Mental retardation means the function of the brain below the expected standard. This is also referred to as mental handicapped. A mentally retarded person is one who has a limited level of intelligence and deficits in adaptive behavior. According to (Ministry of Education, 1995, p.6) the condition usually arises between conception and 18 years of age Children with mental impairments are categorized according to how severe their impairment is.
They are also categorized as to whether they are educable, trainable or in terms of their intelligence standard.
The 1992 AAMR definition of mental retardation focuses on the issues of support needed by the environment
The environment comprises that entire surround the human life. This may include water, land and other living creatures. We have the natural environment, chemical and physical properties of the living space, climate and other organism present. The phenomenal environment includes changes and modifications of the natural environment made by man (Gould, 1998).
Mental retardation according to AAMR, is the below normal intellectual development as a result of congenital causes, brain injury or infection and characterized by any cognitive deficiencies, including impair learning, social and vocational ability. This is also referred to as mental deficiency. Mentally retarded children delay in development like walking and talking compared to other children. A sign of mental retardation can be noticed at birth or later in childhood, this depends on the cause of the infection. Children with such disabilities normally have problems in education, communication and social activities like playing with other children. Such Children who have developed neurological disorder or illness such as encephalitis or meningitis may soon show signs of cognitive impairment and adaptive difficulties
Discriminated and neglected children who are not given the mental and physical stimulation required for normal development may suffer impairment that will be difficult to recover. Children who don’t get enough food and lives in unfavoring condition, mistreatment and get no medical care are always at hire risk of mental problems. Also consumption of lead or mercury can also cause mental retardation. (Trent, 1994)
According to Grossman, mental retardation is an impairment of mental functioning of an individual, this impairment places the individual to lowest category of the general population. This is determined by the measure of the IQ test scores. Age is the most needed factor to determine the function of the brain. (Bogdan, 1999)
In both definitions, age is the major determinant factor of the degree of mental retardness and the development of period of the disability. In both definitions, traumatic head injuries, dementia caused by diseases or such conditions as environmental. Unlike Grossman’s definition, AAMR advocates that environment contributes to a certain portion to either positive mental development or contribute to retardation.
Mental retardation can be tamed to a certain level depending to the cause, and the degree of how deep it is. Providing comfort and consideration to children, who are suffering, can prevent more severe attack that may be even harder to recover in future. Its always advisable to provide medical care to children with such disabilities.
Bogdan, R. (1999). Social Policy Handicapism., 7(4), 14-19.
Gould, S. (1998). The mismeasure of man. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Ministry of Education, (1995) Mental retardation in children, p.6)
Trent, J. (1994). Inventing the feeble mind: A history of mental retardation in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press