Dr Samyak Tiwari

IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS: What Is Mental Retardation?

What is mental retardation

Here to read about What Is Mental Retardation??

Do you think your kid has symptoms of mental retardation??

Well, then this article is just for you…
Here we will not only discuss about what is mental retardation, but also it’s symptoms, causes, and details about it’s categories…

What is mental retardation?

Mental retardation is a condition in which an individual’s intellectual developments are delayed leading to problems performing normal tasks.

The term “Intellectual Disability” is also used to describe this. A person suffering from mental retardation is usually identified before they reach adulthood.

This is because the symptoms are apparent from childhood. Thus, a parent must absolutely know what is mental retardation?

The diagnosis for mental retardation is made through standard intelligence tests, laboratory and imaging techniques, observation of the individual, interviews etc by a doctor.  

Causes of Mental Retardation

Now that you know what is mental retardation you need to know the causes.

Unlike the case with most of the diseases, finding the exact cause of mental retardation in a child is difficult.

The causes are many but the effect is invariably one: mental dysfunctioning. According to vikaspedia, the causes for Intellectual Disabilities can be divided into the following four types: 

1. Abnormal Maternal Environment Influences

These include Nutritional deficiencies, infections contracted by the mother, illegal drugs intake, exposure to chemicals like thalidomide, radiations, etc to the mother.

2. Prenatal causes

This includes genetic disorders that can result in mental retardation. 

3. Pregnancy related causes

A complicated delivery can lead to central nervous system impairment and can cause mental retardation.

Other causes in this category include low body weight, lack of crying, birth asphyxia and birth trauma

4. Others

The cause need not be related to birth: serious head injury can cause mental retardation at any age.  


On our journey to knowing what is Mental Retardation, next we move on to the symptoms or characteristics of mental retardation.

The characteristic of mental retardation is developmental delays in the individual. The child is usually slow in reaching the childhood milestones.

They are also slow in learning normal routines like how to dress, take a bath, hygiene, etc. Their learning disability causes them to lag behind in academics and makes them socially inept too.  

What is mental retardation? What are its signs?

There are physical manifestations of intellectual disabilities too, especially if there is CNS Damage: delayed motor and cognitive responses, partial paralysis, spinal misalignment, clumsy gait (way of walking), discernible facial features and behavioural issues (aggressive behaviour, hostility and OCD).

Because of the physical symptoms of abnormal gait and semi paralysis, the individuals often find it difficult to take part in sports or other physical activities.

Thus it becomes important that their physical health is taken care of by their guardians as they themselves cannot perform the physical activities required to keep themselves fit.

What is mental retardation?
Mental Retardation is often accompanied by visible facial features. These features are due to underlying abnormalities.

Types of Mental Retardation

Since we discussing what is mental retardation it is important to look at the classification of mental retardation.

According to the degree of intellectual impairment, mental retardation has been classified into three categories:

1. Mild Mental Retardation

The individuals with IQ less between 50 and 75 are classified as persons with mild mental retardation. 

The signs for mild intellectual disability include:

  • slower learning abilities as compared to others, 
  • finding difficulty in reading and writing,  social ineptness, 
  • taking longer time to learn to talk. 

These individuals, if provided with the right learning methods and therapy, can easily live a normal life without any supervision.

2. Moderate Mental Retardation

These are the individuals with an IQ scores between 35 to 55. 

  • These children are found to have difficulty in understanding and speaking a language. 
  • Crude communication skills. 
  • Unlike the children suffering from mild mental retardation, they cannot live alone.

3. Severe Mental Retardation

These children have severely impaired mental development and thus have to be in continued supervision.

  • These children have IQ scores between 20 and 40. 
  • There are observable motor defects due to underlying abnormalities in the central nervous system. 
  • They may be able to master some basic self care skills.

4. Profound Mental Retardation

These children have the poorest probability of living a normal life, with IQ scores between 20 and 25.  There is, most of the time, an underlying abnormality causing the mental retardation in these children.  They need intensive care and supervision. 

Most of the affected individuals have mental retardation as more of a symptom than a primary disease.

The underlying abnormality that these individuals suffer with reduces their life span considerably.

Also, because these individuals aren’t well versed with the basic necessities required to keep them safe and healthy, they must be kept in supervision so that they don’t hurt themselves, intentionally or unintentionally.  

Treatment of Mental Retardation

Last but not the least on our journey to knowing what is mental retardation, we come to the treatments of mental retardation.

There is no cure for mental retardation. Then what is the point in trying to learn what is mental retardation?

Because its effects can be minimised. Mental retardation can’t be cured, this is true, but that doesn’t mean that the affected individuals cannot live a normal life.

What these children require are learning strategies and counseling tailored according to their different brain.

The IQ tests proves that they cannot be shaped according to the existing learning methods but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn at all.

What is mental retardation

With proper counseling and therapy they can live a life close to normal.

The individuals suffering from mental retardation need the love and care of their guardians.

They should be treated with care and respect as they too are humans. Our social attitudes towards them should be friendly and affirmative as it can also aid in their development.

It is important to look for signs of mental retardation in a child early on and approach a skilled psychiatrist.

So that was all on What is Mental Retardation? We hope you found this article helpful and informative.

Need Help??

Now since you have figured out about what is mental retardation, it’s symptoms and causes, therefore, it’ll become easy for you to figure out if your kid or someone around you is suffering from mental retardation.

It’s time for you to seek help from the best psychiatrist Dr. Samyak Tiwari will help you know more about What is mental retardation in detail.

To get in touch call at: 9889493508 or talk online.

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