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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Prevailing Attitudes, Practices, Misconception in the Field of Mental Retardation (Part-1)

Samarth Vihar School for Intellectually Disabled
Residential Student At Dr. AnnieBesant School enjoying in Garden

Prevailing Attitudes and Practices in the Field of Mental Retardation

Yes it is true that, many of the present attitude toward the mental retardation is due to earlier  misconceptions and negative attitude in the society. 

The Problem of Definition

Over the years, there have been many definitions of mental retardation which attempted to differentiate between the intellectually sub-average and those persons having "normal" intelligence, but most of them have been very critical and negative in nature.
Mental deficiency is a state of social incompetence obtaining at maturity or likely to obtain at maturity, resulting from developed mental arrest of constitutional origin; the condition is essentially incurable through treatment and unremediable through training except as a treatment in training instills habits which superficially or temporarily compensate for the limitations of the person so affected while under favorable circumstances and for more or less limited periods of time. (Doll, 1941).
Mental defectiveness represents a condition of mental non development, arrest, deficiency, or deterioration which is very grave and permanent, which dates from early life, and which always effects the intelligence, judgment, or understanding and the capacity for social and economic adjustment (Wallin, 1949).
A mentally defective person is a person who is incapable of managing himself and his affairs, or being taught to do so, and who requires supervision, control, and care for his own welfare and the welfare of the community (Benda, 1954).
Mental retardation refers to a condition of intellectual inadequacy which renders an individual incapable of performing at the level required for acceptable adjustment within his cultural environment (Masland, 1963). 

In addition to these general definitions, a number of terms have been used to define varying degrees of mental retardation. Such unfortunate misnomers as "idiot", "imbecile", "moron", "lowgrade", "high-grade", "custodial", "trainable", and "educable" were once, and in some cases still are, used to describe the retarded.

These terms not only set the mentally retarded apart from other members of society, but convey a picture of subhuman status, prolonged dependence, and a seriously restricted ability to develop or learn. Such images have all been employed as justifications for isolation from the community, custodial care and over-protection.

A Widely Used Definition  

A generally accepted definition of mental retardation accepted by many . This definition (Heber, 1961) states that:
"Mental retardation refers to sub-average intellectual functioning which originates during the development period and is associated with impairment in adaptive behavior."
The terms used in this definition may be explained as follows:
SUBAVERAGE GENERAL INTELLECTUAL FUNCTIONING: Falling below 97% of the population on standardized tests of global intelligence (i.e., tests which attempt to measure vocabulary, comprehension, memory, reasoning, judgment and visual-motor functions).
DEVELOPMENTAL PERIOD: From conception to about 16 years of age.
ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR: The ability to adapt to and control one's environment, usually defined in terms of maturation, learning and social skills.  

It should be noted that the definition is based upon a dual concept of mental retardation. That is, mental retardation is defined in terms of reduced intellectual functioning which, in turn, is associated with deficits in maturation, learning and the development of social skills. Even though this definition is more general than earlier statements and does not emphasize the deficiencies and disabilities of the mentally retarded, it still does not adequately stress the learning, growth and developmental potentials that exist for mentally retarded persons.  

More will be discussed in our next post
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