Mental retardation is the cognitive impairment of a person. In this, the cognitive ability of the person is below average so they face intellectual and developmental disabilities, and they are not able to adapt the environmental influences. This problem is often faced by people in the developmental period which is the gestation period which is till the age of 18 years.
This condition is observed in 2 to 3% of the total population. In many cases, physicians are not able to diagnose the problem in the early stages. It has various signs and symptoms which are needed to diagnose as early as possible.
Different people have different symptoms some have mental disorders, some will face intellectual disabilities and some will face only mild intellectual disability and some neurological disorders.
They will also lack communication skills. It can be due to genetic disorders if some family members are suffering from it then it might be the possibility that the child we have some disorders like this.
If the child is suffering from this type of disorder then there will be developmental delays. Their IQ scores are also less than those of the general population. Sometimes the children are severely affected by the disorder and it becomes difficult to treat this disorder.
There are various treatments that will help the child to overcome the disorder but this disorder is not completely cured. However, the disorder should be diagnosed in the early childhood stage.
The child will get the appropriate support from the family members and society as well. There are several risk factors that will cause severe impairment in the child’s everyday life. It will also limit their academic skills.
1. Intelligence Quotient of Mental Retarded People
The Intelligence Quotient or IQ tells us about the problem-solving and reasoning ability of a person. It will make you different from people of your age by completing a specific test and then the score of that test will tell you your IQ.
Children who have mental deficiencies have lower IQs than normal children. The mental ability of the children is not as developed as that of other children of their age.
2. Several Types Of Mental Retardation
2.1. Intellectual Disability
It is also known as ID. The term intellectual disability is used for children who are facing difficulties in communication and self-care skills. They also face some behavioural problems. These children are generally slow learners and they are different from other children of their age.
The symptoms of intellectual disability will start during infancy but they might not be noticeable in infancy. They are noticeable in the children when they reach school age. Intellectual disability affects intellectual functioning i.e. IQ, adaptive functioning & behaviours.
2.2. Intellectual Functioning
It is also known as general mental abilities. Intellectual functioning includes learning, problem-solving, comprehension of complex ideas, reasoning, and learning from experiences.
It will affect the mental functioning of the children. Intellectual functioning also consists of the imagination of the children, memory, suggestions, and judgments. These are also known as intellectual operations.
2.3. Profound Mental Retardation
It is generally referred to as MR. It is the subaverage general intellectual functioning and the limitations in adaptive functioning before the age of 18 years. The children suffering from this will have IQ scores below 20 to 25. The children will grow their communication skills, self-care, and self-direction with the help of proper support and training provided to them.
2.4. Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities
It can be written as IDD in short form. It consists of various chronic and severe conditions. It can be both physical and mental impairment. The person will develop this disorder at any time from birth up to the age of 22 years and it will remain lifelong.
The person will face problems in various life and daily activities such as language problems, learning problems, self-help, self-care, and mobility. The person suffering from IDDs might develop various diseases such as autism, Apert syndrome, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and developmental delays.
2.5. Global Developmental Delay
It is the condition in which the child takes a longer time period to reach a certain developmental milestone in comparison to other children. Children suffering from this disorder will not be able to learn to walk or talk properly, interact with people emotionally and socially, and have movement skills. The children will develop this disorder from infancy to preschool (at the age of 0-5 years).
The children have the following symptoms when they are suffering from the disorder:
- The children will not be able to learn to sit, walk, or crawl on time.
- They have very poor judgment and social skills.
- They will lack communication skills
- They have very aggressive behaviour.
- They have limited conceptual and reasoning abilities.
3. Major Mental Deficiencies Disorders For All Types Of Mental Retardation
There are various mental deficiency disorders. Some of them are:
It is a mental health disorder in which the patient loses interest in activities. Their mood swings increase randomly and they feel impairment in their daily life.
3.2. Anxiety Disorders
The person will feel fear and worries which will cause impairment in their daily life and make them socially and emotionally inactive.
3.3. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The person will come across some unreasonable thoughts or obsessions which will also create some fears in their mind which ultimately leads to compulsive behaviours. If it is chronic then it will be lifelong.
3.4. Bipolar Disorder
In this disorder, the person will feel unusual mood swings, low energy levels, and less interest in activities. They totally lose concentration and the ability to perform their daily activities and tasks. They will feel emptiness and worthlessness. They increase the feeling of self-doubt.
3.5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It is the disorder by which the person suffers after meeting a terrifying event. The person always triggers the back memories and the trauma they felt at that particular event. That event will affect them socially as well as emotionally. The symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression.
It is a disorder where the person’s ability to think, behave, and feel are affected. It may be due to medical genetics or environmental influences. Its treatment will be taken lifelong.
