Mental retardation (also called mental handicap and, as defined by the UK Mental Health Act 1983, mental impairment and severe mental impairment) is a term for a pattern of persistently slow learning of basic motor and language skills ("milestones") during childhood, and a significantly below-normal global intellectual capacity as an adult. One common criterion for diagnosis of what used to be called mental retardation is a tested intelligence quotient (IQ) below 70. more...
The term mental retardation has gradually acquired pejorative and shameful connotations over the last few decades and is now used almost exclusively in technical or scientific contexts where exactness is necessary.
- In North America, the broad term developmental delay has become an increasingly preferred synonym by many parents and caregivers. Elsewhere however, developmental delay is generally used to imply that appropriate intervention will improve or completely eliminate the condition, allowing for "catching up." Importantly, this term carries the emotionally powerful idea that the individual's current difficulties are likely to be temporary.
- Developmental disability is preferred by most physicians, but can also refer to any other physical or psychiatric delay, such as delayed puberty.
- Intellectual disability is increasingly used as a synonym for people with significantly below-average IQ, primarily as a means of separating general intellectual limitations from specific, limited deficits as well as indicating that it is not an emotional or psychological disability. Intellectual disability is also used to describe the outcome of traumatic brain injury or lead poisoning or dementing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. It is not specific to congenital conditions like Down Syndrome.
The American Association on Mental Retardation continues to use the term mental retardation .
There are many signs. For example, children with developmental disabilities may learn to sit up, to crawl, or to walk later than other children, or they may learn to talk later. Both adults and children with intellectual disabilities may also:
- have trouble speaking,
- find it hard to remember things,
- not understand how to pay for things,
- have trouble understanding social rules,
- have trouble seeing the consequences of their actions,
- have trouble solving problems, and/or
- have trouble thinking logically.
In early childhood, mild disability (IQ 60-70) may not be obvious, and may not be diagnosed until they begin school. Even when poor academic performance is recognized, it may take expert assessment to distinguish mild mental disability from learning disability or behavior problems. As they become adults, many people can live independently and may be considered by others in their community as "slow" rather than "retarded".
Moderate disability (IQ 50-60) is nearly always obvious within the first years of life. These people will encounter difficulty in school, at home, and in the community. In many cases they will need to join special, usually separate, classes in school, but they can still progress to become functioning members of society. As adults, they may live with their parents, in a supportive group home, or even semi-independently with significant supportive services to help them, for example, manage their finances.
Read more at Wikipedia.org