Shailaja Bhangale



Education is mainly considered as a process of human development. Educational processes are adapted to the age and maturity of the children. All round development consists of social, emotional, physical, mental and intellectual development. Intellectual development describes the importance of organism but an alternative view point emphasizes the importance of the environmental context and particularly the social environment. Surroundings affect motivation, therefore, intelligence.


L.S. Vygotsky a soviet psychologist suggests that intellectual development may be largely influenced by a childís interactions with others. An Israeli psychologist, Reuven Feuerstein has elaborated upon this point of view, suggesting that the key to intellectual development is mediated learning experience. The parent mediates or interprets the environment for the child and it is largely through this mediation that the child learns to understand and interpret the world.Bernstein has shown that the handicap reflects itself in the poor educational performance of working class children, particularly those from semi and unskilled families. It seems that the very nature of their ability is profoundly influenced by the social environment. Intelligence has both positive and negative and negative dimensions. The positive higher range is called the gifted and the negative lower range is called mentally retarded.



There have been many schemes and programmes for childrenís development. At early phase of childhood stage, learning takes place to the maximum and there is need for a proper channelisation. Hence, the necessity to study socio-economic and environmental impact on the children having low intelligence.



1. To study socio-economic condition of mentally retarded children;

2. To study the environmental condition of mentally retarded children;

3. To study the view of family of the mentally retarded children;

4. To study the behaviour of people with mentally retarded children.




The study was carried out on a random sample of 200 parents in Jalgaon district.



Two tools were used: 1) Observation; and 2) Questionnaire for parents.



Survey method was used for the present study.

The questionnaire was used to elicit the required information about socio-economic condition and environmental condition.





Higher proportions of mentally retarded children were from labour and agriculture family. Service and commerce person family had lower proportion of mentally retarded.51.2% mentally retarded children were from lowest annual income group. The highest income group had 3.2% mentally retarded children. Percentages of various categories of parents were: 39.20% illiterate, 55.20% literate and 5.6% graduate. The literate parents did not possess more awareness about the future of their children. 50.4% mentally retarded children had lower social environment, 45.6% had medium and only 4% children had well to do social environment. Surrounding in family consisted of behaviour of all family members with mentally retarded children. Majority, 55.2% family behaved like sympathetic, whereas, 16.8% behaved as affectionate, 20% behaved as contemned and 8% behaved as disrespect to mentally retarded children. As regards behaviour of neighbours with mentally retarded children, 42.4% people behaved like disrespect, 46.4% people behaved like contemned and only 12% people behaved like sympathetic and affectionate.


Most of the mentally retarded children have lower social, economic status and lower environmental situation. The lower social environment of mentally retarded children influences the awareness of development, education, and socialization of such children. Socio-economic environment exerts its influence on childís personality and educability through his / her family. Nature of the family, occupation of the parents, parentís attitude, and love and aspirations towards their children are of utmost importance. Illiteracy, social bindings, poor economic condition and, lower treatment by family and people influence the awareness about these children.