Mental Retardation

Mental retardation (MR) or general learning disability is a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors. It has historically been defined as an intelligence quotient score under 70. Once focused almost entirely on cognition, the definition now includes both a component relating to mental functioning and one relating to individuals' functional skills in their environment. As a result, a person with a below-average intelligence quotient may not be considered mentally retarded. Syndromic mental retardation is intellectual deficits associated with other medical and behavioral signs and symptoms. Non-syndromic mental retardation refers to intellectual deficits that appear without other abnormalities.

The terms used for this condition are subject to a process called the euphemism treadmill. This means that whatever term is chosen for this condition, it eventually becomes perceived as an insult. The terms mental retardation and mentally retarded were invented in the middle of the 20th century to replace the previous set of terms, which were deemed to have become offensive. By the end of the 20th century, these terms themselves have come to be widely seen as disparaging and politically incorrect and in need of replacement. The term intellectual disability or intellectually challenged is now preferred by most advocates in most English-speaking countries. The AAIDD have defined intellectual disability to mean the same thing as mental retardation. Currently, the term mental retardation is used by the World Health Organization in the ICD-10 codes, which has a section titled "Mental Retardation" (codes F70–F79). In the future, the ICD-11 is expected to replace the term mental retardation with intellectual disability, and the DSM-5 is expected to replace it with intellectual developmental disorder. Because of its specificity and lack of confusion with other conditions, mental retardation is still sometimes used in professional medical settings around the world, such as formal scientific research and health insurance paperwork.

Read more about Mental Retardation:  Signs and Symptoms, Cause, Diagnosis, Management, Epidemiology, History of The Condition, History of The Terminology, Society and Culture, Distinction From Other Disabilities, See Also

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Famous quotes containing the word mental:

    Doubtless, we are as slow to conceive of Paradise as of Heaven, of a perfect natural as of a perfect spiritual world. We see how past ages have loitered and erred. “Is perhaps our generation free from irrationality and error? Have we perhaps reached now the summit of human wisdom, and need no more to look out for mental or physical improvement?” Undoubtedly, we are never so visionary as to be prepared for what the next hour may bring forth.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)