Definition: What is mental retardation?
Mental retardation is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills.
This disability originates before age 18.
An accurate diagnosis of mental retardation requires three components:
American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR). (2010). Mental retardation. In CEC - News & issues. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from Council for exceptional children (CEC) website: http://cec.sped.org/AM/ Template.cfm?Section=Mental_Retardation&Template=/TaggedPage/
In general, people with mental retardation are less efficient at learning than are other people. This impairment in learning efficiency is roughly consistent with overall IQ level. Specific cognitive deficits often exist in such areas as memory, attention, or language.
In addition, individuals with severe mental retardation are more likely to have brain damage, which in turn is associated with such physical disabilities as cerebral palsy and seizure disorders (epilepsy) and their associated physical characteristics.
source: (AMMR, 2010)
A condition resulting from an abnormality with the twenty first pair of chromosomes; the most common abnormality is a triplet rather than a pair (the condition sometimes referred to as trisomy 21); characterized by intellectual disabilitites and such physical signs as slanted-appearing eyes, hypotonia, a single palmar crease, shortness, and a tendency towards obesity.
(Hallahan, Kauffman & Pullen, 2009, p.568)
Click here or on the picture to connect to local, national and international resources for more information on and assistance with mental retardation.
It is often thought that it takes a certain kind of person or an individual with special education to work with people who are retarded. The fact is that anyone who is patient and kind and who has a sincere interest in working with people can be successful. As a volunteer, you can contribute greatly to the happiness and accomplishments of individuals who have mental retardation.
University of Illinois extension. (2010). Mental retardation. In Resources for
working with youth with special needs (help for leaders). Retrieved June
20, 2010, from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website: