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Mental Retardation


Intellectual disability comprises a heterogeneous group of people, who in their school years are singled out as having general difficulty in learning, and in adult life as having limitations in their independent community functioning. The present entry describes how to assess intelligence and cognitive processes, adaptive skills and social functioning and behavioural problems in persons with intellectual disability. We use intellectual disability in addition to mental retardation because it is currently the broadly accepted scientific definition for identifying the population group diagnosed with adaptive and intellectual limitations. The term ‘mental deficiency’ was widely used during the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, but by the second half of the 1980s it had been replaced by ‘mental retardation’. Nowadays, the preferred term for professionals and ...

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