General Information Of Intellectual Disability

Mental retardation (MR) or intellectual disability  is a developmental problem manifested during a child’s years of development (i.e. 0-18 years old). It is a condition whereby a child’s intelligence and adaptability are significantly below the average level of his peers.

Causes of Intellectual Disability

Genetic factors

Hereditary factors or chromosomal abnormalities.

Pregnancy and birth factors

Misuse of drugs or excessive alcohol intake during pregnancy, complication of birth, pre maturity.

Infancy and childhood

Infections and brain injuries, e.g. meningitis, brain trauma, etc. unknown factors. The cause in most cases is unknown.

How does Intellectual Disability affect the child?

Developmental aspects affected by MR:

  • Attention.
  • Memory.
  • Language ability.
  • Gross and fine motor coordination.
  • Learning and problem-solving abilities.
  • Social and self-care skills.

Ability to control emotion and behavior as the child’s abilities in the above aspects are significantly lower than children of comparable age, his/her adaptability in daily life would be affected.

  • Ability to communicate.
  • Self-care.
  • Housework.
  • Social skills.
  • Working and learning.
  • Community life.

According to the prevailing international classification system, MR can be classified into the following grades according to its severity:

Mild /Moderate

Persons with “mild” to “moderate” MR face relatively fewer obstacles during their development. They can acquire general daily living and self-care skills with proper training and assistance.


Persons with “severe” to “profound” MR require intensive training and support in various aspects to cope with basic needs in daily life.

How can parents help their child with Mental Retardation?

  • Range early assessment for the child so as to understand and accept his/her developmental problems.
  • Involve in the child’s training so as to master the training methods and communicate with the instructors.
  • Join parent self-help groups and make good use of community resources.
  • Share feelings with others to relieve negative emotion and stress.