Mental retardation is a developmental disability that is manifested by lower-than-normal intelligence and significant limitation in adaptive functioning in two or more skill areas. This disability is normally present at birth or develops early in life. According to experts, by definition, about two out of every one hundred people meet the criteria for mental retardation (Reynolds & Dombeck, 2006). This much of the condition is politically defined and subjective. There are four levels of mental retardation, according to specialists, specifically- mild, moderate, severe and profound.
It is said that eighty-five percent of the people diagnosed with mental retardation fall into the mild category and can relatively live independently. On the other hand, people who have moderate retardation can learn to care for themselves however they do not become independent while people with severe and profound retardation need significant supervision. Factors that contribute to mental retardation can be environmental, genetic or biological such as factors that can affect the baby while it is in its womb (Sebastian, 2008).
Prenatal problems like disorders and diseases, usage of alcohol and drugs as well as malnutrition of the mother may result into mental retardation of the unborn child. After birth, the disorder may be caused by the toxins in the surroundings, child abusive acts like violent shaking of the head by an adult, trauma and growing up in a deprived environment. Mental retardation can also be genetically passed on. Some forms of mental retardation can be treated. Treatment programs are being done for mentally retarded individuals in order for them to develop their intellectual and functional skills to the maximum possible level (King, 2008).
Treatment may also include family therapy. The purpose of this is to help family members to understand the nature of the disorder. References King, B. (2008). Health and Fitness: Mental Retardation. Retrieved May 5, 2009 from Health and Fitness database. Reynolds, T. , Dombeck, M. (2006). Prevalence of Mental Retardation. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from mentalhelp. net database. Sebastian, S. (2008). Mental Retardation. Retrieved May 4, 2009 from eMedicine database.