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You are here : home > Child's Healthcare > Face up to the Challenge > The Mentally Challenged Child

The Mentally Challenged Child

Mandira is a 5-year-old girl who is not toilet-trained as yet. Her father finds her an embarrassment and does not invite his friends over to the house. Her mother is quite sick of training her and the maids of cleaning up. They finally decided to take her to a doctor where they found out that her growth was retarded due to a mental deficiency. This meant that she had a low I.Q. No wonder her teachers complained about her so much. Until now everyone thought that she was just a little slow on the uptake. This is what normally happens in borderline cases. They sometimes go undetected for awhile.

How do you rate mental deficiency?

 As explained earlier, this depends on the I.Q. of the child. There are many psychological tests available to measure the intelligence or mental functioning of the child. So when the mental age is divided by the chronological age and multiplied by a hundred, what you get is the Intelligence Quotient or the I.Q.

An I.Q. above 140 is the sign of a genius. An average to very intelligent child would score between 100 - 120 and a dull child would score between 80 - 90. Mandira's case was a borderline deficiency and she scored between 70 -84. So we can safely say that those children having an I.Q. under 80 are mentally deficient and therefore challenged children.

A classification of the mentally subnormal

Borderline cases
70 - 84
Mild cases(educable)
55 - 69
Moderate cases(trainable)
40 - 54
Severely deficient
25 - 39
Highly severe
below 25

Causes and effects of mental deficiency

One of the strongest factors is hereditary. Besides this there are a number of environmental factors that contribute to mental arrest. Most common of which is brain damage, malnutrition or infection during pregnancy or even an excessive intake of drugs and RH incompatibility. Whatever the cause, if the handicap is very severe, the entire development of the child gets affected - physical, social and emotional along with mental. Some of these children can not perform the simplest of tasks that we all seem to take for granted. Simple things like walking straight, eating or toilet training. A great amount of patience and tolerance is required to supervise and handle such a child.

How should one deal with such a problem?

The earlier the problem is detected the better it is for you and your child. Sometimes parents try to hide the fact until it becomes apparent to all, and by then it is too late to get timely help. There are plenty of child guidance centres and special schools around to provide the perfect environment to aid in the development of the child. But if these facilities are not utilized, a mentally deficient child will definitely develop severe social and emotional problems as well.

Parents should try to accept the fact that their child is mentally challenged and help him or her grow to the full potential that he or she is capable of. Some people try for a miraculous cure and expend a lot of time and energy in search of a divine elixir. Even though such an attitude is understandable, it does not show any results. That time will be better spent in admitting your child to a special school or sheltered institution where he can get professional help.

Such schools teach the child how to survive and progress in our world. Special skills are taught to them to help them make good use of their time and lives. Each child is given a task that suits his or her mental growth. Sensory training and perceptual knowledge is stressed on and children are taught utilitarian tasks that will help the child to be more independent. This is normally taught through drill and repetition over a period of years.

Besides schools, parents and family members at home also must provide a secure environment for the development of the abilities and interests of the mentally retarded. Parents should not feel awkward and should help their child to socialise with family members, relatives and friends. Subnormal children need more love and affection than the normal child does or they tend to get frustrated. They might not be able to express their needs. So it is up to you to anticipate what they want and give them all the love and strength that they require to help them develop to their full potential. 

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Recent comments (53 comments)
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Name: Gopalakrishna
Country: India

Hi can any one just explain me classification criteria of Intelligence which has been followed here????????????????
Name: soneeta
Country: India

yes write there is no difference between these type of children, they only need guidence like normal children. but people do not understand this symtom.
Name: soneeta
Country: India

yes write there is no difference between these type of children, they only need guidence like normal children. but people do not understand this symtom.
Name: Malik
Country: India

i am doing msw, i do my field work in mr. this article will help me a lot. these children want our help and consideration than our sympathy. thank you.
Name: Claudya
Country: Canada

im doing a speech on children with disabilities and i think that children with disablities are no different for kids that dont have mentaly isues, they just need help doing what other kids do like learning playing sports. i hate going out in public and seeing other children/ teens and sometimes adults looking at these children like there some kind of alien my mom works with these children and thought me, that they are no different then we like i said they just need more help doing it :)
Name: aakriti
Country: India

its the very right article one's parents shud read
Name: kariz
Country: Kenya

it is high time people should know that mental retardation is not a curse and have right to sociolize with other people let us support them mentally and physically
Name: Melissa
Country: U.S.A.

