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Mental Retardness

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MENTAL RETARDATION DEFINITION According to AAMR (American Association on Mental Retardation), mental retardation is a disability that occurs before age 18. It is characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills (Causes and Prevention of Mental Retardation). EXPLANATION Mental Retardation is a developmental disability and is a condition normally diagnosed before age 18 wherein a person has certain limitation or difficulty in mental functioning and in skills such as language skills, writing skills, social skills, receptive and expressive communication (Mental Retardation) and being aware of personal health and safety (Stephen Brian Sulkes, 2006). These difficulties will cause the person to develop more slowly than the normal child and thus have problem in making decisions too. Mentally retarded children may take longer to speak, walk and take care of their personal needs like going to the bathroom, dressing and eating (Causes and Prevention of Mental Retardation). This does not mean that the individual will not learn and develop but, instead, intervention will be necessary to assist the individual with his or her development (Mental Retardation). ...read more.


CAUSES Anything that damages and interferes with the growth and maturation of the brain can lead to mental retardation. This might happen before, during or after the birth of the child. Mental retardation affects about 1 - 3% of the population (Rachel, 2007). There are many causes of mental retardation, but in about one-third of all cases, the cause of mental retardation is not known. The remaining two-thirds of cases are thought to be caused by one of four factors (MENTAL RETARDATION): 1. Genetic 2. Prenatal illnesses and issues 3. Childhood illnesses and injuries 4. Environmental factors GENETIC FACTORS About 5 / 30% percent of mental retardation cases are caused by genetic factors (MENTAL RETARDATION). Abnormalities of genes inherited from parents, errors when genes combine, or from other disorders of the genes caused during pregnancy by infections, overexposure to x-rays and other factors interfere with the normal development of the child's brain leading to mental retardation. There are many genetic diseases associated with mental retardation. Some examples include PKU (phenylketonuria) and Fragile X syndrome - single gene disorders caused due to a missing or defective enzyme and disorder located on the X chromosome, respectively. ...read more.


Childhood illnesses like Hyperthyroidism, whooping cough, chickenpox, measles, and Hib disease may also cause mental retardation if they are not treated adequately (Mental retardation). Children, when they recover from acute illness, are noticed to have lost many skills which they had learnt earlier (What causes Mental Retardation?). ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Children who might otherwise develop normally sometimes become mentally retarded because of the environment in which they live. Poverty, malnutrition, unhealthy living conditions, and inadequate medical care may all increase a child's risk for mental retardation (MENTAL RETARDATION). Ignored or abused infants who are not provided with the mental and physical stimulation required for normal development may suffer irreversible learning impairment. Exposure to lead or mercury can also cause mental retardation. Many children have developed lead poisoning from eating the flaking lead-based paint often found in older buildings (Mental retardation). Parents should not loose hope and temper easily as it takes longer for children who are mentally retarded to reach developmental milestones significantly later than expected or learning and adaptive skills that were once easy may suddenly become difficult to master due to injuries. These children need supervision from their parents and the people around them; who need to be very patient and careful in providing the special attention they require. ...read more.

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