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Mental Retardation

DR. B. P. MISHRA

PROFESSOR IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHIATRY

DAYANAND MEDICAL COLLEGE & HOSPITAL LUDHIANA

The label “Mental Retardation” is applied to people whose measured I.Q. is less than 70, and who fail to display the level of skill at daily living, communication, and other tasks that are normally expected of those their age. People within this very broad category differ greatly in their mental abilities, and their ability to function independently in daily life. There are categories of mental retardation based on their I.Q. level, which shows the extent to which the individual can be trained, and specific areas where he or she is more deficient. These categories are as: Mild ( from IQ of 50 to 70), Moderate ( from IQ of 35 to 49), Severe ( from IQ of 20 to 34) and profound ( less than 20). Retarded children do differ from other people in three important ways:

  1. They perform certain mental operations more slowly.
  2. They simply know fewer facts about the world.
  3. They are not good at using particular mental strategies that may be important in learning and problem solving.

The other categories are comparatively more slow learners. Designing effective programs for retarded children is complicated by the fact that how people learn depends not just cognitive skills but also on social and emotional factors. "REHABILITATION IS THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING THE SOCIAL ECONOMIC, EDUCATIONAL, VOCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF EVERY DISABLED INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULEST EXTENT POSSIBLE". If we go with the definition of rehabilitation, five factors are involved in this process i. e. social, economic, educational, vocational, and psychological. This suggest us for a multi-disciplinary team to be in action for the purpose of rehabilitation of mentally retards. Here social, and economic aspect is to be look after by NGOs, and educational aspect has to be handled by trained special educator, and vocational aspect has to be organized by occupational therapists. The Government of India has laid down the objectives rehabilitation for all handicapped by 2025. In India the population of handicaps are 5%, which means 50 million people which is more than the total population of many countries. The advancement in technology has raised expectations among people with disabilities to participate in every human endeavor. The movement for rehabilitation has gained world- wide recognition. The Constitution of India enshrines the principles of equality of opportunities for all, which would be the bedrock of planning of all rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. These objectives can not be achieved till we are not able to mobilize general population and spread awareness to the remote population. Public awareness has to be created for the rights, responsibilities, needs, potential and contributions of people with disabilities. One has to make available information on program and services to persons with disabilities, their families, professionals in the field and the general public in accessible form. Prevention, early detection, and timely intervention is the first appropriate step in this regard. Organizations involved in rehabilitation programs should actively involve the volunteers and society as a whole to give maximum possible exposure to the child with disability. Three fold institutional based program is needed to meet the requirement. First , a group of trained people to give training in the institution using appropriate techniques and continuous practice, secondly, involvement of social volunteers to give maximum exposure to the child, and knowledge, and facts of the condition to the concern families and thirdly, giving full awareness of the on going Government policies and emphasizing role of family members and relatives in the learning process of mentally retards. The volunteer social worker should be trained to demonstrate the training process at home, where, due to number of reasons, the family is not in condition to approach the institution, and at the time, when training is completed, the child should get help in natural situation where he is going to work through these trained social workers.

NATIONAL POLICY ON DISABILITY REHABILITATION

The objectives of national policy is as:

  1. To empower and enable people with disabilities to realize their full potential.
  2. To implement the persons with disabilities act in letter and spirit in collaboration with all concerned agencies, in government as well as non-government sectors.
  3. To take the necessary administrative, executive and legislative measures to achieve the objectives of equal opportunities and full participation for people with disabilities.
  4. To create a non-handicapping environment enabling people with disabilities to realise their full potential and to participate effectively in every facet of national life.
  5. To sensitise the community about the needs, potential and contributions of people with disabilities and remove negative mindsets.
  6. To evolve suitable legislative and administrative programmes and plans of action in accordance with this policy framework, in partnership with voluntary organisations of disabled persons and/or their parents, with the objective of providing rehabilitation for all people with disabilities.

Let us join hands to fulfill above noble cause, and realise ourselves as a true citizen of the country with active participation at different levels of rehabilitation programs with the motive to make this objective a national movement.