Signs & Symptoms

The Signs and symptoms of mental retardation are all behavioral. Children with mental retardation may learn to sit up, to crawl or to walk later and learn more slowly and require more repetition. Children with mental retardation may take longer time to learn language, develop social skills and take care of their day-to-day needs like dressing or eating.

The following ranges, Based on Standard Scores of intelligence tests, reflect the categories of mental retardation. The diagnosis should not be made rigidly based on IQ scores alone, but must also take into consideration a person’s adaptive functioning.

Class IQ
Profound MR Below 20
Severe MR 20-34
Moderate MR 35-49
Mild MR 50-69
Borderline Intellectual 70-84


Among children, the cause is unknown for one-third to one-half cases. Down syndrome, velocariofacial syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome are the most common inborn causes. However, doctors have found many other causes. The most common are:

Genetic conditions. Sometimes disability is caused by abnormal genes inherited from parents, errors when genes combine.

Problems during pregnancy. A woman who drinks alcohol or gets infected like rubella during pregnancy may also have a baby with mental disability.

Problems at birth. If a baby has problems during labor and birth such as not getting enough oxygen or due to brain damage.

Exposure to certain types of disease or toxins like whooping cough, measles or meningitis.

Iodine deficiency – affecting approximately 2 billion people worldwide which also causes goiter and enlargement of the thyroid gland.

Malnutrition is a common cause.

My Humble appeal

“The first thing you need to do is to train yourself not to use the phrase “Mentally retarded”. Use the term “People with intellectual disability”. Put the “People” First. That will be the best thing you can start doing because using such a language will enhance my dignity as a person and will make me feel respected as a human being.