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Why Consistency in Special Education and Therapies Are Important

By: Dr. Kawthar Hameed Abdullah

Ed.D Educational Psychology & Special Education



Mazin Salah was a 9-year-old child who had been coming to me for several years for educational therapy, behavior therapy, and concentration therapy. He had made great improvements in his therapy and was doing relatively well for a child who had an intellectual disability. He was not at his grade level; however, he was pushing forward with the consistent sessions.


His parents decided to stop him because they just thought it was fruitless to keep paying for therapy and special education services. They thought they could do what I was doing at home. After a year, the father contacted me to inform me that Mazin’s behavior was out of control and he was struggling a lot in school and they needed to come in for a consultation.


After testing him, I discovered that his IQ and educational assessments had declined drastically, and he had lost most of the skills that he had learned in the sessions from the previous year. He could not sit for more than 5 minutes, and he was even aggressive and rude with his parents. The parents had not been using the behavior techniques that I had taught them to use with Mazin and just decided that smacking him was the best punishment to use. In using aggressive punishments, Mazin had learned how to be aggressive.


Mazin is a child with an intellectual disability and he had worked very hard to get where he was, but he had lost it all, because the parents thought they could do better at home than what I was doing. There was no consistency at home and the parents soon became bored in trying to sit with him to follow the home plan they had been given. Mazin could no longer read or write and he had even forgotten how to count past 10.



Mazin was not really getting any educational support in school. The teachers just put him in the back of the classroom with coloring activities to entertain him, so that he would not disturb them or the other students. Again, there was no learning and no consistency.


We had to start from the beginning with learning the ABCs and numbers all over again, even though he was reading 3- and 4-letter words and doing simple addition problems when he left.


Consistency and practice is key

If you remove a child with an intellectual disability from his special education and therapy sessions, with no opportunities available to him to practice what he has learned, how do parents expect the child to retain the information?


The child must be given the opportunity to practice the skills he has learned on a daily basis in order to retain it. This is especially important when you talk about children with intellectual disabilities. Consistency and repetition are the keys to these children’s success.


For children with intellectual disabilities, special rehabilitation services are something they will need throughout their lives; not for a few days, weeks or months. It is important that services are available to them consistently so that they do not forget the information and techniques they have learned.


It is very important that the parents understand that without proper special education services the child may in fact go backward in their education level instead of going forward.

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