Developmental Delay/Mental Handicaps (Mental Retardation) Some children are considered disabled due to developmental delays or mental handicaps. In the language of the regulations this disability refers to “significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance. 34 C.F.R. § 300.7 (c) (6). Due to intellectual deficiencies these students have difficulty learning and retaining skills and knowledge.
Most schools classify these students’s according to their I.Q.s (the I.Q ranges may vary), labeling them as:
Educable Mentally Handicapped: (60 to 69) These children are often physically and otherwise indistinguishable from their typically developing peers. At another time they might have been labeled “slow,” due to their greater need for concrete, repetitive, segmented, and sequential learning.
Trainable Mentally Handicapped: (35/40 to 59) Students in the trainable range are more severely impacted by their intellectual deficits. While they can clearly learn and are capable of developing basic reading, math, writing, and other academic skills, the process is generally much more difficult for them. Learning requires great effort and time. Memory deficits often complicate the learning process. These children often have co-morbid language, speech, gross and fine motor and physical disabilities. Many children with Downs Syndrome fall within this classification.
Severe or Profoundly Handicapped: (Up to 35/40) Children within the severe or profound range of disability have generally experienced severe genetic disorders and their low intellectual capacities are most often accompanied by significant physical handicaps. It is generally very difficult for these children to learn the most basic living skills. Very often these children have severe speech impairments or are non-verbal.