Intentionality judgements and adaptive behaviour in special class and regular class children of equivalent age and IQ.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
An attempt was made to determine the extent to which intentionality judgements differentiate special class children from those of equivalent IQ who remain in regular classes. Despite criticism that adaptive behaviour is a vague domain which presents serious measurement difficulties, there has been considerable reaffirmation of the importance of adaptive behaviour as a component of mental retardation. Approximately 30% or less of children within the 50-75 IQ range in New Zealand attend special classes. It is thus apparent that factors in addition to IQ are being used to determine special class placement. Available research findings suggest that social maladjustment is not inevitably linked with low intelligence and some local research indicates that children placed in special classes and those of equivalent IQ who remain in regular classes differ in terms of their social adjustment. The present study investigated the possibility that maturity of intentionality judgements is associated with maturity of social adjustment in mildly retarded children. Twenty children attending special classes were matched on age, sex and IQ with 20 children attending regular classes. Subjects were administered individually the AAMD Adaptive Behaviour (AB) Children's Form Part II, and an intentionality judgement scale and transcripts were made of the subjects' responses during testing. As predicted, the special class children achieved lower scores on the AB scale than did the regular class subjects thus indicating less adequate social adjustment on the part of the special class children. More significantly, the special class subjects achieved significantly lower intentionality scores than did the regular class subjects. It was thus concluded that intentionality judgements differentiate special class children from those of equivalent IQ who remain in regular classes and that ability to take account of intentions is associated with social adjustment in mildly retarded children. The results were discussed in terms of the criteria used for special class placement and the possible effects of special class attendance.