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Mental retardation (also called mental handicap) is a disorder that is diagnosed before the age of 18. The individual with the disorder presents an intellectual (cognitive) functioning below average.
Mental retardation is formed by a set of psychological, biological or social disturbances, which determine failure at the level of skills for everyday life.
In general, considering that a person suffers from mental retardation to the moment his intellectual functioning is less than the quotient (IQ) of 70-75 and whether it has significant limitations in at least two areas of the adaptive skills.
Doctors are able to detect the concrete reason for delay in 25% of cases. It is noted that these disturbances affect between 1 and 3% of the world's population.
It is possible to establish several levels of disability for mental retardation, the slight delay to the severe delay see deep. However, specialists prefer to work on intervention and care to improve the quality of life of the person instead of focusing on the level of the delay.
The reduction of learning ability, lack of curiosity, inability to respond in class (school context) and the persistence of childhood behaviour are some of the symptoms of mental retardation.
Among the risk factors associated with the onset of mental retardation, we will retain the chromosomal, genetic or metabolic abnormalities, infections (i.e., congenital toxoplasmosis encephalitis or meningitis), malnutrition, trauma and intrauterine exposure to amphetamines, cocaine or other drugs.