Mental Retardation

Mental-Retardation

Mental retardation is a condition diagnosed before age 18 that includes below-average general intellectual function, and a lack of the skills necessary for daily living.

• Mental retardation is a condition diagnosed before age 18 that includes below-average general intellectual function, and a lack of the skills necessary for daily living.
• Causes
• Mental retardation affects about 1 – 3% of the population. There are many causes of mental retardation, but doctors find a specific reason in only 25% of cases.
• A family may suspect mental retardation if the child’s motor skills, language skills, and self-help skills do not seem to be developing, or are developing at a far slower rate than the child’s peers. Failure to adapt (adjust to new situations) normally and grow intellectually may become apparent early in a child’s life. In the case of mild retardation, these failures may not become recognizable until school age or later.
• The degree of impairment from mental retardation varies widely, from profoundly impaired to mild or borderline retardation. Less emphasis is now placed on the degree of retardation and more on the amount of intervention and care needed for daily life. Risk factors are related to the causes. Causes of mental retardation can be roughly broken down into several categories:
• Infections (present at birth or occurring after birth)
• Chromosomal abnormalities
• Environmental
• Genetic abnormalities and inherited metabolic disorders
• Metabolic
• Nutritional
• Toxic
• Trauma (before and after birth)
• Unexplained (this largest category is for unexplained occurrences of mental retardation)
• Symptoms
• Continued infant-like behavior
• Decreased learning ability
• Failure to meet the markers of intellectual development
• Inability to meet educational demands at school
• Lack of curiosity
• Changes to normal behaviors depend on the severity of the condition. Mild retardation may be associated with a lack of curiosity and quiet behavior. Severe mental retardation is associated with infant-like behavior throughout life.
• Most developmental disabilities have no cure, but you can often treat the symptoms. Physical, speech and occupational therapy might help. Special education classes and psychological counseling can also help.

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