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Mental Retardation & Autism

a) Mental Retardation: Mental retardation is defined as involving significantly sub-average general intelligence (determined using standardized intelligence tests), significant limitation in adaptive functioning in 2 or more skill areas. There are 4 levels of retardation - mild, moderate, severe and profound. Eighty-five percent of people diagnosed with mental retardation fall into the mild category and lead relatively independent lives. People with moderate retardation can learn to care for themselves but do not become independent, and people with profound and severe retardation need considerable supervision. Physical or genetic anomalies are associated with retardation - such as chromosomal problems, metabolic problems, and Down syndrome. Environmental factors can contribute to mental retardation - such as factors that can affect the baby while it is in its mothers womb, disorders and diseases that affect the baby while in the womb (rubella), drugs (cocaine and alcohol) and malnutrition of the mother while pregnant with the child. After birth, mental retardation can be caused by toxins in the environment, physical trauma, and growing up in a deprived environment.

b) Autism: Autism is recognizable in early childhood, and involves profound disturbances with four basic symptoms: social isolation, mental retardation, language problems, and stereotyped ritualistic behaviours such as rocking back and forth, or lining up ones toys over and over again. Many children with autism do not like changes in their environment. Autism has been seen to be associated with genetic and biochemical components. Complications in pregnancy and birth have also been seen to associate with autism.

Related Links

Abnormal Psychology
Emotional & Behavioural Disorders
     Anxiety Disorders
     Dissociative & Somatoform Disorders
     Psychological Stress & Physical Disorders
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     Sexual Dysfunction's, Paraphilias & Gender Identity Disorders
Psychotic and Neuropsychological Disorders
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     Acquired Brain Disorders
     Disorders of Childhood & Adolescence
     Antisocial & Violent Behaviour