Get your health question answered instantly from our pool of 18000+ doctors from over 80 specialties
152 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM BlogQuestions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction
Article Home Children's Health Mental retardation in children

Mental retardation in children

By :
Publisher
2520 Views
It is a developmental disorder characterized by significantly below-average intelligence (an intelligence quotient [IQ] below 70) and an inability to function in and adapt to daily life without assistance

Mental retardation in children (Also called cognitive disability or intellectual disability)
It is a developmental disorder characterized by significantly below-average intelligence (an intelligence quotient [IQ] below 70) and an inability to function in and adapt to daily life without assistance
Mental retardation means that someone has lower than average intelligence.

What Causes Mental Retardation?

  • Mental retardation is not a disease itself. It occurs when something injures the brain or a problem prevents the brain from developing normally.
  • Certain medications taken during pregnancy can cause mental retardation.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Infections of the mother during pregnancy like rubella, chicken pox.
  • Genetic causes like Down’s syndrome.
  • Decreased oxygen supply to the brain during birth.
  • Infections in the new born like meningitis, measles.
  • Serious head injuries like trauma to the head, shaken baby syndrome.

Symptoms and signs of mental retardation

Children with mental retardation tend to have trouble learning. They develop many skills and reach many developmental milestones at a later age than other children. These children may have trouble learning in school, especially difficulty solving problems or thinking logically. For example, they often sit up, crawl, or walk at an older age, or develop social skills (e.g., understanding social rules and the consequences of their actions), self-care skills (e.g., dressing and eating without assistance) and speech and language skills later.


  • Children with mental retardation may have trouble learning in school (e.g., difficulty solving problems or thinking logically).
  • Children with mental retardation may have trouble learning in school (e.g., difficulty solving problems or thinking logically).
  • Low intelligence quotient which is below 70.

The severity of mental retardation is most frequently measured by the patient’s intelligence quotient (IQ). The average IQ is 100 and “normal” intelligence ranges from an IQ of 90 to 110. People with an IQ of about 70 to 89 are considered below average, but not mentally retarded. The severity of mental retardation is divided into five categories:

  • Mild retardation. IQ ranging from between 50 and 55 to about 70.
  • Moderate retardation. IQ ranging from between 35 and 40 to between 50 and 55.
  • Severe retardation. IQ ranging from between 20 and 25 to between 35 and 40.
  • Profound retardation. IQ below 20 or 25.
  • Unspecified. IQ cannot be tested, but is assumed to be low.

Diagnosis

Treatment of mental retardation

The children with mental retardation require therapy and special training to learn the skills. It includes speech therapy, physical therapy and special therapy to improve social skills and work skills.