An Introduction to Neuro-Developmental Disorders of children
- F. A. Mervyn
- New Delhi: The National Trust.
Mental retardation is not something we have, like blue eyes or a bad heart, nor is it something you are like short or thin. It is not a medical disorder nor a mental disorder. Mental retardation is seen more as a social problem than as an inadequacy in the individual. Mental retardation is a particular state of functioning that begins in childhood and is characterized by limitation in both intelligence and adaptive skills. It is a state of impairment or incomplete mental development. A mentally retarded person is considered to be an individual who has an undeveloped mind and thus has inadequate social adjustment, reduced learning and a slow rate of maturation. It is not a disease entity but just a symptom in response to various causes. Mental retardation may exist alone or in association with any other neuro-developmental disorder; mentally retarded individuals have similar feelings as others and are subject to the same emotional and behavioural problems as those of normal learning ability. They may have complex medical needs or be as healthy as the population at large. Because they may have limited common sense and problem solving capacity as well as communication difficulties, they may pose particular problems for the physician attempting to diagnose their mental state, and in this population both health promotion and health maintenance can be challenging.