Text Size :
A A A

Mental Retardation

Mental retardation refers to a significantly subaverage level of intellectual functioning, starting before age 18, and corresponding to an IQ below 70 as measured by a standardized IQ test (in infants this is based on clinical judgment). This reduced intellectual functioning is expected to lead to significant difficulties or impairments in at least two of the following areas:

  • communication
  • self-care
  • home living
  • social and interpersonal skills
  • use of community resources
  • self-direction
  • functional academic skills
  • work
  • leisure
  • health
  • safety

Mild mental retardation refers to individuals whose IQ score falls anywhere between 50-55 to 70. About 85% of all people with mental retardation will fall into this category. They usually do not show significant differences in their cognitive and motor development from their peers until late childhood or teenage years. They can be expected to attain a sixth-grade level of education and, in their adult years, to develop social and vocational skills that allow them to maintain a minimum level of self-support. Still, they may need supervision and assistance when facing social and economic stresses. They are usually able to live independently or semi-autonomously in supervised settings in the community.

Moderate mental retardation refers to individuals whose IQ score falls anywhere from 35-40 to 50-55. This group represents about 10% of all people with mental retardation. Most of these individuals acquire communication skills during early childhood, reach a grade-two level of education, benefit from vocational training, and learn to attend to their personal care with a moderate amount of supervision. They may have difficulties learning and recognizing social conventions and graces, which may make it difficult for them to have peer relationships in adolescence and beyond. In adulthood, most of these individuals can perform unskilled or semiskilled work in supervised settings. They usually need to live in supervised settings in the community.

Severe mental retardation refers to individuals whose IQ scores are between 20-25 to 35-40. They represent about 3-4% of all people with mental retardation. By middle to late childhood they can acquire a limited amount of language and communication skills, such as a basic vocabulary and familiarity with the alphabet, counting, and identifying certain written words. They can also acquire some self-care skills. In adulthood they can be expected to perform simple tasks in supervised settings, but will be dependent on others for help with many of the activities of daily living.

Profound mental retardation refers to individuals whose IQ score is below 20 or 25. They represent about 1-2% of all people with mental retardation. They are unlikely to acquire much in the way of communication or self-care skills, and tend to require close supervision in sheltered settings throughout their lives.

 

prev | next

PDD-NOS

Diagnosis