Mental Retardation is a condition wherein a person has certain limitation or difficulty in mental functioning and skills such as language skills, writing and social skill. These difficulties will cause the person to develop more slowly than the normal child. Mentally retarded children may take longer to speak, walk and take care of their personal needs like going to the bathroom and eating.
Main Causes of Mental Retardation:
- Congenital infections
- Exposure of the fetus to harmful substances
- Complication during pregnancy or labor
- Malnutrition in the fetus or infant
- Illness or injury during childhood
- Genetic factors causing chromosomal, metabolic, or neurological disorders.
Causes of Retardation:
- Down syndrome – is a genetic disorder wherein a person has an extra chromosome 21. Physical characteristic of a person with Down syndrome is flat face and short neck
- Fragile X syndrome – is another genetic disorder where a person have an X chromosome in which one of the arms of the patient is constricted or broken off, it usually affect men. Physical characteristic of a person with fragile X syndrome is a variable face with large ears, long face and high arched palate.
- Fetal alcohol syndrome – a condition caused by the effects of alcohol on the fetus.
- PKU (phenylketonuria) – is an inborn disorder of metabolism that can damage a baby’s brain and cause mental retardation. In PKU the child is unable metabolize certain proteins completely.
- Tay-Sachs disease – a child is unable to metabolize lipids (lipids are substances that the body uses to store energy and to make cells), which then accumulate in the brain causing mental retardation.
- Galactosemia – the infant cannot metabolize galactose (galactose is a simple sugar that along with glucose makes up lactose, a complex sugar found primarily in mill), which accumulates in the brain, causing mental retardation. Retardation can usually be prevented if galactosemia is detected early and the baby is given galactose-free diet.
- Rh factor incompatibility between mother and fetus
- Birth injuries in the brain because of difficulty in labor, or a temporary lack of oxygen to the newborn.
- Hydrocephalus a condition marked by an abnormal collection of cerebrospinal fluid within the cavities of the brain can also result in mental retardation. In most cases, however, the fluid can be removed by surgery and kept from accumulating by inserting a tube to drain excess fluid from the brain cavities to another part of the body.
- Macrocephaly a congenital disorder wherein there is an abnormal largeness of the head and brain, this condition can cause retardation.
- Microcephaly a congenital disorder wherein there is an abnormal smallness of the head and brain, this condition can cause retardation.
- Head injuries and such diseases as meningitis and encephalitis during childhood can also cause mental retardation.
How To Prevent Mental Retardation:
- Pregnant woman should avoid contacting infectious diseases as rubella or german measles, meningitis and syphilis because this may damage the nervous system of the fetus.
- Pregnant women and those women who are planning to get pregnant should not smoke or take drugs, since the chemical substances can penetrate the placenta and can cause damage in the development of the brain in fetus.
- During pregnancy the mother must eat the best possible diet since her child’s like and health is at stake.
- Consult your doctor periodically because any problem that may occur will be more easily solved.
- Avoid stress, exercise regularly and meditate if possible.