Special Olympics: Middle East & North Africa


All the intellectually disabled have one thing in common which is the disability they have. However, they differ in every other aspect.
The main characteristics of the intellectually disabled fall under 5 criterias which are:

Physical characteristics

  • An underdevelopment in physical growth
  • Average weight and height usually less than normal peers of the same chronological age
  • Physical deformation
  • Retarded movement and balance

Mental characteristics

  • Less-than-average I.Q.
  • Underdeveloped speech and language skills
  • Poor: memory, attention, perception, imagination, thinking, computing and concentration

Social characteristics

  • Underdeveloped ability of social adjustment
  • Lack of interests and orientations
  • Irresponsibility
  • Aloofness
  • Aggression
  • Low self-esteem

Emotional characteristics

  • Emotional imbalance
  • Excessive movement
  • Evidence of premature or late reactions
  • Primitive reactions

Attributes of the intellectually disabled classifications

  • EMR:
    • Provided with the appropriate educational services, certain aspects related to some academic skills (reading, writing, arithmetic) could be acquired, besides, possessing social communication skills as well as vocational rehabilitation.
  • TMR:
    • Primary educational programs.
    • Workshop training.
    • Rehabilitation programs.
  • SMR:
    • In constant need of professional and extensive care provided only within the premises of permanent boarding centers.

Psychological and behavioral characteristics

It's important to know that statements about psychological and behavioral characteristics of the intellectually disabled are based on the research studies, comparing group of persons with and without intellectual disability.
Each individual must be considered as a unique and separate person.

Learning and memory

The most obvious characteristic of the disabled is their reduced ability to learn, compared to their normal peers of the same chronological age. The ID individuals have difficulty in a tending to a variety of stimuli, they are characterized as being easily distracted and possessing very short attention spans. The important of attention for learning in general is obvious. A child must be able to attend to the task at hand before can be expected to learn. Disabled children usually take longer to learn the task. The ID individual is considered to have defects in short-term memory but not in long-term memory.