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MENTAL

RETARDATION

What is Mental
Retardation?
Mental retardation is a developmental
disability that is marked by lower-thannormal intelligence and limited daily
living skills. Mental retardation is
normally present at birth or develops
early in life.

SPECTRUM OF MENTAL
RETARDATION

Mild
Moderate
Severe
Profound

Mild Mental Retardation


IQ scores from 50 to 75
Includes about 85 percent
of the mentally retarded
population
Individuals in this group
can often live on their own
with community support.

Moderate Mental Retardation


IQ scores between 35 and 50
Includes about 10 percent of
the mentally retarded
population
Individuals in this group can
often lead relatively normal
lives provided they receive some
level of supervision. Such
individuals often live in group
homes with other mentally
retarded people.

Severe Mental Retardation


IQ scores between 20 and 35
Includes about 3 percent to 4
percent of the mentally retarded
population
Individuals in this category can
often master the most basic skills of
living, such as cleaning and dressing
themselves. They often live in group
homes.

Profound Mental Retardation


IQ scores of less than 20
Includes about 1 percent to 2 percent
of the mentally retarded population
Individuals at this level can often
develop basic communication and
self-care skills. They often have other
mental disorders.

CAUSES OF MENTAL
RETARDATION
Infections (present at birth or
occurring after birth)
Congenital CMV
Congenital rubella
Congenital toxoplasmosis
Encephalitis
HIV infection
Meningitis

Chromosomal abnormalities
Chromosome deletions
chromosome than usual)
Defects in the chromosome or
chromosomal inheritance,
fragile X syndrome,
Errors of chromosome numbers
Down syndrome

Problems during pregnancy.


Mental disability can result when
the fetus does not develop
properly. For example, there
may be a problem with the way
the fetus' cells divide as it
grows. A woman who drinks
alcohol (see
fetal alcohol syndrome) or gets
an infection like rubella during
pregnancy may also have a

Problems at birth. If a baby has


problems during labor and birth,
such as not getting enough oxygen,
he or she may have developmental
disability due to brain damage.

Exposure to certain types of


disease or
toxins. Diseases
like whooping cough, measles,
or meningitis can cause mental
disability if medical care is
delayed or inadequate. Exposure
to poisons like lead or mercury
may also affect mental ability.

SOME TYPES OF MENTAL


RETARDATION

Down's Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome

Microcephaly

Phenlykketonuria

Hydrocephalus

DOWN SYNDROME

Down's syndrome is the most


common cause of mental
retardation (see mental
retardation entry) and
malformation in newborns. It
occurs because of the presence of
an extra chromosome.

FRAGILE X SYNDROME
Fragile X syndrome is an
X chromosome defect
that causes mental
retardation and a wide
range of associated
signs and symptoms.

HYDROCEPHALUS

an abnormal condition in which


cerebrospinal fluid collects in the
ventricles of the brain; in infants it
can cause abnormally rapid growth
of the head and bulging
fontanelles and a small face; in
adults the symptoms are primarily
neurological.

MICROCEPHALY
Microcephaly is a
neurological disorder where the
distance around the largest
portion of the head (the
circumference) is less than should
normally be the case in an infant
or a child. The condition can be
evident at birth, or can develop
within the first few years following

PHENYLKETONURIA
The inherited inability to
metabolize (process) the essential
amino acid phenylalanine due to
complete or near-complete
deficiency of the enzyme
phenylalanine hydroxylase.

SOME MEASURES OF
PREVENTION
Improving the nutritional status of
the community as a whole,
especially the girl child in order to
reduce the risk factors for mental
retardation such as low birth
weight, and prematurity in the
offspring of these children in
future.

Universal immunization of children


with BCG, polio, DPT, and MMR to
prevent many disorders having the
propensity to damage the brain
and thereby causing mental
retardation. Rubella immunization
(part of MMR) can totally eradicate
the occurrence of maternal rubella
syndrome.

Avoiding pregnancy before 21 years and


after the age of 35 years as complications
of pregnancy and labour are more
common before 21 years. The risk of
Downs syndrome and other chromosomal
disorders increases as the maternal age
at pregnancy crosses 35 years;

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