Cognitive Behavioral Treatments

Cognitive-behavioral treatments have been effective in increasing functioning within the educational and social domains of persons with mental retardation. It has been shown that children with mental retardation are deficient in their ability to use metacognitive skills. As a whole, children with mental retardation use fewer cognitive strategies in memory and learning situations than their peers without mental retardation. In addition, they often lack the abilities to apply learned skills in a new situation. The use of metacognitive training can enhance one's memory and learning skills by teaching self-management skills. For example, a child may be taught to determine what type of math problem is presented to him or her. Subsequently, the child is taught to choose the appropriate strategy and then to evaluate the strategy choice (metacognitive skills).

Along with educational intervention, cognitive-behavioral strategies have been used in the social realm to address peer acceptance and social competence. That is, a person with mild mental retardation who is experiencing social problems can be taught to use metacognitive skills in a given situation. In doing so, one might work toward encoding properly (e.g., think about what happened), interpreting social cues (e.g., what the other person is feeling), and evaluating the possible choices for a response and its consequences.

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