Generally speaking, the symptoms of mental retardation include delays in oral language development, deficits in memory skills, difficulty learning social roles, difficulty with problems solving skills, decreased learning ability or an inability to meet education demands at school, failure to achieve the markers of intellectual development and a lack of social inhibition.
However, symptoms of mental retardation will vary depending on the condition’s severity. For instance, while signs of mild retardation (i.e., those with IQs of about 52 to 79) may include a lack of curiosity and quiet behavior, signs of severe mental retardation (i.e., those with IQs of about 20 to 35) may include infant-like behavior throughout the patient’s life, and those with profound mental retardation (i.e., IQs of 19 or below) are likely to have limited motor and communication skills and require lifelong nursing care.
The symptoms of mental retardation are broken out by the level of the condition below.
- Mild intellectual disability: From birth to age six, these children are able to develop social and communication skills, but their motor skills are slightly impaired. In late adolescence, they can usually read at a sixth-grade level. They are typically able to develop appropriate social skills, and adults can often work and support themselves, though some of these individuals may require assistance during times of social or financial stress.
- Moderate intellectual disability: Children with this condition who are six years old or younger can talk and communicate, but usually have poor social awareness. Their motor coordination is fair, and adolescents can learn some occupational and social skills. Adults can sometimes support themselves and hold down a job, though they often require guidance and assistance during stressful periods.
- Severe intellectual disability: Young children with this condition have limited speech abilities, though they can usually say a few words. Their motor coordination is mostly poor. While adolescents can communication with others and can learn simple habits, they typically require lifelong guidance and assistance with daily activities.
- Profound intellectual disability: Young children with this level of mental retardation have very little motor coordination of often require nursing care, which can last a lifetime. Adolescents have limited motor and communication skills.