Module 12: Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disability)

Intellectually Disabled Child Playing in the WaterWhen to Refer

  • If an initial assessment indicates developmental delays, refer to an early intervention program, school, or assessment specialists as indicated.
  • Refer the child or adolescent for additional services (e.g., early intervention services, speech and language services, occupational and physical therapy) after assessing her specific needs.
  • Refer for therapeutic services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy) as indicated.
  • Refer a child or adolescent who presents with persistent behavioral or emotional difficulties for a mental health assessment. Suggest positive behavioral support techniques to reinforce positive behaviors.1
  • Refer families to national organizations or local, state, and federal agencies for further support


  1. Dunlap, G., Carr, E. G., Horner, R. H., Zarcone, J. R., & Schwartz, I. (2008). Positive behavior support and applied behavior analysis: A familial alliance. Behavior Modification, 32 (5), 682-698.

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