Is My Child Mentally Disabled?by Erin Schreiner
Worrying about your child is a natural part of being a parent. Many moms spend a lot of their time concerned about their child's development. If your observation has left you concerned about your child's mental capacity, consider the signs and symptoms of mental disability. By exploring the process of disability diagnoses and educating yourself on what mental disability would mean for your child, you can prepare yourself to respond effectively to the presence of a mental disability in your child.
Signs of Mental Disability
Signs of mental disability can appear in a number of forms, and at an assortment of stages during the child development process. In some children, mental disability is outwardly apparent from birth, as the child exhibits abnormalities in facial features or excessively large or small hands and feet. Other children may not exhibit visible signs, but they might, instead, experience infant seizures, excessive vomiting or stunted growth. Children who show no outward signs are commonly diagnosed with a mental disability due to a failure to reach developmental markers, such as rolling over slowly, a failure to sit up unassisted or an inability to stand.
If a child's mental disability is severe, it will likely be detected long before the child enters school; however, if the disability is mild, it may go unseen until the child begins to engage in academic study. Children who appear to struggle more than their peers in learning may be tested for mental disability in school. Through testing, educators can determine whether the child possesses a mental disability and, as a result, will need additional assistance in moving through the learning process.
Mental disabilities can stem from an assortment of causes. The presence of toxins, such as high mercury levels, or abnormal brain development during pregnancy could lead to a mental disability. During birth, a lack of oxygen could leave a child's brain impacted. Post birth, mental disabilities can be caused by severe neglect or even malnutrition.
If a child is suspected of having a mental disability, medical professionals move through a complicated process of diagnoses. This process usually involves a team of medical professionals including a general physician, mental health worker, special educator, social worker or even pediatric neurologist. These professionals conduct medical testing and gather anecdotal data regarding the child to determine whether he suffers from a mental disability.
Response to Diagnosis
What happens after the diagnosis will depend in large part upon the type and severity of the mental disability. Some children require regular medical attention to help overcome their challenges. Other children can operate much like other, unaffected children and require only moderate intervention through the form of an Individualized Education Plan or extra in-school assistance to help in the reaching of academic goals.