Maximizing the Potential of Our Youth with Intellectual Disabilities: Rethinking Functional Curriculum

Denise A. Rich-Gross, Ph.D.

The University of Akron


There exists a need to examine the practice of pushing functional curriculum to the bottom of the list to teach students with intellectual disabilities (ID). This article discusses how students with these disabilities could better transition into society if they are instructed appropriately. The author further investigates the current practices in other countries. The  federally controlled education systems in Germany best demonstrates the need to offer more years of functional curriculum, job training and life skills early in the education of students with ID.  Assessments for students with intellectual disabilities needs changed, the United States has a one size fits all approach to accountability and testing. German students trained in a vocational area would be assessed on the areas of study. Early assessments appropriately address how our students learn best. The different types of learners and their areas of interest need to be recognized for successful transition into the community.

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