Common Characteristics of Students with Mild Disabilities

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

The following characteristics will vary from one student to another but are generally the same across the categories of mild intellectual disability, emotional disturbances, and learning disabilities. They are clustered under psychological, educational, and social characteristics.

Psychological Characteristics

  • Mild disability undetected until beginning school years
  • Cause of mild disability is difficult to detect
  • Physical appearance the same as students in full-time regular education
  • Poor self-concept

Educational Characteristics

  • Lack of interest in school work
  • Prefer concrete rather than abstract lessons
  • Weak listening skills
  • Low achievement
  • Limited verbal and/or writing skills
  • Right hemisphere preference in learning activities
  • Respond better to active rather than passive learning tasks
  • Have areas of talent or ability that are overlooked by teachers
  • Prefer to receive special help in regular classroom
  • Higher dropout rate than regular education students
  • Achieve in accordance with teacher expectations
  • Require modifications in classroom instruction
  • Distractible

Social Characteristics

  • Experience friction when interacting with others
  • Function better outside of school than in school
  • Need adult approval
  • Have difficulties finding and maintaining employment after school
  • Stereotyped by others
  • Behavior problems exhibited
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