Effective Teaching Strategies for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

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According to Heward (2009), students with intellectual disabilities have significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior. Learning, reasoning, and problem solving, as well as conceptual, social, and practical skills are all areas of difficulty for these students. While students with intellectual disabilities usually have poor memories, slow learning rates, attention problems, difficulty generalizing what they have learned and lack of motivation, there are effective educational strategies that teachers can use to help these students be more successful and ultimately improve their quality of life. Heward (2009), believes that students with intellectual disabilities learn best when instruction is explicit and systematic. Complex or multi-step skills need to be broken down into smaller, easier-to-learn steps in sequential order. This process is known as task analysis. It can be used to help students meet their individualized goals in the areas of functional curriculum, life skills, and self-determination. These steps can be represented with written language or visually with pictures or video. In a study by Cihak, Alberto, Taber-Doughty and Gama ( 2006), students with moderate intellectual disabilities were instructed using static picture and video prompting to complete a functional task. Task analyses were used to develop picture and video prompts for using an ATM. Pictures of each step were taken using a digital camera and four second video clips of each individual step were filmed to create the video prompts. Simulation instruction was conducted in the classroom, while community based instruction was conducted at the local grocery store. The results determined that both of the strateg... ... middle of paper ... ... students without disabilities. Using these strategies, as well as learning about other effective methods will help students with disabilities develop functional, life, and self-determination skills needed to live independent lives. Works Cited Cihak, D., Alberto, P.A., Taber-Doughty, T. & Gama, R.I. (2006). A comparison of static picture prompting and video prompting simulation strategies using group instructional procedures. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21, 88-99. Elliot, C., Pring, T. & Bunning, K. (2002). Social skills training for students with intellectual disabilities: A cautionary note. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 15, 91-96. Heward, W.L. (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education, 9th edition. Merrill Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

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