Diagnosing mental retardation

Most cases of mental retardation are diagnosed during the early months and years of childhood; doctors will perform tests and assessments which will confirm whether or not the child has mental retardation. It is important that the condition is diagnosed early so that an effective treatment plan can be drawn up and put into action as quickly as possible. Some conditions or defects can be detected during pregnancy by antenatal screening tests; this enables parents to learn about the condition of their child and to decide whether or not it is advisable and safe to proceed with the pregnancy.

Many different tests can be used to measure intelligence; the most common test is the IQ (intelligence quotient) test but other tests may be used on children. Examples of tests used to determine children’s intelligence include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Wechsler Intelligence Scales and the Kaufmann Assessment Battery for Children.

If mental retardation is caused by an accident, such as a sports injury or motor vehicle accident, it may take a while before the extent of the damage is known; this is particularly relevant if the patient is in a come and is being supported by a ventilator. Once the person regains consciousness and is in a stable condition, doctors can perform tests to check the functioning of their brain.

Mental Retardation

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