Intellectual Disabilities


This unit introduces the concept of intellectual disabilities, and helps students understand the causes and how they affect the functioning of the brain. Students learn that people with intellectual disabilities have hopes, dreams, and goals like everyone else and are able to live very productive lives.

Key themes:

  • People with intellectual disabilities can do many things, but it sometimes may take them longer to learn how to do them.
  • People with intellectual disabilities are unique but have can have multiple challenges, including language, academic, social and motor skills, and activities of daily living.
  • Name-calling is hurtful and cannot be confronted passively. Students are encouraged to use modern language and be a friend and an ally.
  • The importance of sensitivity and respect for children and adults with intellectual disabilities is emphasized.

Program implementation is flexible and can be adapted for your classroom, but a typical 2-hour session includes:

Informational PowerPoint video Students learn about the concept and causes of intellectual disabilities, about current terminology, and the uniqueness of people with intellectual disabilities. Suggestions for how to be an inclusive friend are covered
Three small group activities A hands-on activity teaches how people develop and learn.
An anti-bullying activity addresses hurtful name-calling.
An activity illustrates how we make assumptions about people and that we all have a variety of interests and interesting things about us.
DVD Three stories highlight children with intellectual disabilities at school and doing leisure activities.
Guest speaker Students meet a guest speaker who shares the experience of living with an intellectual disability.