The essential feature of Mental Retardation is significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that is accompanied by significant limitations in adaptive functioning in at least two of the following skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety.
The onset of mental retardation is nearly always diagnosed before age 18, and is therefore a part of the formal symptom criteria.
Mental Retardation has many different etiologies and may be seen as a final common pathway of various pathological processes that affect the functioning of the central nervous system.
General intellectual functioning is defined by the intelligence quotient (IQ or IQ-equivalent) obtained by assessment with one or more of the standardized, individually administered intelligence tests (e.g., Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children--Revised, Stanford-Binet, Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children). Significantly subaverage intellectual functioning is defined as an IQ of about 70 or below (approximately 2 standard deviations below the mean).
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Oct 2010
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