i have a 7 year old step-son and he was diagnosed with mildy austic,his i.q. was 52 and he also has adhd and add...i'm just wondering if all that means mentally challanged? he's very slow with everything and he was 5 years old till he was good at potty training,i was told his mind is like a 3 or 4 year old..will he be like that the rest of his life? he does good at some things but he so far behind,his mother died on easter this year...i'm glad to have him around and living with us,my daughter that is almost 18 months old loves him to death she always playing with him and my son that is almost 4 months old my step-son always makes him smile
Name: Tizzies grandmother
Country: Canada

my granddaughter is diagnosed mildly mentally challenged. she is very social and startef k1 this year, she is not toilet trained but knows when she has to go, she does not talk and is based at age 2 although she just turned 6.she has a genetic condition that is very rare and so far untreatable.she is the light of our life, we look after her on a daily basis as dad works and mum has given up custody and care. she is put in our home for a specific reason which has yet been shown to us but our life is enrichen because of her.she gives hugs and kisses and waits for us to come home and i think sometimes i wouldn't be so quick to come through the door if her smile and greeting wasn't there for me every morning.
Name: DavidsMother
Country: U.S.A.

david is a 10 year old special needs boy. he is mentally retarded with a mental capacity of a 3 year old. he is not toilet trained, but that does not matter. he is still our precious gem. we are not ashamed of him in any manner and we take him out in public as much as we can.
Name: cynthia john
Country: India

this article is really informative.and it is a guide line for all.
Name: Nicole
Country: U.S.A.

i think that some people who have mentally challenged kids are very lucky i hope that i can work with them some day
Name: TARA
Country: U.S.A.

i have a five year old son who is pretty average in all areas, and my fiance's son seems to be different. i've tried talking to him, he refuses to see anything. he just says that he is a little slower to talk. but he's 5 as well, and barely potty trained and can hardly talk. i've done reaserch and i think he's borederline autistic, but i'm not the parent, so there's nothing i can do. i can see the little guy struggling and it's frusterating.
Name: rgk1
Country: India

many people are there in the world withot children.we should thank god to serve our children.
Name: rgk1
Country: India

donot hesitae to take her to all functions & gettogether.forget about the public or relatives negetive talks.
Name: rgk1
Country: India

this year played with the crackers safely.she plays shuttle beatifully.i request all parents please show more affectionate,be calm always,
Name: rgk1
Country: India

she does her own day to day activities,like brushing twice a day,toileting,bathing also does indipendently.
Name: rgk1
Country: India

give any mobile she will operate ,recording sounds & voices,takes snaps,songs etc.,
Name: rgk1
Country: India

believe it or nor she learnt herself & minimum daily rides the bycicle for 2 hours that to in main roads.the iq is only 60.
Name: rgk1
Country: India

they can do wonders.i have a 10 year old daughter & studying in bangalore baal suma special school in basaveshwarnag ar.
Name: rgk
Country: India

awesome article.being a parents of mentally challenged children.we should love more than a normal child.definetely they have some special character & talent behind them ,
Name: hhh
Country: India

Name: i want to know how i handel mentelly cha
Country: India

Name: jennifer
Country: U.S.A.

i have a daughter who has down syndrome and i want to open a day care or work with disable people/children any ideals on how to get started
Name: sujeet kumar
Country: India

only we are the people in the whole universe who can understand the problem of any mantally challenged baby.because of they have not any word to express their selves so i think they have need a lot of love and respect by our side.and we should think for them really to give them a better life atall.

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