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Such skills include the ability to produce and understand language (communication); home-living skills; use of community resources; health, safety, leisure, self-care, and social skills; self-direction; functional academic skills (reading, writing, and arithmetic); and work skills.
In general, mentally retarded children reach developmental milestones such as walking and talking much later than the general population.
They may master very basic self-care skills and some communication skills.
The DSM-IV classifies four different degrees of mental retardation: mild, moderate, severe, and profound.Some cases of mild mental retardation are not diagnosed before the child enters preschool.These children typically have difficulties with social, communication, and functional academic skills.Mental retardation begins in childhood or adolescence before the age of 18. A diagnosis of mental retardation is made if an individual has an intellectual functioning level well below average and significant limitations in two or more adaptive skill areas.Intellectual functioning level is defined by standardized tests that measure the ability to reason in terms of mental age (intelligence quotient or IQ).