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Caring for a Mentally Challenged Child

Caring for a mentally challenged child can be difficult and challenging to say the least. The average I.Q. of an average child is believed to be 100 while children who are mentally challenged have an I.Q. that falls somewhere between the range of 70 to 84.

Causes of mental deficiencies

It is believed that hereditary plays the strongest role in arresting a child’s mental development while a variety of environmental factors can also contribute to it. The most common factors include brain damage, an infection that occurred during pregnancy, RH incompatibility, taking drugs while pregnant and malnutrition. Regardless of the cause, simple tasks such as eating, toilet training and even learning to walk properly can be difficult for the mentally challenged child. It is important to have plenty of love, tolerance, patience, and empathy when dealing with such a child.

Special schools for learning

The earlier in a child’s life that the mental problem is detected the better it is for everyone concerned. There are many special schools as well as child guidance centers that provide the necessary environment for your child to grow and learn in. These environments not only help the child when it comes to education but also in developing social skills. It also gives them the opportunity to spend time and get to become friends with other mentally challenged children. If a parent shuns these special learning facilities studies have shown that this can lead to greater problems for the mentally challenged child in terms of emotional as well as social difficulties.

Coping for parents

It is important for parents to come to terms with the situation as soon as they can. Some people need counseling to help them do so. Instead of searching for a way to “cure” your child, accept the child for who he is and find ways to help him realize his full potential to the best of his abilities. Professional help is a necessity for a child who is mentally challenged in any way, whether the problem be mild, moderate, or severe.

Skills that are taught and learned

Special schools teach mentally challenged children the skills they need to grow and learn in the world. The tasks the child is given are geared towards his mental growth in as far as he is able to learn, expand and grow. For example, sensory training and perceptual knowledge are taught to mentally challenged children and these are stressed to a great extent and practices many times over. Children are also given tasks in schools that help them to become as independent as they possibly can be. The training allows mentally challenged children a sense of accomplishment and helps to build their sense of self into a positive one.

Parents and other family members as well as friends should do their part at home to teach the mentally challenged child and to stress love, understanding and the close ties of family. Children with mental challenges need all of the love, encouragement, and support that they can possibly get.

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