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Mental Retardation Definition – Different Ways in Which the Condition is perceived

Posted Aug 23 2012 2:19pm

Defining mental retardation has been a challenging task for the metal health experts, considering the social and emotional aspects of the condition. The patients experiencing the condition have to undergo extreme humiliation because of the associated behavioral signs and symptoms. As a result, the mental retardation definition has undergone a number of changes over all these years. To understand the condition in a proper way, go through the sections below as they define the mental health condition in different ways.

Some Common Definitions

  • Development Disability: The definition of mental illness is given as a form of development disability that retards the growth of mental ability in the children and consequently impairs their physical growth as well.
  • Intellectual Disability: The condition is more clearly defined as a type of intellectual disability in which the intellectual functioning abilities are limited to below average levels.
  • Adaptive Functioning Disability: In the common language, mental retardation is defined as the disability in adaptive functioning that encompasses daily life skills like communication, self-care, social skills, learning skills and work skills.
  • Delayed Development: The most common form of defining mental retardation is delayed development. In this regard, the comparison of growth among children is established to single out the mentally retarded children showing delays and difficulties in growing.

Mental Retardation Defined in Terms of Facts

It is important to be familiar with the mental retardation facts to define and understand the condition. Here are some known facts that provide a clear picture of how the condition prevails in the society:

  • The condition affects the children and adolescents below the age of 18.
  • Intelligence quotient (IQ) is the best mean of measuring intellectual functioning. The IQ score below 75 defines different levels of mental retardation.
  • Up to 3% of the general population is affected from different stages of mental retardation.
  • In the United States, the approximate number of mentally retarded patients range between 7 and 8 million.

 

Mental Retardation Defined in Terms of Causes

It is unfortunate that the exact causes of mental retardation remain unknown in a majority of cases. However, some of the known causes include:

  • Pregnancy time complications that can result in the birth of babies with retarded brain. In addition, the birth time complications may also lead to the condition.
  • A number of infections ranging from congenital rubella to HIV infection. These infections may develop before or after the birth.
  • Genetic disorders like Williams’s syndrome, Hunter syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, galactosemia and others.
  • Malnutrition and deficiency of iodine
  • Exposure to poisonous chemicals like mercury and lead
  • Head injury and intracranial hemorrhage
  • Parental deprivation or neglected childhood
  • Delayed or inadequate medical care during some illnesses

Mental Retardation Defined in Terms of Types

Apart from defining what is mental retardation, it is equally important to understand the types of mental retardation. Two broad classes of the condition include:

  • Syndromic Mental Retardation: The condition when intellectual disabilities are accompanied by other abnormal signs and symptoms.
  • Non-syndromic Mental Retardation: The condition when only intellectual disabilities are shown by the patients.

A better way to understand the mental retardation types is on the basis of IQ score:

  • Mild Retardation: The condition when a patient shows IQ score between 50 and 70. These patients are regarded as slow learners and can be found leading a normal adult life.
  • Moderate Retardation: The condition when a patient shows IQ score between 35 and 50. These patients can perform simple tasks and are usually capable of taking self-care.
  • Severe Retardation: When the IQ score is found between 20 and 35. Only basic self-care skills are learnt by these patients. They are dependent on their family members for most of the tasks.
  • Profound Retardation: For the patients showing IQ score below 20. These patients are considered as unstable and often admitted to special care-taking institutes.

Mental Retardation Defined in Terms of Symptoms

The mental retardation definition can be best understood in the form of signs and symptoms shown by an affected individual. The main symptoms of mental retardation are identified on the basis of delays that the patient shows in different categories. Here is the list of symptoms:

  • Difficulty and delay in developing speech based communication which is also called oral language communication.
  • Difficulty and delay in the development of problem solving skills that involves mental abilities.
  • Difficulty and delay in developing memory and learning skills.
  • Difficulty in adapting to the social skills that include interpersonal skills and social responsibilities.
  • Difficulty in developing other adaptive functioning skills like self-care, work skills and academic skills.

The definition and terminology of mental retardation have kept on changing with time to provide the people with better view of the condition. It is very important to impart knowledge about this mental illness to make the society impartial towards the patients.

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