Mental Retardation: the Background and the Issues

Some of the issues relating to mental retardation are the terminology, laws, diagnosis, and symptoms of a child with mental retardation.

Terminology of Mental Retardation

We used to label children TMH (trainable Mentally handicap) and EMH (educable mentally handicap) for the primary reason of not saying “retardation” as a label. However, in the last few years, the labels have changed to MIMR, mildly mentally retarded, and MOMR, severely mentally retarded, with there also being common use of the label Intellectual Disabilities. All of these different ways to say the same thing can create some issues with others keeping pace with the terminology and some getting confused.

Laws of Mental Retardation

Issues relating to the law of “no child left behind.” This law states that no matter the severity of the disability the child should be main-steamed into the regular classroom so that they are exposed to the same opportunities as typically developing children. However, the drawback to this is that the curriculum, language used by teacher and students, does not necessarily match the child effected learning abilities. It can lead to disruptions to the rest of the class, as well as, seclusion of the child.

Diagnosis of Mental Retardation

Issues relating to identification of mental retardation are the comparison of standard scores and their IQ. IQ is rates by scores. For example, an IQ of 130 and above means Very Superior, an IQ of 120-129 means Superior, an 110-119 means High Average, an IQ of 90-109 means Average, an IQ of 80-89 means Low Average, an IQ of 70-79 means MIMR, and an IQ 69 and Lower means MOMR. Standard scores are principles that all standardized tests have to allow a psychologist to “label” a child. If their Standard Score were 72, they would fall in the MIMR range. The final decision is suppose to be a “team ” decision, but an issue might arise if the teachers involved, the psychologist, and parent do not agree.

Symptoms of Mental Retardation

The impact of characteristics might be physical appearance, different walking gaits, being made fun of, being picked on, getting into trouble because they cannot think things through and don’t understand the consequences, and being taken advantage of by regular students.


All of these issues demonstrate how difficult it is not to offend some, how to get the child proper intervention, and how steer through the evolving politics. By discussing with others the issues related to mental retardation, it helps to better understand how many issues there truly are in society.

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