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

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

While a precise reason for the occurrence of mental retardation is rarely found that there are some explanations as to what might cause it.

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. Different types of chromosomal abnormalities are also the cause of mental retardation. They deprive the fetus of some vital genetic information and they can often lead to miscarriages as well. Another cause of retardation is called deprivation syndrome and it is environmental, since it results from loss or neglect of the mother. Retardation can also arise from malnutrition or toxins such as drugs that were passed on from the mother. However as it was stated before, the majority of causes for this condition cannot be explained.

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

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

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

Prenatal tests and consults for genetic defects will diminish the risk of inherited retardation. As for malnutrition, there are government programs for people who are too poor to be able to afford the proper food for their infants. It is also very important to raise public awareness concerning the consumption of alcohol and other harmful substances during pregnancy.

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