Mental Retardation (MR) / Low IQ / Subnormal Cognition / Cognitive impairment

Intellectual Disability / Mental retardation refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It is characterized by significantly sub average intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skills areas: communication, self care, home living, social skills, community use, self direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. Intellectual Disability manifests before the age of 18.

As many as 3 out of every 100 children in the country have intellectual disability / mental retardation

Characteristics / common features of ID / MR
There is many signs of Intellectual Disability / Mental Retardation.

  • Delayed in achieving sitting, crawling, and walking
  • Learn to talk later, or can have trouble in speaking
  • Poor memory-find it hard to remember things
  • Does not understand how to pay attention for things
  • Have trouble in understanding social rules
  • Have trouble solving problems,
  • Have trouble thinking logically, etc

Associated Problems with Intellectual Disability / Mental Retardation

  • Seizure disorder
  • Drooling
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Microcephaly
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • etc

All of the above disorders require separate treatments. Most of the disorders are managed successfully with proper treatments

Causes of Intellectual Disability / Mental Retardation
Most common causes are:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Problems during pregnancy
  • Problems at birth
  • Health problems

Diagnosis Making
ID / MR is diagnosed by looking at two main things. These are:

  • The ability of a person's brain to learn, think, solve problems, and make sense of the world (called IQ or intellectual functioning)
  • Whether the person has the skills he or she needs to live independently (called adaptive behavior or adaptive functioning).

People scoring below 70 IQ are thought to have ID / MR. To measure adaptive behavior, professionals look at what a child can do in comparison to other children of his or her age. Certain skills are important to adaptive behavior. These are:

  • Daily living skills, such as getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and feeding one's self
  • Communication skills, such as understanding what is said and being able to answer
  • Social skills with peers, family members, adults, and others

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and its impacts

  • Mild mental retardation, with IQ scores of 50-55 to approximately 70

Eighty-five percent of intellectually disabled people are at this level, and they can often live on their own with minimum support from others. 

  • Moderate mental retardation with IQ scores of 35-40 to 50-55

Those with a moderate intellectual disability make up roughly 10% of cases on this spectrum. These individuals may need more support in day-to-day life and may live in a group home. 

  • Severe mental retardation, with IQ scores of 20-25 to 35-40

They typically need daily supervision to keep them healthy and safe and may need help with basic self-care tasks.

  • Profound mental retardation, with IQ l scores below 20 or 25

They may need constant care and supervision to meet their basic needs.

Management and Treatment
Intellectual Disability / Mental retardation is not a disease. It is also not a type of mental illness, like depression. There is no cure for ID / MR. However, most children with ID / MR can learn to do many things. It just takes them more time and effort than other children
There is no standard medication available for "Intellectual disability / Mental retardation".
Children with ID are managed with multimodal treatments. Multimodal / Combination therapy is considered best for majority of children with ID / MR

Treatments include

Behavioral interventions have been applied to building a wide variety of adaptive skills. Behavior modification is a useful tool for parents in helping their children to change an undesired behavior or to start a desired behavior. It is helpful for common behavioral problems, teaching discipline and creating amicable environment

  • Medications

Antipsychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers including anti-epileptic medications and lithium, anti-anxiety medications are used widely among people with intellectual disabilities (ID) for managing the co morbid conditions.  

  • Complementary and Alternative Medicines

ICD has been providing need based parents oriented alternative medicines to selected individual with MR / ID.

Prognosis and Employment opportunities for person with ID-MR

  • Person with ID / MR can live and enjoy according to their potentials / mental level and opportunity provided.
  • Person with Mild problems (Between 55-70 IQ ) can lead normal and productive life and can work in open market
  • Person with Moderate problems (Between 40-55 IQ ) can lead near normal and can work in the community market where supervision is available
  • Person with severe problems (Between 25-40 IQ) can lead partially dependent life and can be trained to work in shelter workshops
  • Person with profound problems (Less than 25 IQ) are mostly dependent for most of their needs and sometimes they are kept in under restricted environment

If you want to know which treatment or therapies is best suited for your child / ward, please contact us and get free technical support

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