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Last Update Date: 11 January 2018

What is the mental retardation?

Mental retardation: It is the condition of mental processes which cannot be completed for a variety of reasons or are completed partially. Mental processes include several abilities like reasoning, attention, perception, memory, and problem solving. Moreover, it is called "mental retardation" in the case of this abilities are worse than normal.

Children with mental retardation may get behind and have some abnormalities on these issues;

  • To protect oneself and own health,
  • On communication and having social relationships,
  • On daily life,
  • On self-care,
  • In terms of learning,
  • In education and academic processes
what is mental retardation

It should not be forgotten that the mental retardation is not the inability of a person on something, it is the situation of having low intelligence quotient. IQ test can be used to clarify the situation for children who show symptoms of mental retardation. The mental retardation test is only a test that can be done by qualified experts on this area.

What is Dull Intelligence?

There is also the concept of dull intelligence. Normal mental retardation contains all average, low average, and borderline intelligence level. Dull intelligence refers that having barely below average mental abilities. It means that the learning and training potential of dull children is higher than the children with mental retardation.

So, what are the causes of mental retardation?


The causes of mental retardation are often grouped according to the time of occurrence.

1- Parental Causes for Mental Retardation:

As it can be understood by the name, it is the factors that cause mental retardation in the mother's womb. Inheritance is the major cause for mental retardation. Moreover, chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome or metabolic disorders can also cause mental retardation.

Drinking alcohol or drugs addiction during pregnancy, malnutrition and etc. may not affect some children, but for some babies it can cause mental retardation. Also, infections during the pregnancy can also cause damage to the child's brain functions, and cause mental retardation.

It is not possible to test mental retardation during pregnancy. Chromosomal anomalies are identified by prenatal screening tests, which are also called triple screening test. These are the tests that are applied to determine the diseases (e.g. Down syndrome) associated with mental retardation.

2- Causes for Mental Retardation During Birth:

Premature labor (premature birth) and postmature birth can cause mental retardation.

Infants who do not get enough oxygen as a result of breech birth or being caught in the neck by the umbilical cord can also cause damage to their brains and cause mental retardation.

3- Post-Birth Causes for Mental Retardation:

Several infant-child diseases can damage the brain, and as a result of this damage, mental retardation can occur. For example, children with high fever could not get the correct and immediate medical response because of limited facilities in old times. Therefore, we can see people who are mentally disabled because they suffered a seizure during childhood. Although this situation is much less common today, the secret seizure can also cause brain damage in children.

Several psychological problems, head trauma, hepatitis, infectious pediatric diseases and psycho-social factors can also cause mental retardation.

Remember: All the negative deductions mentioned here about the prenatal, birth and post birth causes of mental retardation are only probabilities. It should not be meant that intelligence problems will occur in every child who experiences such negativities.


Yet, one of the strongest signs of retardation that they are left behind by their peers. Of course, this is nothing like comparing their skills but comparing the basic functions. Example: One of the most important sign is language development. Children who have difficulties learning syllables, words, and talking may be showing signs of mental retardation.

Likewise, difficulties in acquiring basic skills are among the indicators of mental retardation. Of course, if there is not any other problem.

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Likewise, difficulties in acquiring basic skills are among the indicators of mental retardation. Of course, if there is not any other problem.

There are various tests to determine the intelligence level. The mental levels of children can be determined with the intelligence tests.

There are reliable tests to determine the mental levels of children such as Stanford-Binet Test and Wechsler IQ Test.


There is no direct treatment for mental retardation, but there are several ways to reduce the negative consequences of mental retardation. The most important of these is special education.

The child with mental retardation should be supported with early stimulation treatment and personalized special education.

Personalized education should be preferred in order to meet the basic needs of life, considering the level of mental retardation.

If it is needed psychiatric treatment for mental illness and attention deficit treatment can be applied for mental retardation.

Of course, all those things do not treat the mental retardation but treats other problems seen with mental retardation.

Remember: People with normal intelligence or great intelligence, or gifted people can not use their whole intelligence potential as well. Therefore, people with mental retardation can also aim to use their fully potential in the best way by doing brain exercises just like normal or high intelligence people.

Children with mental retardation can be supported with brain exercises, intelligence games, special education, and similar activities.

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