Mental retardation is mainly characterized as an underdeveloped mental faculties of an individual resulting to impairment of skills in communication and self care.
A person with an IQ of 70 or less is considered impaired and unable to express or demonstrate the standard normally expected of his or her age.
Incomplete or halted development of the mind and resulting of impairment of skills are the major characteristics of mental retardation, which is manifested in overall levels of intelligence.
With an IQ of 70 or less, a person is considered impaired and unable to meet the average standards expected of his or her age in such areas as communications, self care, home living, social, academic and work skills.
Symptoms include mental, speech and developmental delay, while causes such as multitude of diseases and drug side effects are virtually limitless. The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of mental retardation, which is classified into four degrees of affliction based of the functional level of individual mild, moderate, severe or profound.
Some of the other major ones are learning disorders, chromosome disorders, down syndrome, metabolic disorders, accidental mutation in genetics and prenatal illnesses and issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention maternal infections during pregnancy and insufficient medical health care.
For example when the mother has high blood pressure (hypertension) or blood poisoning (toxemia), the flow of oxygen to the fetus maybe reduced, causing brain damage and mental retardation due to lack of medical health care on the part of the mother. Birth defects that cause physical deformities of the head, brain and central nervous system frequently cause mental retardation too.
Childhood illnesses and accidents such as traumatic brain injuries and environmental factors, like ignored or neglected infant who are not provided the physical and mental stimulation required for normal development, may suffer irreversible learning impairments. Also, children who live in poverty and suffer from malnutrition and inadequate medical health care are high risk victims.
In developing countries, the percentage of young persons aged 18 and below and suffer from severe mental retardation reaches 4.6 percent while in develop countries, it is estimated to be between 0.5 and 2.5 percent.