Intelligence is a tricky concept to define. Most people, however, use the term to refer to the ability to reason, conceptualize, solve problems, and think. Intelligence also reflects the ability to get along in the real world, to take care of oneself, and to behave in ways society considers appriate.
To measure a child's intelligence, professionals most often use standarized tests known as IQ tests. The results of these tests are computed into a score called an Intelligence Quotient or IQ. People who score in a certain range-- generally between 70 and 130--are said to have normal intelligence. People who score below 70 are said to have mental retardation. In the US, Roughly 3 percent(25% of children with Cerebral palsy)have some mental retardation. Estimates vary because children sometimes cannot talk or control their bodies well enough to answer questions on the IQ test. To ensure that a child's IQ is accuratly measured, the psychologist must carefully select the most appropriate tests for a child with motor or speech impairments
You should be aware that an IQ score is only one measure of intelligence. The psycologist will also measure your child's adapted level, or ability to manage common daily activities such as feeding, dressing, toileting, and social interaction. Because of motor problems, some children may be delayed in these areas. Again, the accuracy of these tests depends upon the expertise and experience of the test administrator. Your child needs to be assessed by professionals from many different fields so that many observers can work togather to give an accurate picture of your child's potential.
If your child has mental retardation, how the condition affects her will depend somewhat on the degree of her retardation. Just as there is a wide range of intelligence among children with "normal" intelligence, there is also a wide range among children with mental retardation. Children who are least affected by mental retardation are said to have MILD RETARDATION (55-69 IQ); Those with greater cognative delays are clssified as having MODERATE RETARDATION (40-54 IQ); SEVERE RETARDATION (25-39 IQ); or PROFOUND RETARDATION (below 25 IQ).
In general, children with mental retardation learn new skills more slowly than other children and find it harder to learn advanced skills such as reading, math, and complex problem solving. Children with mental retardation also may not be as motivated to learn new skills as are other children. This does not mean that children with mental retardation can't learn, however. Given a good educational program and support from family and friends, all children can make important, steady progress in intellectual abilities.
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