IMG_5701The title of this post may be premature. I am not aware of any research into the question how mindset is relevant for people with an intellectual disability. To be honest, I think none has been done.

But I suspect that mindset is actually relevant for people with an intellectual disability. Some years ago, I knew a severely mentally disabled man who was approximately 50 years old. I have only seen him three times at consecutive birthdays. The first time I noticed that, mentally, he seemed to function at the level of a four to five year old (which was the age of my children then).

The second year I noticed that he had a writing pad and pen. His mother, who was always with him, proudly said that he had learned to write his name, which he then did. After he finished, he smiled proudly. The third year, noticed he held a Donald Duck comic book which he was learning to read. His mother said: “Why don’t you read out a bit?” Proudly he read, extremely slowly, some easy words. When he had finished he smiled at me proudly.

What I then thought was how his learning process must have been as fulfilling for him as it is for all of us. The fact that it proceeded extremely slowly did not seem to matter at all for him (nor for his mother). Hadn’t it been for the fact that there was such a big time lag between the times that I saw him, I might not even have noticed his progress.

I think it was probably the growth mindset of both the mother and the man that contributed to his improvement.

Question: what do you think? Is the concept of the growth mindset relevant for people with an intellectual disability? 

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