Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)

               Intellectual disability (ID) was previously called as Mental Retardation (MR) but over time this term gave a stigmatized view for intellectually deficient people thus, this term is replaced recently with intellectual disability. When we look at the history of ID, there is great research work done on intellectual functions, how to estimate intellectual capacities and thus on intellectual disability. There are many movies which denotes that people with ID have much simpler thinking pattern and thus can progress in life as much as they can achieve best positions in Olympic games, in performance only related works like in painting, drawing, athletics, creativity etc. But to achieve this we as a family, society and parents should understand what intellectual disability is and what methods of teaching skill development for these children are.

             Intellectual disability (ID) is defined as significant, below average intelligence and impairment in adaptive functioning. Adaptive functioning refers to how effective individuals are in achieving age-appropriate common demands of life in areas such as communication, self-care, and interpersonal skills. IQ (intelligence quotient) is measured by an IQ test.

It is classified according to intelligence quotient (IQ) as:

Mild ID = 50 to 70,

Moderate ID = 35 to 50,

Severe ID = 20 to 35,

Profound ID = below 20.

Also on the higher side according to IQ high IQ children are classified as:

Below average IQ = 70 to 80

Borderline IQ = 80 to 90

Normal IQ = 90 to 110

Above average IQ = 110 to 120

Superior IQ = 120 to 130

Genius IQ = 130 to 140

               ID can occur due to many varied reasons. The most common cause is a genetic abnormality. It can be hereditary or due to high maternal or paternal age during conception. Very rarely cause of ID is external like environmental toxins (alcohol, tobacco), exposure to lead or hazardous radiations, or infections of the brain. Deficiency of folic acid and B 12 vitamins during pregnancy also can lead to ID. Hypothyroidism and deficiency of iodine in the diet of mother and children also can cause the intellectual deficit. Thus some of these things are in our hand and we can prevent the development of ID in our children.

               Intellectual disability is thought to affect about 1% of the population. Of those affected, 85% have a mild intellectual disability. This means they are just a little slower than average to learn new information or skills. With the right support, most will be able to live independently as adults.

               There are many services available for treatment and training of ID people. Most beneficial is early intervention therapy which includes child and parents for the training of skills. Early intervention may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, family counseling, parental guidance and training with special assistive devices, or nutrition services.

               Many government rules and acts are made for rehabilitation of people with ID. But due to stigma and unawareness about mental illness and ID people avoid to reach these services and not take treatment.

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