What are the differences between Autism and Mental Retardation?

Are Autism and Mental Retardation the same thing?
The answer is NO

Despite all the similarities, there are also many significant differences between them. The crucial difference between Autism and Mental Retardation is that Autism is a mental state which appears from early childhood characterized by a massive difficulty in communicating, interacting, and forming relationships with other people. Children with Autism do not generally have decreased cognitive functioning. In contrast, Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disability) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by intellectual and adaptive functioning affected. Mental Retardation is an assessment of the children's cognitive functioning. 

To better understand the main difference between Autism and Mental Retardation, you have to know the meaning of the two following terms:

➊ Intellectual ability - an individual's ability to learn, to think abstractly, and apply the lessons. 
➋ Adaptive capacity - the expertise an individual needs to live independently, showing communication and social skills.

Essential differences between Autism and Mental Retardation

Autism

• Autism cases deviate in the IQ range with below and above average test results.


• Autistic children have normal or even above-average intelligence. 


• The problem that some of the children face is an inability to function socially within the "normal" population.


• An autistic child is unable to communicate with the outside world using language.


• Children with Autism may be able to progress in some areas smoothly but have difficulties in language, communication, and social interaction.


• They cannot understand the world in terms of letters and sounds, and they make their wishes known often in nonverbal ways.


• Children may show a lack of empathy for other people because of having problems in understanding the emotions and emotional responses of others.

Mental Retardation

• Mental Retardation requires a score on an intelligence test, at least two standard deviations below the norm.


• If "normal" is 100, then two standard deviations below that are 50-75 approximately.


• Intelligence tests are not great predictors for their future success or ability.


• Tests are culturally biased, and if the person who is taking the test does not share the same culture as the person who has made the test, they will score lower.


• Mental Retardation may present speech and vocabulary challenges but not to the same stage as a case of severe Autism, which can make someone nonverbal.


• Patients with mental retardation have a delay in oral language development, deficits in memory skills, in learning social rules, an issue with problem-solving skills.


• A way to measure mental functioning is by an assessment of the child's sensory-motor development.

Aspects about Autism

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder determines a person to show repetitive behavioral patterns and often impairs their social interactions with other people.

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) that affects brain development, mainly in communication, language, and social skills. It is one of five PDDs, which includes Asperger's syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder-not-otherwise-specified (PDD-NOS). Doctors typically diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in childhood before three years of age, according to the American Autism Association. Some symptoms might appear from the moment of birth, while others show as they become older.
 

Problems in communicating and social-interacting include:
• Unusual speech patterns like using a robot tone/voice.
• Trouble in maintaining eye-contact with people.
• Not reading facial expressions and body language.
• Repeat the same phrases frequently.
• Difficulty in understanding other's emotions and expressing their own.
• Difficulties in forming relationships.
• Not responding to their name.
• Disinterested in what is going on around them.

In a Nutshell 

Autism is NOT an Intellectual Disability. Deficits in Intellectual ability are not a part of criteria diagnosis of Autism and have never been. Autism show delays in developing Adaptive capacity, which presents an uneven trajectory in language, communication, and emotional states. In this case, development is not static. 

Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disability) is the disorder that assumes challenges in children's intellectual ability to learn. Conversely, this not equate to an inability to learn. 

Meaning and characteristics of Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disability)

Mental Retardation, also known as Intellectual Disability, is a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning. It is defined by an IQ under 70, in addition to deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors that affect everyday, general living.

Adaptive skills are the skills needed for daily life. These skills include the ability to speak a language and understand words, lack of communication, use of community resources, health, self-care, and social skills, and functional academic skills (reading, writing, and arithmetic).

A child is generally diagnosed with mental retardation before the age of 18. Family members suspect intellectual and developmental delays when a child enters milestones at a slower rate. For example, a child may be more reluctant to develop motor skills than other children his age. He may take longer than usual to go over. 

According to the slow development of motor skills, a child with mental retardation may be hesitant to develop language and daily living skills. He may be incapable of brushing his teeth or eat by himself. He may also start talking much later than other children his age.

Mental Retardation classifies into four categories:

➊ Mild Mental Retardation - IQ from 50-55 to 70

Approximately 85% of the mentally disabled patients is in the mildly retarded category. They can often acquire academic skills up to the 6th-grade level. They can become relatively self-sufficient and, in some cases, live independently, with community and social support.

 

➋ Moderate Mental Retardation - IQ from 35-40 to 50-55

About 10% of the individuals who have mental retardation is considered moderately retarded. They can carry out work and self-care tasks with careful supervision. They typically acquire communication skills in childhood and can live and function successfully within the community in a managed environment such as a group home. 

 

➌ Severe Mental Retardation – IQ from 20-25 to 35-40

About 3-4% of the mentally disabled are severely retarded. They may master fundamental self-care skills and some communication skills. Many severely retarded individuals/children can live in a group home.

 

➍ Profound Mental Retardation – IQ below 20-25

Only 1-2% of the people with mental retardation are profoundly retarded. They can develop necessary self-care and communication skills with appropriate support and training. An accompanying neurological disorder often causes their retardation. The profoundly retarded need a high level of structure and supervision.

The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) has developed another widely accepted diagnostic classification system for mental retardation. The AAMR classification system focuses on the capabilities of the intellectually disabled individual rather than on the limitations. The categories describe the level of support required. They are intermittent support, limited support, extensive support, and pervasive support. To some extent, the AAMR classification mirrors The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) classification. 

Causes of Autism and Mental Retardation

The roots of Autism are initially unknown, but significant numbers of studies begun to learn how it develops.
In twin studies, Autism often has a strong correlation between twins. For example, if one twin has Autism, the other may have Autism, an estimated 36-95% of the time.


Autistic people may also change crucial areas of their brains that impact their speech and behavior. Environmental factors play a role in the development of ASD, although doctors have not yet confirmed a link.

Mental Retardation often associates with self-injury and aggression. The age at which they first appear, and the severity of symptoms depend on each cause. 


-Hereditary factors are also a cause of Mental Retardation—an inherited abnormality of the genes, such as Fragile X Syndrome.   


-Problems during pregnancy. Intellectual disability can result when the fetus does not develop properly. 


-Problems at birth. For example, if a baby has problems during labor and delivery, such as not getting enough oxygen.


-Certain types of diseases or toxins. 


-Iodine Deficiency, affecting approximately 2 billion people in the world.


-Malnutrition is a common cause of degraded intelligence.

Capacities and level of independence of the people diagnosed

Autism: Patients who have Autism can manage their day to day activities considerably tremendous and can have an independent life most of the time. However, this depends on the severity of the disease. Individuals with ASD go on to live and work independently. However, many people with ASD require continued aid or intervention throughout their lives.

Introducing therapies and other treatments early in life can help lead to more independence and a better quality of life.

 

Mental Retardation: Patients with Mental Retardation need social supports and support from caretakers to put through their lives. Their capacity and level of independence is lower.

According to education, I can say that "Fluent AAC" is one of the few apps which allows children/adults to make use of the time spent in front of a screen for educational purposes. While the child is learning to communicate fast and efficiently, he also gets access to a stunning design.

 

The pictures in bright, vivid colors make it easier for the child to understand the words and keep them in mind. Due to this incredible design, the child will associate an action with the corresponding image. "Fluent AAC" is a way of interacting and recreating at the same time. 

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