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Mental Retardation - Capabilities At Various Stages Of Development

Intellectually challenged children are grouped in 4 categories according to their intelligent quotient (I.Q.) for comprehensive planning for the training of their skills. The categories are:

Profound mental retardation I.Q. < 20

Severe mental retardation I.Q. between 20 to 35

Moderate mental retardation I.Q. between 35 to 55

Mild mental retardation I.Q. between 55 to 70



Profound Mental Retardation
0 to 5 years (preschool years)
Child needs nursing care like an infant under one year of age

6 to 20 years
There is minimum motor development. The child still needs care for physical needs and maintenance of hygiene.

Adult 21 years and more
The person still needs nursing care although with intense training with patience and love the person can achieve minimal skill for self-care.


Severe Mental Retardation
0 to 5 years (preschool years)
There is minimum development in motor skills like head holding/sitting /walking/speech. The child is unable to profit from training and still needs care like a toddler of 18 months.

6 to 20 years
The child profits from systematic habit training for self-care and learns to communicate personal needs and is capable of understanding and executing simple commands. The child in general has capabilities of a 6 years old normal child.

Adult 21 years and more
The person with training is capable of developing skills for self-maintenance under
supervision. The person is capable of learning skills needed for self-protection and care of physical needs and hygiene.


Moderate Mental Retardation
0 to 5 years(preschool years)
The child develops motor skills like a normal child of three. Speech development although slow but the child learns to communicate and profits from training for skills needed for self-help.

6 to 20 years
The child develops capabilities like a normal child of 8 years. The child can be educated up to grade two in academic subjects and master manual vocational skills. The child can travel alone in familiar places and also learns social skills.

Adult 21 years and above
Persons are capable of self-maintenance in unskilled and semiskilled work under supervision but still require supervision for management of finances and relationships.


Mild Mental Retardation
0 to 5 years (preschool years)
The child has normal motor development but slight delay in speech development. Such children are often not distinguishable from children with normal intelligence.

6 to 20 years
The child can be trained to acquire academic skills up to grade 6th. by late teens and can also be trained to lead a disciplined life by adhering to simple concepts like respect for others and ownership of property.

Adult 21 years and above
The persona is capable of achieving social and vocational skills adequate for self-support under supervision for decision-making and handling finances.


Well trained and handled with love and patience the children with intellectual handicap are capable of acquiring skills, which enhance their self-esteem and prevent behavioural problems.

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