|dc.description.abstract||The aim of the present study was to investigate and compare the social behaviours of children with mild mental retardation with that of their ordinary class - peers. The study also sought views of teachers on how they perceived social behaviours of children with mild mental retardation as well as on their perceptions of intervention programmes for
promoting social interaction at their school. A sample size of 30 children with and without mental retardation and 10 teachers with two or more years of teaching
experience participated in the study. Children's age range was from 8 to 13 years.
Children with mild mental retardation were all receiving their education in the ordinary classroom on fulltime basis, while children without disabilities had been regular class members prior to integration. Children with mild mental retardation were matched with a non- disabled child. This was done by choosing an ordinary class peer of the same sex,with closest birth date to the targeted child.
A time - sampling technique was used to collect observational data. The results
generally indicate that there are similarities and differences in behaviour pattern between children with mild mental disabilities and those without disabilities attending ordinary classes. For example, both groups of children displayed inappropriate behaviour such as disruptive and aggressive behaviour, The only difference was that,while children with mild mental retardation showed higher levels of such behaviour their
ordinary class- peers showed lower levels of inappropriate behaviour. The results in this study have also shown that there were differences between the two groups in the types of behaviour engaged in both the classroom and playground environments. In the classroom, children with mild mental retardation were more often off- task than their ordinary class peers. On the playground, children with mild mental retardation interacted and played less with their peers than did those without disabilities. The results of this study seem to suggest that, integrating children with mild mental retardation in ordinary classroom may not always result into intergroup social interaction. Since the aim of integration is to facilitate intergroup social interaction
opportunities for interaction should be carefully planned and evaluated constantly
A look at the present data, shows that although the study school has been integrating children with mild mental retardation for some years, there are several issues which need to be addressed if this concept has to work in favour of the affected groups of children. Since the results of this study show that children with mild mental retardation
interacted less with their peers, there is need for the concerned teachers to develop
programmes that facilitate intergroup social interaction e.g. sports in action activities that include children with mental retardation. There is also need for the ministry of education to provide uniform policies on social integration of children with disabilities the
District Education Board Secretary in Lusaka should appoint a task force to formulate standard procedures for integration. This will help to avoid a situation whereby there are
varied uncoordinated ways of interacting children in ordinary classrooms.||en_US