We're People First: The Social and Emotional Lives of Individuals with Mental Retardation


"We're People First" describes the course of social and emotional development in children and adults with mental retardation. The book is based on empirical research exploring the effects of cognitive delays and "socialization for incompetence" on normal developmental milestones. Empirical information is supplemented and enriched by the reflections of individuals with mental retardation. The book begins with an overview of social and emotional development in intellectually normal persons and a discussion of how this process is affected by the experience of mental retardation. Subsequent chapters describe the changing relationships between persons with retardation and their families throughout the lifespan; with friendships and social skills; self-esteem, emotional coping skills, and stigmas; and major issues of adult life, such as work, sexuality, marriage, and parenthood. Chapters include specific recommendations for how professionals and family members might help to improve the social and emotional functioning of individuals with mental retardation. The final section of the book focuses on mental health concerns, describing the nature and causes of emotional disturbance in persons with mental retardation and outlining resources for intervention and treatment. This book will be invaluable to educators, mental health professionals, vocational counselors, and the families of persons with developmental disabilities.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1996


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