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Service to the Mentally Challenged: The Case of Twin-City Special School for the Mentally Handicapped, Sekondi-Takoradi
Educating individuals with mental retardation is one of the priorities for most governments in contemporary societies and Ghana is no exception in this endeavour. In the United States of America, Heward (1996) reports that mental retardation is the "oldest" field and that the first public school special education programmes began in 1896 with classes for children with mental retardation (p. 134). By definition, mental retardation refers to "significant sub-average general intellectual functioning resulting in or associated with deficits in adaptive behaviour, and manifested during the developmental period" (Grossman, 1983, p. 11). Classification system formerly used for mentally retarded which is applicable to some extent these days puts the mentally retarded into four categories namely: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. The mildly retarded are educable; they can perform academic tasks just like the average child provided instructions are tailored to their needs. The moderately retarded are trainable. This group of the mentally retarded need functional or daily living skills. In giving instruction on academic skills, it has to be confined to basic sight words. The severe-profoundly retarded need great care if they can live to enjoy life. Kaplan (1996) states that people with mental retardation need different levels of support to enhance their independence, productivity and integration within the community. The writer is of the conviction that if services provided for the mentally retarded are accessible and adequate, it eases the adjustments problems the retarded have to face after their training. It is against this background that a look is given to a school for the handicapped.
IFE PsychologIA Vol 9, No 2 September 2001, pp. 127-134