Allen G. Sandler
Clifford V. Hatt
Psychological assessment of children with mental retardation is most commonly required for purposes of educational decision-making. Decisions include whether a student meets eligibility criteria for special education services as provided by federal law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1997), and, if so, what type of educational placement and program are appropriate. A second common reason children with mental retardation are referred for psychological consultation is for assistance regarding the management of behavior problems. Conduct problems, including aggression and other disruptive behavior, are estimated to occur in 12%-45% of individuals with mental retardation (Bregman, 1991). Severe behavior problems in individuals with mental retardation, such as self-injury, are less common, but represent a significant treatment challenge. Effective behavioral treatment of behavior problems in children with mental retardation will be based upon a comprehensive assessment of the environmental factors associated with maintenance of the problem behavior.
This chapter will have two parts. In the first part we will review assessment procedures for purposes of identification and classification of children with mental retardation. In the second part, functional assessment strategies for the design of effective behavioral interventions