The link between mentally retarded pupils’ social comprehension and the form of education

Algirdas Ališauskas, Živilė Vaičienė


The work compares social comprehension of children with mild mental retardation, learning at mainstream and special educational institutions. The question is raised, what educational environment and form (mainstream or special boarding school) is more favorable for development of social comprehension of pupils with mental retardation. The analysis of four subtests of Wechsler (WISC-R) intelligence test has been carried out: „ Similarities“ and „Block design“ subtests- for evaluation of abstract comparative thinking; „Comprehension“ and „Picture arrangement“ subtests- for evaluation of social comprehension. The data has been processed using descriptive statistical methods (the analysis of graphics, parametric t-test, non-parametric Mann- Whitney test, Pearson correlation coefficient).
90 pupils with mild mental retardation participated in the research, 40 of them learned at mainstream schools and 50- at special boarding schools. The sample was made up of 39 girls and 51 boys.
The results of the research testifies that the education of children with mild mental retardation together with their counterparts provides not worse conditions for the development of their abstract thinking and particularly positively influences their social comprehension and competence.
It has been stated that social comprehension (ability to interpret social phenomena, solve emerging problems, accumulate experience and use it, quick wits, awareness and observance of standards of behavior, adequate evaluation of interpersonal relationship) of mildly mentally retarded children, integrally educated at mainstream schools is statistically reliably higher, than that of children, learning at special educational institutions.
As the considerable link between the social comprehension of mildly mentally retarded children and their families’ demographic characteristics has not been ascertained, it can be hypothetically stated, that higher level of social comprehension of children with mild mental retardation was determined by the context of mainstream school- communication and adoption of empirical experience from the counterparts of normal development.
The research particularly revealed the importance of accentuation the variety of disability situation. Persons with analogical developmental disability (mild mental retardation) distinguish in different level of social comprehension, according to the different educational environment (mainstream school or special school). It shows that certain aspects of the functioning of disabled person (social comprehension in this case) are not one-meaning inner characteristic, but is significantly determined by the context of education (the form and institution of education).
The results of the research testify that social involving (through the integration of education) of persons with mental disorder enables to solve the problems of their social education more successfully than under the conditions of special educational institution.


abstract thinking; intellectual disorder; mainstream school; mentally retarded pupils; social intelligence; social comprehension; special boarding school

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789