Mental Retardation and learning in children

An overview

Although onset occurs before the age of 18 years, the incidence is difficult to calculate because mental retardation sometimes goes unrecognized until middle childhood. Its prevalence rate has been estimated at approximately 1% of the population, with the highest incidence in school-age children peaking at ages 10 to 14. It occurs about 1.5 times more frequently in boys than girls. The trend toward deinstitutionalization (not willing to admit the child to hospital) has made family and community support a central issue.


Mental retardation is an irreversible condition where the individuals exhibit sub average (below average) IQ.IQ or intelligence quotient is a term used for the ratio between the mental age and the chronological age. If this ration is far below normal child then we use the term MR (mental retardation). To determine one`s intelligence we use IQ test, which is based on various skills, perception and development evaluations of children. Some of these are ability of the child to think, capacity to perform activities of daily living, ability to judge and reason, common sense, interaction behavior with peers and society etc. The Following table gives an idea of how MR children can be classified based on their level of IQ.

Mild Mental Retardation IQ 50-55 to approximately 70
Moderate Retardation IQ 35-40 to 50-55
Severe Mental Retardation IQ 20-25 to 35-40
Profound Mental Retardation IQ below 20 or 25

Have you ever watched children feeling lonely, sad, completely bizarre in behavior in a class room, emotionally labile and imbalanced, then these are a caution for class teacher to note. Most often parents and the society go unnoticed of why a particular child is so strange and what’s the real cause. Fortunately every child differs in their threshold of suffering as some of them can be moderately trained for their life skills and bread winning but most of the cases society helpless. From the past 2 decades, there were enormous efforts being made by the government on India to manage the crisis. There have been a lot of changes in services for children with learning and developmental difficulties such as mental retardation. Generally, Home tuition Bangalore is measured as the condition of academic management to their students at their homes.

Causes for MR

  1. In approximately 2/3 of the cases, the probable cause can be identified. It is not unusual for a comorbid mental disorder to be present (Sadock & Sadock, 2003). The primary causative factors associated with the development of mental retardation have been identified mainly as hereditary that involves chromosomal and genetic anomalies. Some of the developmental issues such as when the mother had exposed to toxins and drugs during pregnancy is a serious threat because fetus suffers with these maternal risk behaviors. Above all society , environment, family support, spouse relationship are all have a direct influence on the child`s behavior which in turn cause MR at some point of time.
  2. Pathological diseases like Down syndrome (also known as trisomy 21) is a general medical condition, it is a form of mental retardation caused by the abnormality. Another illness is Phenylketonuria- a genetic, metabolic disorder characterized leading to excessive and abnormal levels of accumulation of chemicals in the body which will interfere with the brain development and, if untreated, it may result in mental retardation. MR was also a case in many instances where fetuses were exposed to radiation, syphilis, smoking by mother, oxygen deprivation, poor eating habit of mother , alcohol etc.

Learning and MR

There is always a question on how can we manage such children who don’t understand the commands, neither they respond to the command. Children with MR shows a significant limitations in at least two of the following skill areascommunication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, and use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety. Associated features of mental retardation include irritability, aggressiveness, temper tantrums, stereotyped repetitive movements, nail biting, and stuttering. All these put them into enormous pressure to compete with the pace that other children move and in addition, They feel guilty of not able to hold a pen, not able to draw a simple straight line and not able understand the basic commands will put them in a risk for further deterioration of adaptability to the generation pace and the society.

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