at what age do you know if mental retardation is present?

Sherry - posted on 01/05/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 6 y/o son has autism, he is non-verbal, still in diapers, and has problems with fine motor skills. He also has problems with following verbal instructions. There are times when I feel he very intelligent but other times I can't tell. If i tell him to give daddy kisses, he comes to me, but i can tell him to throw something away and he goes to the garbage can. If i ask him to bring me something, he doesn't connect to the object unless he is holding it. i am wondering if maybe there is some mental retardation there. Anyone have a child with Autism and MR and what age did you know?

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Linda - posted on 01/07/2010

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My stepson was diagnosed with Autism before age 2 when he stopped talking. Last year at age 13 he was rediagnosed with mild retardation with high anxiety ocd and autistic tendencies. After the testing the physclogist said that he was diagnosed with mild retardation because of the testing that showed he had a low IQ of 52. He relates very well with adults but finds it hard to relate to his peers. The school he attends brought in at their expense a neuro physcologist. His teacher (she is wonderful) thought there was more to his syndrome than Autism. He does very well in school and even made the honor roll this first marking period. He plays the drums and is in the school band. He loves music and football and can give you all the stats but a lot of times he can't remember to bring his music sheets or drum sticks to class. He has some very strong points but others he is weak. Please do not be discouraged my stepson has come a long way and will start highschool next September. He has goals of going to college and we encourage these goals. I wish you all the best

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Leanna - posted on 01/24/2013

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Mental handicaps are detected usually when the child is in school and is behind in academic areas such as reading and math and if the child has a persistence of infantile behaviors.

Josie - posted on 01/20/2013

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my son is 6 years old and i think he has mental retardation but im not for sure

Carol - posted on 01/07/2010

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My oldest daughter (she's now 16) was 2 1/2 when she was diagnosed PDD. They also discovered she had a speech delay, Sensory Intergration Disorder, and said at that point she might have MR but it would take some time to concretely diagnosis it or not because of the speech delay. She was in 1ST grade when they said she also definitely had MR.

Elisha - posted on 01/07/2010

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My son is eight years old and has autism.. Learning difficulties and Intellectual diasbility is highly assosciated withh children espescially boys who have autism.. There are many different ways that you can have your child assessed if he is at school they can help if not seek help from your paediatrition or autism association.. Never use the word retartdation it is a cruel and demeaning word.. Focus on the positives... Work for simple goals and the small things your child can and will do will make u smile!

Jan - posted on 01/06/2010

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my son is autistic but also ID (intellectural disability). his IQ is around 40 to 50. He is 15 and still often at times incontinent. he can be very resorcefull making things (understand not to normal standards) and very creative. he speaks but is limited to a few words at any time. He dribbles which was for me a clincher that he is not just ASD. He cannot read or write and has limited learning abilities. Maybe have an IQ test and ask your pead or who ever specialist you see to check for ID. Jan

Renee - posted on 01/05/2010

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Thanks Sheila I knew you would be the expert on this - I'm just the amateur here. Always trying to be helpful. And don't apologize for being teachery, it's helpful!

Sheila - posted on 01/05/2010

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Hi Sherry,

Down Syndrome is present from birth. It is a chromosonal disorder and facial features are obvious (usually) from early infancy, if not immediately.

I am going to try not to sound too teachery right now, but it will probably come out that way (apologize in advance!!) It's just after years in spec ed and teaching, the terminology is kind of stuck in my head and I find it hard to express it any other way but "formally."

So, what you mean by mental retardation is, within my school board, referred to as developmental delays. This is measured through IQ testing.

So, to continue!
80 to 90 is low average.
70 to 79 is considered mild developmental delay...can, with program adjustments, usually function in a main stream classroom
Below 69 you are looking at developmental delays that significantly impact a child's ability to progress in a regular class.

There are IQ tests available for nonverbal children; however, when there are other issues present (like autism) which severely impacts communication skills, there are profound difficulties in administering testing in a "typical" testing scenario. When my son was 4, we made the decision NOT to do IQ testing because at the team assessment we all felt that his IQ would not reflect his true intelligence...it would reflect his inability to express his thoughts...or understand the test questions posed to him. Your child would experience the same type of problems, I believe, as my son would have faced if I had gone through with IQ testing.

Because autism is a neurological disorder that impacts both receptive and expressive communication skills formal IQ testing is, at best, questionable with its results.

To work on his communication skills, both receptive and expressive, start with a really good speech path/therapist who has worked with non-verbal kids on the spectrum. Ask him/her what is a reasonable six month goal. Work toward the goal. Break it all down.
What is not happening, what you want to see happen, and what to do next.

Unless your doctor says otherwise, I would focus on goal creation and attainment.

Good luck

Sheila (I know I sounded cold, and I APOLOGIZE...I just can be pretty methodical with my explanations sometimes.)

Renee - posted on 01/05/2010

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I would go to a Downs Syndrome website and check the symptoms. The classic symptoms of Downs are the different facial features, limited IQ and some genetic heart defects. I would ask his pediatrician if there are any obvious signs present in your child. Many children on the spectrum do have expressive speech delay (limited verbal skills) receptive speech delay (can't understand what's being said or asked of them). From what I have read I thought Downs was present from birth, it doesn't just appear in an individual like autism does. Autism comes in different forms too - my son has late onset autism, meaning he developed it after age 2, he was developing as a typical child would before age 2. I would try to give him a one step instruction like "pick up that blue ball", see what happens. If he can do that, go to a two step instruction, "pick up that blue ball and bring it to mommy", etc. I would make all instructions one step until he has mastered that. It doesn't sound like mental retardation especially if the doctor hasn't mentioned before now at age 6. It sounds like receptive speech delay.

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