Real Life Stories

Joanna, aged 4 1/2, was interviewed by the director of a preschool when her parents applied to have her enrolled. Joanna smiled a great deal and was interested in the toys in the office. The director, however, was concerned about Joanna's inability to say her own name and address, to communicate basic information about her family, and to express herself verbally. After an evaluation, Joanna was diagnosed as mildly mentally retarded, and she is now enrolled in a special school where she receives individual help in language development and academics. Her teachers feel that she is benefiting from the program and will be ready to enter a mainstream kindergarten.

Michael, 5, was diagnosed by his pediatrician shortly after his birth as having Down Syndrome, due to certain physical characteristics such as his round face, flattened nose bridge, abnormally small head, low-set ears, short limbs, and abnormally shaped fingers. Mental retardation is inevitable in children with Down Syndrome. Michael's parents were helped to locate an appropriate early intervention program that also provides parent education.

Eddie, 5th grade, was always considered a little slower than his peers, but he was a likeable child who got along well with family members and friends. When academic work became demanding and he fell behind in 2nd grade, the school conducted an evaluation. He was diagnosed as having moderate mental retardation and was placed in a special education class where the material is appropriate for his cognitive ability and learning pace.