If I ask you what you understand by "mental retardation" and how you could identify a mentally retarded child, you are likely to tell me that mental retardation is the same as madness and that you could identify them because they go about named hagged or naked.
No! THIS IS WRONG. In fact, it is far from being correct.
Definition of mental retardation
Mental retardation is a condition of low level intelligence and functioning accompanied by behaviours that are inappropriate for one's age.
Mental retardation is a condition which you can observe if there is:
- A very marked ability to learn or an inability to learn things which are far below that is expected of a child when compared to other children of the same environment and age.
- A reduced ability to develop and use such social and everyday living skills that are needed for survival and independent living. Such everyday living skills include:
. Learning to speak
. Ability to go to the toilet when pressed
. Ability to feed oneself when food is presented
. Ability to wash
. Ability to dress up
- Inability to learn acceptable behaviour
For a child to be described as mentally retarded, these problems that have been described must be noticed while the child is still growing (between birth and 18 years of age- the developmental period).
Characteristics of mental retardation
The characteristics of mental retardation are many so therefore they have been divided into three headings of which I'll write about one today.
- Children who are mentally retarded learn very little on their own from objects, events and activities in the environment. The environment could be home or any other place they may be.
- They fail repeatedly and are made to remain in one class for a long time without reasonable improvement.
- They can neither express themselves well nor fully understand others when spoken to
- They do not take guides when you offer to help them in solving problems.
- They cannot make use of oast experience in solving new problems
- They easily get frustrated and fed- up with new tasks.
- They are very easily distracted.