Mental Retardness

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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).


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). Aggression, self-injury, and mood disorders are sometimes associated with the disability (Mental retardation).


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR), which is the diagnostic standard for mental health care professionals in the United States, classifies four different degrees/ levels of mental retardation based on the person's level of functioning (Mental retardation):

  1. Mild
  2. Moderate
  3. Severe
  4. Profound


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Approximately 85% of the mentally retarded population falls under this category. Their IQ score ranges from 50–70, and they can often acquire academic skills up to about the sixth-grade level. They can become fairly self-sufficient and in some cases live independently, with community and social support. (Mental retardation)


About 10% of the mentally retarded population is considered moderately retarded. Moderately retarded persons have IQ scores ranging from 35–55. They can often lead relatively normal lives and can carry out work and self-care tasks with moderate supervision. They typically acquire communication skills in childhood and are able to ...

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