Mental retardation (MR)- Mental retardation (MR) refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It starts before age 18 and is characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas:
- home living
- social skills
- community use
- health and safety
- functional academics
Categories of mental retardation-
- Mild Mental Retardation: Approximately 85 percent of the mentally retarded population is in the mildly retarded category. Their IQ score ranges from 50 to 75 and they can often acquire academic skills up to the sixth grade level. They can become fairly self-sufficient and in some cases live independently, with community and social support.
- Moderate Mental Retardation: About 10 percent of the mentally retarded population is considered moderately retarded. Moderately retarded individuals have IQ scores ranging from 35 to 55. They can carry out work and self-care tasks with moderate supervision. They typically acquire communication skills in childhood and are able to live and function successfully within the community in a supervised environment such as a group home.
- Severe Mental Retardation: About 3 to 4 percent of the mentally retarded population is severely retarded. Severely retarded individuals have IQ scores of 20 to 40. They may master very basic self-care skills and some communication skills. Many severely retarded individuals are able to live in a group home.
- Profound Mental Retardation: Only 1 to 2 percent of the mentally retarded population is classified as profoundly retarded. Profoundly retarded individuals have IQ scores under 20 to 25. They may be able to develop basic self-care and communication skills with appropriate support and training. Their retardation is often caused by an accompanying neurological disorder. The profoundly retarded need a high level of structure and supervision.
Causes of Mental Retardation-
Mental retardation is a complex condition which may be caused by the interaction of several factors. In about 75 % of cases the exact region is never known. Causes of mental retardation involved defects in the genes or chromosomes injuries or conditions that create an develop while a fetus is developing in the womb diseases of early childhood and environmental influences. The three major problem of mental retardation are Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and fragile X.There are various known causes of mental retardation:
- Various genetic disorders like Down’s Syndrome
- Certain maternal infections (rubella)during pregnancy
- Alcohol abuse during pregnancy
- Certain psycho social
- Drug abuse during pregnancy
- Maternal exposure to environmental chemicals
Symptoms of Mental Retardation-
The symptoms for mental retardation are not well defined since they vary with the severity of the condition. Children with mild intellectual deficits are generally not spotted till they begin school. The most common indicator of impaired mental functioning is the child’s underperformance at school. The child may show behaviour not appropriate for his age, may have a decreased learning ability and may not be curious about things around him. Children with severe forms of intellectual disability may have trouble taking care of their daily needs and may require adult help. Almost all children with mental deficits show delayed developmental milestones, in that they sit and stand later than normal children and may also acquire speech later.
Treatment of Mental Retardation-
There is no medical treatment for mental retardation since it is not a disease condition. Treatment strategy involves rehabilitation of the child and making him acquire adaptive skills for everyday life. Special schools provide individualised education to these children, so that they are able to acquire knowledge at their own pace. Apart from academic knowledge, special education also provides these children with the requisite skills so that they are able to adjust in society. Specific treatment measures like behaviour therapy are used to reduce socially unacceptable behaviour of these children. For example, children with mental retardation may have a very low attention span and thus may disrupt their surroundings. Therapy helps to reduce such behaviour.Integrated education is a common approach being applied in case of mental retardationin recent times. In this approach, cognitively deficient children are taught with non-disabled children in normal classrooms, but, some skills are imparted to them separately. This helps to give these children the best of both worlds. Children with mental retardation are different from their peers in that they need more individual attention than other children. However, they need as much love and support as other children do. With early intervention, most children are able to live efficient and satisfactory lives.
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