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Mental Retardation


Mental Retardation

The condition of limited mental ability in which the individual has

  1. Low IQ score – below 70, on traditional intelligence tests.
  • Difficulty adapting to everyday life, communication, self care, inter-personal skills academic skills, work leisure etc.
  • An onset of these charachteristics by age 18.
  • Levels of Retardation:

    Classification on the basis of score in IQ tests.

    • Mild 55-70
    • Moderation 40-54
    • Severe 25-39
    • Profound 25 below score on IQ tests Classification on the basis of the degree of support required.
    • Intermittent:

      Support is provided only when and as needed such as during medical crisis, job loss etc. The support provided may be low or high intensity.


      Intense support required and for a relatively longer time. Require less personal and cost than intensive types usually support is required for adaptation to changes during school to adult period.


      Regular supports are required such as daily everyweekend or every few hours. These supports are not time limited.


      constant intense supports required such as that of life sustaining nature involve more costs and personal than the other categories classification on the basis of benefit from academic training.

      Educable Mentally Retarded:

      Have IQ’s between 50-75 can handle academic work of class 3-6.

      Trainable Mentally Retarded:

      Have IQ’s between 30-50 can handle academic work upto class 2.

      Origins / Causes of Retardation:

      Organic Retardation:

      A mental retardation caused by a genetic disorder or by brain damage, about 350 organic syndromes are known to cause mental retardation 0-50 IQ range.

      Down’s Syndrome:

      When an extra chromosome is present. A person is both with 47, instead of the usual 46. Mild to serve retardation 25 – 70 IQ range.

      Familial Retardation:

      No apparent biological defect exists but there is a history of retardation in the family. This can be due to environmental factors such as extreme poverty leading to malnutrition or some underlying genetic factor.

      IQ between 55-70 these children can be identified as needing tangible rewards (candy instead of praise) often fail and highly sensitive to what others expect of them. Intelligence improves as they move toward adulthood.

      Social Class:

      Marital instability parental neglect inadequate nutrition low quality schooling can lead to mental retardation and inferiority complex.

      Causes of Mental Retardation:


      Causes that occur before birth – genetic, heredity toxins taken by the pregnant women, disease, defects etc, genetics and heredity include fragile x syndrome, down’s syndrome as well as PKU, prenatal toxins include alcohol, tobacco, drugs diseases and infections such as HIV / AIDs. Neutral tube disorders child’s brain is missing spina bifida incomplete closure of spinal cord.


      Causes that occur during the birth process include oxygen deprivation (anoxia or asphyxia), umbilical cord accidents obstetrical trauma, head trauma and low birth weight.


      Causes that happen after birth or during childhood child abuse and neglect, accidents (head injury) and environmental toxins (pollution).

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