Removing Some of the Limitations of Mentally Retarded Workers by Improving Job Design

Michael G. Wade, Marc W. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The traditionally low level of expectancy of persons with moderate, severe, or profound mental retardation in industrial work settings is reviewed from a human factors viewpoint. A case is made for interfacing the retarded worker into the human machine system by evaluating performance in terms of information processing ability. Data are reviewed which suggest that there are many industrial tasks at which such a worker can perform well and earn a wage comparable to his nonretarded co-worker. The issue of training workers versus screening workers is discussed as an additional factor in maximizing the role of workers with retardation in industry. The view of the retarded worker as a communication channel and his ability to process information is regarded as a central issue when discussing the optimization of the person-machine interface. The importance of task analysis in breaking down the task into sub-tasks of acceptable information processing demand is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Factors: The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1978


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