellectual Disabilities have psychosocial deficits and for this reason a counselor or social worker should work closely with the special education teacher and the parents. Parents need help with how to manage behavioral problems such as: temper tantrums, hitting, biting, and screaming. These are behaviors that are seen at The age of 2 and 3 in children that develop along a normal continuum. We have to remember that when we work with the child that has severe and profound intellectual Disabilities. The chronological age might not be equal to the mental age.
Some of the difficulties that a parent with a child that has been Classified with severe and profound Intellectual Disabilities Is behavioral problems, learning problems, basic self help needs, physical limitations, behavioral deficits etc. The parent is the primary care taker of the child with Intellectual Disabilities and the parent needs to be very pro-active with obtaining knowledge and skills from the professional that service their children.
In the past special education for students with Intellectual Disabilities was based on self help skills or activities of daily living such as: face washing, tooth brushing, hair combing and brushing . The IDEA law has helped us to understand that these students have a right to a free public education. To be educated is to be taught academics these students need adaptations but they can learn all subjects the same as any other public school child.
Educational plans for students with severe and profound Intellectual Disabilities are as follows : adapted books, Ipads, computers voice out put communication devices, smart boards etc. The use of technology has helped educators educate students with Intellectual Disabilities with much more ease than in the past. There was time that these students came to school and their self care needs were addressed Exclusively. Each child had a self care kit with a toothbrush, comb, brush, washcloth, soap etc. Feeding skills were met and vocabulary skills were taught but was limited to self care vocabulary.
Intervention is now provided for self help skills and activities of daily living by the occupational therapist, the special educator can concentrate on teaching academics and this strengthens broadens the child’s future with severe and profound Intellectual Disabilities. These children can now graduate at 21 years old with an IEP diploma and move in to day programs for adults.
Questions That Parents might ask. Can my child learn how to be more independent? Will my child ever learn how to talk? Why is my child getting so much therapy and he still Can’t function? Can my child learn? What will happen to my child if I die? 7. I am so scared that my child will be treated badly by others How can I protect my child? When I go out I want my child to eat like a normal person what do I do? 10. How can I buy a communication device for my child?
Bibliography Lynn M Kerr MD, P. (2001-2002). Intellectual disability/mental retardation- classification. Medical Home Tammy Reynolds, B. c. (1995-2012). Community Counseling Services, INC. beginning better lives everyday. What is Intellectual Disability? (2009). Normal Stages of Human Development Birth to 5 Years). (1999-2012). Child Development Institute Parenting Today .