What is Mental Retardation?

What Problems does a Mentally Retarded Person Have? What Can a Person With Mental Retardation Do?



Myths are roadblocks that interfere with the ability of persons with disabilities to have equality in employment.  These roadblocks usually result from a lack of experience and interaction with persons with disabilities.  This lack of familiarity had nourished negative attititudes concerning emplyment of persons with disabilities.  Listed below are some common myths and the facts that tell the real story.

MYTH:  Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers compensation insurance rates.
FACT:  Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization's accidnet experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.

MYTH:  Emplyees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than emplyees without disabilities.
FACT:  Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.

MYTH:  Persons with disabilities are inspirational, courageous, and brave for being able to overcome thier disability.
FACT:  Persons with disabilities are simply carrying on noraml activities of living when they drive to work, go grocery shopping, pay their bills, or compete in athletic events.

MYTH:  Persons with disabilites need to be protected from failing.
FACT:  Persons with disabilites have a right to participate in the full range of human experiences - including success and failure.  Employers should have the same expectations of, and work requirements for, all employees.

MYTH:  Persons with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards, thus making them a bad emplyment risk.
FACT:  In 1990, DuPont conducted a survey of 811 emplyees with disabilites and found 90% rated average or better in job performance compared to 95% for employees without disabilites.  A similar 1981 DuPont study which involved 2,745 employees with disabilities rated average or better in job performace compared to 90% of employees without disabilities.  The 1981 study results were comparable to DuPont's 1973 job performance study.

MYTH:  Persons with disabilites have problems getting to work.
FACT:  Persons with disabilites are capable of supplying their own transportation by choosing to walk, use a car pool, drive, take public transportation, or a cab.  Their modes of transportation to work are as varied as those of other employees.

MYTH:  Persons who are deaf make ideal emplyees in noisy work environments.
FACT:  Loud noises of a certain vibratory nature can cause further harm to the auditory system.  Persons who are deaf shoudl be hired for all jobs that they have the skills and talents to perform.  No person with a disibilty should be prejudged regarding emplyemtn opportunities.

MYTH:  Considerable expense is necessary to accommodate workers with disabilites.
FACT:  Most workers with disabilites require no special accomodations and the cost for those who do is minimal or much lower thatn many emplyers believe.  Studies by the Presidents's Committe's Job Accomodation Network have shown that 15% of accomodations cost nothing, 51% cost between $1 and $500, 12% cost between $501 and $1,000, and 22% cost more than $1,000.

MYTH:  Employees with disabilities are more likely to have accidents ont eh job than employees without disabilites.
FACT:  In the 1990 DuPont study, the safety records of both groups were identical.

October 1994
President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
1331 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004



Adults with learning disabilities are as heterogeneous
a group as those withoutlearning disabilities and far
from homogeneous in symptomatoloay. They continue to
experience difficulties ranging from mild to severe
in some of the following areas:

BASIC SKILLS DEFICIENCIES. Difficulty in decoding unfamiliar words. Complain of slow, labored reading, poor comprehension and retention of what was read. Difficulty in performing simple math operations. Difficulty reading newspapers, filling out job applications, handling money, writing checks, paying bills, keeping records, following recipes, calculating tips, reading a menu or street signs, and setting alarm clocks.

LANGUAGE. A common finding is a history of language delays or impairment resulting in smaller vocabularies, less use of and understanding of complex sentences, mispronunciations, incorrect word usage, poor organization of thought, and a narrower range of meanings for words.

MEMORY AND ATTENTION. Memory deficiencies interfere with learning rote material such as days of the week, months of the year, and times tables. Basic facts are hard to remember and there is a lack in knowledge of general information. There are deficits in attention that interfere with ability to focus and concentrate on tasks.

AUDITORY PROCESSING. Difficulty discriminating among similar sounding phonemes, blending sounds into words, and associating sounds with their letter counterparts.

VISUAL PERCEPTION AND DIRECTIONALITY. Difficulty with spatial relationships. Assembling a pencil sharpener, vacuum cleaner, or luggage rack can be a major challenge. Many cannot copy a geometrical design or put a puzzle together. There may be problems in interpreting common facial expressions, such as frowns, grimaces, looks of annoyance, and therefore, inappropriate responses.  Often do not get to places on time because, in addition to confusion about right and left directionality and poor concepts of time, they get lost.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL ADJUSTMENT. Many failures and frustrations throughout the school years result in feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, lack of confidence, and depression. Forming and maintaining friendships with others is complicated by their deficiencies in language and social adjustment, including poor perception of other people's feelings. The presence of learning disabilities in youths and adults who are incarcerated or other wise in trouble with the law is disproportionately high. There appears to be a greater susceptibility for involvement in antisocial acts because of an inclination toward impulsive and aggressive behavior, difficulties in language, less ability to understand cause/effect relationships, and poor social skills.

Excerpted from The Adult with Learning Disabilities:
An Overview by Ruth L. Gotiesrnati. Guest Editor, LEARNING DISABILITIES, A MULTIDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL. Volume S. Number 1. 1--ebruary 1994. Published by 1,DA. (With permission from LDA)