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Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Treatment

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Mental retardation: A Neurodevelopment disorder

Author(s): Komalpreet Kaur


What is Neurodevelopment disorder?

Neurodevelopmental disorders are illnesses that impair the way the brain works. They range from minor disabilities that allow individuals afflicted to lead relatively ordinary lives to serious problems that need supportive treatment. Neurodevelopmental diseases include Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, speech and language difficulties, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and autism are all examples of neurological disorders.

Similarly Mental retardation (MR) is a term that describes significant impairments in current functioning. It begins before the age of 18 and is marked by severely below-average cognitive performance, as well as corresponding deficits in two or more of the essential adaptation key skills:

·         Sharing of knowledge

·         Self-care in the home

·         Social abilities

·         Usage in the community

·         Self-determination

·         Safety and health

·         Professors who are actually useful

·         Amusement

·         The job

It can be congenital and difficult to detect in normal-appearing youngsters with learning disabilities. MR, on the other hand, is easily identified when a kid has dysmorphic traits linked with a known hereditary MR condition. Mental retardation begins in childhood. Mental retardation affects approximately 2 and 3 percent of people. In all circumstances, initiating special education as early as possible in childhood can assist persons with mental impairment maximise their skills.

Basically, MR has typically been divided into five categories:

·         mild MR – IQ ranges from (50-55) to 70

·         moderate MR – IQ from (35-40) to (50-55)

·         severe MR – IQ from (20-25) to (35-40)

·         profound MR – IQ below (20-25)

·         MR, undetermined severity - this is identified whenever there is a high suspect of MR but the subject is unable to be evaluated using standardised intelligence tests.



Causes of mental retardation

Prenatal causes (causes before birth)

1.       Chromosomal Disorders: Down’s syndrome, fragile X syndrome are the examples of this disorder.

2.       Single Gene Disorders: Inborn errors of metabolism which affects the growth of children.

3.       Neuro Cutaneous Syndromes: Tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis etc. are the main factors that affect the neurological system of our body.

4.       Dysmorphic Syndromes: Laurence Moon Biedl syndrome

5.       Brain Malformations: Microcephaly, hydrocephalus, myelo meningocele

Abnormal maternal environmental influences

  1. Deficiencies: deficiency of Iodine and folic acid influence severe malnutrition problems.
  2. Substance use:  consumption of alcohol, nicotine, cocaine also causes mental illness in children.
  3. Exposure to harmful chemicals: Pollutants, heavy metals, harmful drugs are also responsible.
  4. Maternal infections: Rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus infection, syphilis, HIV
  5. Exposure: exposure to harmful radiation
  6. Complications of Pregnancy:  hypertension, placental dysfunction during pregnancy that influences the child growth.
  7. Maternal Disease: Diabetes, chronic and kidney disease

During delivery

Difficult and /or complicated delivery, severe prematurity, very low birth weight, birth trauma etc. can leads to the several complications that can retard the child growth.

  1. Neonatal period:  Jaundice, hypoglycaemia.
  2. Infancy and childhood: Brain infections like tuberculosis, bacterial meningitis, Head trauma, chronic lead exposure.


·         Failure to reach cognitive developmental milestones,

·         Difficulty to fulfil cognitive stages like eating, moving, walking or talking on time.

·         Persistence of childish behaviour.

·         Possibly manifested by a lack of understanding of social standards.

·         The repercussions of behaviour.

·         Inability to solve difficulties due to a lack of curiosity.

·         Reduced capacity to learn.



Mental retardation medication is not intended to "cure" the illness. Instead, therapeutic aims involve lowering safety concerns (for example, assisting a person in maintaining safety at home or school) and learning suitable and useful life skills. Therapies must be customised requirements of individuals and their families, with the primary objective of maximising the individual's ability.