Special Education and Psychology Chair, Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia.
This article deals with vital questions of the health and safety of children with intellectual disability (mental disability and mixed specific disorders). Theoretical analysis has demonstrated insufficient study of the problem, both in national and foreign psychological and pedagogical studies, although a number of approaches exist. Researchers agree that development of these children is an important condition for the existence of both individual and society at large. At the contemporary stage of development of our society, the safety of the children is all the more relevant since the degree of their development is an important condition of socialization and normal interaction with the environment. Diagnostic tools to estimate the comprehension and recognition of unsafe situations by children with these disorders are still insufficiently developed.
This paper describes the application of a technique called “Recognition of Unsafe Situations”, which was designed to study the ability of children with intellectual disability to recognize potentially life-threatening situations (handling household appliances, electricity, medicine, hot or sharp objects, behavior at heights and with stray animals) and to predict the consequences of their actions in such situations. The results of this study allow us to determine the differences in recognizing unsafe situations by children with mental disability and children with mixed specific developmental disorders. We show that children with mixed specific developmental disorders have a certain ability to identify potentially unsafe situations, and with support provided by adults, they are able to predict the consequences of their actions. Children with mental disability, however, have insufficient knowledge of safe behavior; but special activities that take into account these children’s ability to compensate enable them to develop the essential skills for behavior in potentially life-threatening situations.
Keywords: children with intellectual disabilities, children with mixed specific developmental disorders, health and safety, understanding of dangerous situations