Alternate Names : Developmentally Delayed, Mentally Disabled
What can be done to prevent the condition?
Mental retardation caused by genetic factors often cannot be prevented. Early screening for PKU can identify infants who are at risk. The baby's diet can then be tailored to prevent mental retardation. Some couples may consider genetic counseling if there is a family history of genetic disorders.
Mental retardation can sometimes be prevented by proper prenatal care.
Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking during pregnancy.
Exercise and eat a healthy diet during pregnancy.
Get regular prenatal checkups and care as needed.
Mental retardation from factors during childhood can be reduced with the following measures.
Follow recommended schedules for well baby visits and childhood shots.
Remove lead and other toxins from the environment.
Use car safety seats.
Follow sports safety guidelines to avoid head injuries.
Provide regular stimulating contact with other children and adults.
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Long-term effects vary, depending on the degree of retardation. They may include:
a need for lifelong sheltered living and work environments
a need for help with basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and toileting
significant, lifelong health problems
poor decision-making ability
a need for help with financial decisions and management
emotional and social immaturity
What are the risks to others?
Mental retardation is not contagious. It poses no risk to others.