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Mental retardation affects a very small part of the wholepopulation. This deficit begins manifesting itself through irregular motorskills, language skills or self-help skills.

The degree of retardation dependson when it will become sufficiently noticeable to the people around. In somemilder cases it is possible not to detect it all the way until school age oreven later. The most important issues in any case of mental retardation is in fact how muchassistance and care will a mentally retarded person require on a daily basis.

While a precise reason for the occurrence of mentalretardation is rarely found that there are some explanations as to what might causeit.

First of all, it can be caused by a number of infections,many of which are genetic, although some can in fact happen after birth. Differenttypes of chromosomal abnormalities are also the cause of mental retardation.They deprive the fetus of some vital genetic information and they can often lead tomiscarriages as well. Another cause of retardation is called deprivationsyndrome and it is environmental, since it results from loss or neglect of themother. Retardation can also arise from malnutrition or toxins such as drugsthat were passed on from the mother. However as it was stated before, themajority of causes for this condition cannot be explained.

Symptoms of mental retardation includes the inability toreach an intellectual level expected for a certain age and to fulfill therequirements in school, childish behavior and lack of general interest for thesurroundings. Which of the symptoms will be manifested depends on the degree ofretardation.

While a retarded person can never be completely normal, itis important to develops their potential to its fullest so that they can beintegrated into society as normally as possible. Therefore, as soon as thesymptoms are noticed and the condition is confirmed by special tests, aspecialist can begin treatment.

Even though there may not be ways to completely cure mentalretardation, there are ways to help a person function better in society.

Prenatal tests and consults forgenetic defects will diminish the risk of inherited retardation. As formalnutrition, there are government programs for people who are too poor to be ableto afford the proper food for their infants. It is also very important to raisepublic awareness concerning the consumption of alcohol and other harmfulsubstances during pregnancy.

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