4. Campaign Organised by Various Organisations
There are various American associations that took the issue of mental retardation, as a serious issue and various associations came forward for organizing campaigns and doing proper research on mental retardation.
4.1. American Association On Mental Retardation
The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) is an organization in the United States. This organization is a non-profit professional organization. Currently, this organization is working in 55 other countries as well.
According to this organization, the term mental retardation is the disability of children which can be observed in them before the age of 18 years. Children who are suffering from mental retardation have significant limitations such as intellectual and adaptive functioning.
It was started in 1876 and it is the largest and the oldest interdisciplinary organization of persons who are concerned about mental retardation and the related problems and disorders observed in children.
In 2006 the name of this organization was changed from AAMR to American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
4.2. American Association On Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities
It can also be written as AAIDD. AAIDD has a set of principles that will help it to accomplish its mission.
4.2.1. Those Principles Are:
- By including the society and encouraging the people to participate in the organization and help the people suffering from an intellectual disability or mild intellectual disability.
- By spreading awareness for equality, rights, and the individual dignity of those people as well.
- By providing various opportunities for education and self-determination to children who are suffering from mental retardation.
- By spreading awareness among people and changing their attitudes and mindset against the person suffering from an intellectual disability.
- By providing quality health, vocational, and other human support and services needed by them.
- By encouraging people who are working in this field by giving them gifts and rewards.
- By encouraging the children to make careers in this field in which they can help people suffering from mental retardation and related disorders.
- By making partnerships and strategies for working in this field.
They also do certain campaigns related to Children’s health care, mental health, mental retardation, general mental abilities, intellectual disabilities, mental age, adaptive functioning, early intervention, adaptive skill areas, and adaptive behaviour.
5. American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the professional organization of psychiatrists in the US. It is the largest organization of psychiatrists in the world. There are around 37,000 members in this organization.
They publish a lot of journals and the pamphlets in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It is used as a guide in the diagnosis of mental retardation.
6. American Legislation
The Legislative branch of America contains the House of Representatives and Senate. It gives various laws related to health care.
6.1. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
It was developed by the American Legislation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is for children who are mentally retarded and have some disability. In the year 1975 to 1990, it was known as Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA). The main aim of this act was to provide education to children having disabilities.
6.2. It Is Divided Into Four Parts
6.2.1. Part A
It looks after the general provision of the law.
6.2.2. Part B
Its function is to look after the assistance in education parts of all children having disabilities.
6.2.3. Part C
It looks after infants and toddlers who have disabilities. It generally includes children from birth to the age of three.
6.2.4. Part D
It takes part in the national support services and programs that are administered at the federal level.
6.3. Six Pillars Of IDEA
There are six main pillars of an Idea. They are:
- Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
- Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
- Appropriate Evaluation
- Parent and Teacher Participation
- Procedural Safeguard
7. Diagnosis of All Types of Mental Retardation
There are three main criteria for the diagnosis of mental retardation. They are:
7.1. Conceptual Skills
If the children have an intellectual functioning level less than average and the IQ scores of children are less than 70 to 75 then the children are lagging in their conceptual skills. It includes language learning (writing and reading both), concepts of mathematics and numbers, suggestion and judgment in any situation, reasoning, and self-direction.
7.2. Social Skills
Social skill is the skills that one has to know when they are living in a society or environment. They should know how to interact with people (known as interpersonal social communication skills), know the social rules & regulations, customs, awareness of the social responsibilities, and laws, social problem-solving skills, and self-esteem.
7.3. Adaptive Skills
They are also known as practical skills as they are needed in everyday life i.e. eating habits, dressing sense, and mobility. It includes general skills like transportation or travelling, proper health care, preparing food, and some professional skills, health care. These skills help us to live in a safe as well as socially responsible manner.
8. Early Intervention Programs For All Types Of Mental Retardation
Early intervention programs are services for children from infancy to toddlers to find out whether they are at risk of developmental delay or are mentally retarded.
These services help the parents to identify and check the developmental areas of the children. These areas include physical disabilities, communication, adaptive development, emotional development, and social development.
This early intervention plays an important role in the life of children who are mentally retarded. Due to the early diagnosis, the children will be taken more care and the family will help them to develop skills socially and emotionally. communication skills are also becoming better when it is focused from early childhood.
Academic skills are also enhanced when they are focused from early school age. These children will get special education which will help them to live happy, successful, and healthy in the future.
9. Treatments For Mental Retardation
The treatments for mental retardation are non-medical. For the treatments, it is necessary to diagnose the disease properly. If the child is suffering from intellectual disabilities then it is necessary to go for a counselling session.
