Mental Retardation

Earlier termed as Mental Retardation, is a condition where in there is a global delay in overall development; when a child’s mental development is not matching with his physical development. For example – if a child is 8 years by age will show behaviour younger to the age like a 3 year old would behave. There is decreased ability to understand and comprehend, slow responses and associated problems in hearing or vision. In addition, delay in acquiring language, social and self care skills may also be present. Some may have reported a history of seizures or fits that require continuous or long-term medication. Best form of management for these children is systematic and regular monitoring, training and support for becoming self – reliant with appropriate rehabilitation. 

Children with Intellectual Disability usually look like any other children but some may have distinct features like –

  •  Small or Large head
  •  Small stature
  •  Protruding Tongue
  •  Blunt features
  •  Drooling
  •  Inability to walk with good co- ordination.
  1. Behavioural Characteristics:

Brain damage results in skill deficit, which in turn causes challenges in acquiring age appropriate behaviours, sometimes even manifesting maladaptive behaviours –

  •  Slow in response
  •  Unable in making decisions
  •  Difficulty in completing a task uninterrupted even for a short duration
  •  Susceptible to aggressive reaction when demands are not met immediately
  •  Difficulty in remembering
  •  Difficulty in attending to their self – care needs
  •  Difficulty in complying with group game rules or social norms
  •  Difficulty in negotiating skills


Genetic, brain damage in utero or during perinatal period, multifactorial or even unknown.


Worldwide – 2.36 to 3.52 percent – 6.7 to 7 million

India 20 cases per 1000 people for ID

30 cases per 1000 people for developmental delays

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