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Variations And Characteristics Of Mental Retardation

1327 words - 6 pages

Mental Retardation is an old fashioned term for people who have problems learning and developing, but is defined as a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and behaviors in expressing conceptual, social and practical skills in approximately one to three percent of the United States (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010). Mental retardation is categorized by the DSM-IV-TR as being a genetic disorder usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood or adolescence, and is not considered to be a cognitive disorder. The following criteria is required for diagnosis of mental retardation under the DSM-IV-TR, Intellectual functioning under the IQ score of 70, concurrent deficiencies in adaptive behaviors and onset before the age of eighteen (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010). Mental retardation is thought to be produced biologically, psychologically, socially and environmentaly, being caused by injury, disease or abnormality (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010). There are many disorders under the umbrella of mental retardation, with the most common being Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and Alcohol Fetal Syndrome (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010).
Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited form of mental retardation, and the most common known cause of autism, occuring as a result of mutation of the FMR-1 gene at the bottom of the X chromosome, which is essential for normal brain development (Bambang, 2011). Researchers believe that this defect is a result of premature ovarian failure that creates a toxic effect (Bambang, 2011). Genetic screening for the FMR-1 premutation is available when a woman is pregnant (Bambang, 2011). Fragile X Syndrome is prevalent in approximately 1 in 4000 male children, and 1 in 8000 females (Bambang, 2011), with an extremely high mortality rate during childhood (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010). The spectrum of Fragile X Syndrome can be from mild retardation to the more severe diagnosis of Autism (Sue, Sue, & Stanley, 2010). Generally, the physical characteristics are often subtle in childhood; however during puberty the physical features become more prominent. These features include a long narrow face with a large head, protruding forehead, large ears, flat feet and flexible joints (NIH, 2012). Learning is difficult for people with Fragile X Syndrome because the syndrome affects the ability to think, learn and reason, with problems ranging from mild learning issues to severe developmental disability (NIH, 2012). Other characteristics include behavioral, social and emotional problems including anxiety in new situations, problems making eye contact, attention disorders and aggresive behavior (NIH, 2012). Speech, and language problems also exist with Fragile X Syndrome, including trouble speaking clearly, stuttering, speech may come later than others their age, few may never speak. Lastly, many children with Fragile X Syndrome have sensory issues and can be bothered by bright lights, loud noises,...

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