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Mental Retardation

According to the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR), an individual is considered to have mental retardation based on the following three criteria:

Intellectual functioning level (IQ) is below 70-75.
Significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas and the condition is present from childhood (defined as age 18 or less.).

The person's intellectual functioning is markedly below average (IQ of 70 or less on a standard, individually administered test).

In 2 or more of the following areas, the patient has more trouble functioning than would be expected for age and cultural group:

Home living
Social and interpersonal skills
Using community resources
Academic ability
Free time

Starts before age 18.

Associated Features:

Under developed motor skills
Under developed language skills
Under developed self-help skills
Developing at a far slower rate than the child's peers.

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

None Detailed


Mental retardation can be caused by any condition which impairs development of the brain before birth, during birth, or in the childhood years. Several hundred causes have been discovered, but in about one-third of the people affected, the cause remains unknown. The three major known causes of mental retardation are the genetic conditions of Down SyndromeFragile X, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the result of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.


The primary goal of treatment is to develop the person's potential to the fullest. Special education and training may begin as early as infancy. This includes social skills to help the person function as normally as possible.    It is important for a specialist to evaluate the person for coexisting affective disorders and treat those disorders. Behavioral approaches are important in understanding and working with mentally retarded individuals.


DSM Code


319 Mental Retardation Severity Unspecified

Disorder Sheets

Mental Health Foundation
7th Floor
83 Victoria Street
Tel: +442078031100

Email: Click Here
Web: Click Here

Recommended Book

Handbook of Mental Retardation and Development - Click Here to View


Mental Retardation

Misc Information


Mental Retardation