In the counselling session, the therapist will observe the children carefully and know their behaviour of the children and the other conditions the children have. Then the therapist will talk to the parents and try to learn more about the children some more things.
Then the therapist will check the adaptive behaviours and the IQ score of the children. The therapist will suggest intervention programs for the children. The service plan and a chart are prepared for the children which will focus on the children’s needs.
This plan contains all the necessary information and the services that are needed by the children for normal development. There are various education programs that will help these children to fulfil their educational needs.
9.1. Various Therapies for Mental Retardation Are
9.1.1. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is done to bring the mental and the physical aspects together. Its main aim is to promote functional movements by doing physical activities like aerobics, and exercise. Various physical therapy sessions will motivate the children to do exercises like walking, jogging, running, and cycling. Breathing exercises and some yoga are also part of physical therapy.
There are 6 types of physical therapies provided to patients. They are:
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Geriatric Physical Therapy
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Types of Physical Therapy
Neurological Physical Therapy
9.1.2. Speech Therapy
There are various speech therapies given to mentally retarded children. It includes oral-motor/feeding. It also involves swallowing therapy. It also contains various exercises that are provided to the children such as lip, tongue, and jaw exercises which will help them strengthen their mouth muscles. This exercise is beneficial for the children in eating, speaking clearly, and swallowing.
Proper communication is taught to the children. Pronunciation is also a major factor that helps in communication, so proper pronunciation is taught to children. The language is also taught to them so they can easily express their thoughts and understand other people’s thoughts.
9.1.3. Training With Special Assistive Device
Special assistive devices are devices that are designed in such a way that they will help people with physical impairment and people suffering from cognitive disorders. They have special assistive technology. These devices are used to focus on the learning of children suffering from some disorders.
There is a special tool for children who are not able to memorize the class lectures and have a problem with language or they are not able to learn at one time of the hearing, so this device will record everything so the children will be able to listen to the recordings.
There is another tool for organizing things and memorizing them. With this software, they can store their information, plan and organize things, can keep the record as well as their schedule.
There is another software which helps in writing. It helps in the proper usage of words, correction in grammar, proper spelling correction, and the proper pronunciation of the word. These devices are audiobooks, graphic organizers, free-form database software, and electronic math worksheets.
9.1.4. Special Education Services
There are special education services for mentally retarded children. Different countries started different programs for mentally disabled children. These services will help children who are suffering from disorders to enhance their academic skills. Special education refers to teaching children who are suffering from developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities. So we can use these approaches to teach them.
By using models, demonstrate them properly so that they will visualize and understand them. By breaking down the information and instructions into small units so that they will catch things.
We can use multi-sensory learning which means the children will not do rote learning in place of it, they will visualize it, audit it, tactile senses and the children will learn them easily.
10. Post-Treatment Guidelines
Children suffering from mental retardation have to follow the post-treatment guidelines for healthy and happy living. The parents are supposed to motivate the children to participate in group activities, social activities, and physical activities.
The children need emotional support from their family and society which should be provided to them. The proper medications are provided and a routine check-up is necessary for knowing the changes in the condition of the children.
With the given certain therapies and treatments the health of the children is improved but if the disorder is persistent it will remain lifelong. These therapies and medications do not have any side effects.
11. Final Note
The term mental retardation takes various disorders along with it such as intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and behavioural problems. These problems start in infancy and can also be started in young adulthood due to some issues such as depression, anxiety, and peer pressure.
Due to this, the children cannot develop like the other children of their age. They are different from the general population. They will develop structural problems and mental illness. Children suffering from mental retardation have IQs below average levels. Mental retardation can be a genetic disorder or a families having medical history.
There are various American Associations that are working continuously to help mentally retarded children and they are spreading awareness among people to help children suffering from mental retardation and intellectual disability. They encourage society to help and support mentally retarded children.
There are special education programs and services which help them to learn easily. These programs teach children from the very basics so that the children will learn easily. They also use visuals, audio, and live examples so that the children will memorize the things.
This disorder needs to be diagnosed as early as possible so that treatment should be started. This disorder can not be completely cured. The treatment will last lifelong. After the diagnosis of the disease, it is required to contact a counsellor or a doctor. The treatment and the medications do not have any side effects.
The treatment mainly consists of therapies that will help the children develop communication skills and behavioural skills. They can able to perform physical activities after attending the therapy sessions.
12. Frequently Asked Questions
12.1. What Are the Complications of Mental Retardation?
Certain aspects of mental retardation and organic brain disease are discussed: notably, psychopathology, the delayed effects of congenital infections, epilepsy, and the association between Down’s syndrome and dementia.
12.2. What Are the 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
12.3. What Is Mental Retardation and Its Types?
Mental retardation comprises five general categories: borderline, mild, moderate, severe and profound.