Mathematical initiation for the mentally handicapped

Karen Daltoé
Matheus Silveira

The concern to obtain a consistent, above all human, professional formation led us to attend the Special Education discipline that would provide us with the initial basic knowledge so that we could attend students with special educational needs.

The present paper, which concludes the course, was motivated by our concern about how mathematical knowledge would be given to students with mental disabilities, that is, what we could do as math teachers to meet, within our means, the educational, mathematical, special needs of students.

Certain that we would by no means remain static in the face of various issues, we elaborate this work as follows: Initially we present a brief historical brush stroke, the definition and the types of mental deficiency, and some ways of identifying a student. mentally handicapped within the classroom. Subsequently, we approach topics such as inclusion, the teacher's role in dealing with the problem and, finally, we deal more specifically with mathematical initiation for the mentally handicapped. We also attach to this material the report of the visit we made to the Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional (APAE).

There are several areas that have been concerned with mentally handicapped children and adults, including education, psychology, social work, and medicine, each of whom views the condition from their own perspective. Obviously, our work emphasizes the educational point of view; However, our goal is not to deepen concepts, even because we would not have enough training to do so. What we want is the minimum necessary acquisition of the simplest concepts and techniques about mathematical education for the mentally handicapped.

“Some children learn faster than others; some learn more slowly than their peers of the same age and, consequently, have difficulty adapting to social demands. ” (Kirk, 1979).

Professionally organized attempts to help slow children began less than two hundred years ago with Jean Itard, a French doctor who tried to educate a boy found wandering in the woods outside Aveyron. Although Itard felt that his attempts to teach the wild boy of Aveyron spoke, one of his students, Edward Seguin, greatly developed Itard's approaches and became a recognized leader of the aid movement for retarded children and adults.

Seguin went to the United States in 1848 due to political unrest in Europe. This country's efforts to educate mentally handicapped children have been intensified by Seguin's work. The care and education of the mentally handicapped in the United States has gradually shifted from large institutions to the specialized classes of public schools and to the current philosophy of integrating mentally handicapped children into society as much as possible.

There are several definitions of mental disability. Many of them differ from one another because they result from approaches from different professional fields such as medicine, psychology, social work and education.

In more recent attempts to define mental disability, the emphasis has shifted significantly from a condition that exists only in the individual to one that represents an individual's interaction with a particular environment.

We will present two definitions: The definition created by the principal members of the American Association of Mental Disability (AAMD) and the one proposed by the American Association On Mental Retardation (AAMR) is the latter in 1992.