Mental retardation is a developmental disorder characterized by significantly below-average intelligence (an intelligence quota [IQ] below 70) and an inability to function in and adapt to daily life without assistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental retardation affects about 12 out of every 1,000 school children in the United States
, making it the most common developmental disorder.
Any brain injury or developmental problem in the brain may result in mental retardation. Such problems may occur before, during or after birth. Prenatal causes of mental retardation include genetic disorders (e.g., Down syndrome
), infections in the mother or fetus during pregnancy (e.g., rubella
) and exposure to various harmful substances (e.g., medications, alcohol
, recreational drugs
, radiation) during pregnancy. Serious infections in infancy (e.g., meningitis
) and serious head injuries (e.g., head trauma, shaken baby syndrome
) in infants and children can also cause mental retardation. However, in many cases, the cause of mental retardation is not known.
Children with mental retardation tend to have trouble learning. They develop many skills and reach many developmental milestones at a later age than other children. These children may have trouble learning in school, especially difficulty solving problems or thinking logically.
Diagnosis of mental retardation relies on an evaluation of how well the patient thinks and functions. It includes standardized intelligence tests and an evaluation of how well the person functions in daily life. In general, the more severe the retardation, the earlier it is noticed. Mild cases may not be detected until the child begins school.
All children with mental retardation require an ever-changing educational and training program that is individualized especially for their abilities and needs. Young children with mental retardation may need assistance developing certain basic skills (e.g., motor skills, speech and language skills). Children with mental retardation require a special setting for education, including individual attention and support. However, those with mild retardation may be able to be mainstreamed into society with other people their age with special assistance from a trainer or assistance, both in and out of the work force.
As a child with mental retardation enters adolescence, their education may focus more on developing independent living skills, such as work skills, using public transportation, social adaptation and managing money. Adolescents with mild retardation can usually look forward to living at least semi-independently once they reach adulthood. Those with more severe forms may require more direct care from a family member or other caretaker throughout their lives.
Many methods to prevent mental retardation begin before and during pregnancy. These include genetic counseling to evaluate a couple’s risk of having a child with mental retardation. It is also important to ensure that a woman is healthy
both before and during pregnancy. When an infant is born, newborn screening tests are used to detect any conditions that need to be treated (e.g., phenylketonuria
). After this point, mental retardation can often be avoided by avoiding brain injuries.
It is our concerns here at the Center to concern ourselves with the full range of behavior problems and challenges displayed by residents here in a work and community settings, as well as other behavioral issues that may affect their success in the work place.
Here at the Center when creating a Behavior Intervention Plan we offer the following:
Program Coordinators, and Program Specialists, or other professionals working with the residents who display challenging behaviors often feel isolated or alone. Many don't know where to go for help or, many times, the answer to their questions cannot be found readily. The individual is often times referred back to the BIP, this is a way to share a successful intervention, or see what has worked in the past. Several opportunities are available in the Behavior Intervention Plan