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DPE and Goal Instructions for Students with Mental Retardation

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Students with special needs are not strange phenomenon in any given society and their education needs have to be met so as to enable them to achieve the most they can in their childhood and even adulthood. This requires dedicated teachers who have a belief that these mentally challenged children can make it in life and that they also have something to offer to the society. The teachers need to be equipped so as to meet the individual needs of these children. It is in this context that they need to have diagnostic or prescriptive skills that will enable them to establish each student’s potential as they go through life. Teachers need to be trained on how to develop a curriculum that will as much as possible enable a mentally retarded student to achieve the best adult life that he or she can.

Teaching students with special needs requires special training where teachers are trained on developing individualized curricula due to the diverse needs that are exhibited by these students. The long-established method of giving instructions to classes as a whole cannot be applied to these special students because of their different and limited capacities to understand what is being taught or go about life itself. Teachers have to learn to accommodate the different students and their needs (Thomas, 1996). Additionally they must have personalities that can be described as patient and tolerant because students who are mentally retarded take a longer to grasp life issues and comprehend what is taught than their normal counterparts.

The life goals of mentally retarded students vary from those of the normal students and this explains why they would require individualized curricula. For the mentally retarded students the life goals would be learning how to carry out personal hygiene tasks independently such as brushing teeth, combing hair, taking a bath and dressing up. Additionally as observed by Thomas,1996,it would be an individual life goal for them to have social skills that would enable them to co-exist peacefully with other members of the society.

Before developing any curriculum, the teacher must first incorporate the diagnostic/prescriptive type instruction in order to detect any learning disability as well as assess the degree to which a student is needy so as to enable the instructor to come up with the most appropriate individualized education programs for the students. It is this assessment that enables the teacher to identify the best physical activities for the student. The role of diagnosis is to establish the real needs of the students. Diagnosis is done through observation and evaluation (Gipe, 2002). The level of concentration of a student is one of the instruments that teachers use to evaluate the students.

On diagnosis of the level at which the student is challenged the teacher should come up with the most appropriate teaching strategy that meets the needs of the student. After applying an appropriate instruction strategy, the teacher should monitor the student’s performance in order to establish whether the former assists in achievement of the goals that the teacher himself will have set for the student. Students should benefit to their fullest capacity. If after the evaluation, results are not satisfactory it would mean that the student needs more attention and that there would have to be and adjustment of the instruction strategy. (Vodola & Thomas, 1983).

This procedure is very crucial in the daily class because it assists the instructor to develop curricula that are personalized according to each student’s needs and in turn this helps the students to live successful lives as adults without having to be overly dependent on others. It makes them achieve life’s goals to their highest capacity and makes them seize to be viewed as a burden to the society. Additionally it also aids in the assessment of the teacher. Their implementation in class will require commitment on the part of the instructor because of the amount of time and resources that need to be ploughed into this program.

As a student my learning experience was different because I attended a school that did not have mentally retarded students. The curriculum that was used applied to the class a whole where the method of assessment was also one for all students. There often arose the need to attend to individual students because our learning capabilities were different. I would recommend the individualized approach for all students because it ensures that every student reaches their optimal level as far as learning and other life skills are concerned.


Gipe, J. P.(2002). Multiple Paths to Literacy: Classroom techniques for Struggling          Readers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merill Prentice Hall.

Thomas, G. E. (1996). Teaching Students with Mental Retardation: A Life Goal

            Curriculum Planning Approach, Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Vodola & Thomas, M. (1983). Applying the Teaching/Learning Process to Physical

            Education. Neptune City, VEE Inc.

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