What is it?

Mental retardation now preferred to called Intellectual disability. This is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by limitations in both intelligence and adaptive skills, affecting at least one of three adaptive domains (conceptual, social, and practical), with varying severity. The extent of adaptive impairment is key to defining intellectual disability and its severity.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may vary based on your child’s level of disability and may include:
-failure to meet intellectual milestones
-sitting, crawling, or walking later than other children
-problems learning to talk or trouble speaking clearly
-memory problems
-inability to understand the consequences of actions
-inability to think logically
-childish behavior inconsistent with the child’s age
-lack of curiosity
-learning difficulties
-IQ lower than 70
-inability to lead a fully independent life due to challenges communicating, taking care of themselves, or interacting with other people


In order to diagnose intellectual disability, your child’s doctor will perform a three-part evaluation that includes:
-interviews with you
-observations of your child
-standard tests

Your child will be given standard intelligence tests, such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test. This will help the doctor determine your child’s IQ. The doctor may also administer other tests such as the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. This test provides an assessment of your child’s daily living skills and social abilities, compared to other children in the same age group.
To form a diagnosis, your child’s doctor will consider the test results, interviews with you, and observations of your child.

Your child’s evaluation process might include visits to specialists, who may include a:
-speech pathologist
-social worker
-pediatric neurologist
-developmental pediatrician
-physical therapist

Laboratory and imaging tests may also be performed. These can help your child’s doctor detect metabolic and genetic disorders, as well as structural problems with your child’s brain.


The treatment of mental retardation is predominantly nonmedical. It involves education to achieve maximal learning potential, habilitation, vocational training, and normalization of social and recreational activities.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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