Chairman Yannet: Mental deficiency may be defined as an interference with the development of intellectual capacity resulting in social inadequacy. This may be so severe as to necessitate complete custodial care indefinitely; it may be so slight, that a simple change in environment or program may allow for relatively normal community activity with minimal to no supervision. For these different degrees of disability a wide variety of terms have been used. In decreasing order of disability, the terms most frequently employed including their definitions in terms of intelligence quotients are as follows:
1. Borderline: I.Q. 70-80
2. Moron or high grade: I.Q. 50-70
3. Imbecile or middle grade: I.Q. 20-49
4. Idiot or low grade: I.Q. 0-19
Such terms as feeblemindedness and mental retardation are generally used interchangeably for mental deficiency.
Obviously, not all children failing to adjust socially or follow normal paths of development are so because of basic mental deficiency. Certain other conditions, either superficially or strikingly resembling mental deficiency states, must be differentiated. These latter conditions require a different and sometimes highly specialized therapeutic approach and any considerable delay in their recognition may adversely affect subsequent adjustment. The most common of these conditions include the following which are briefly described:
1. Delay in Educational Maturation: There is considerable variation in the time at which children of normal intellectual capacity reach the stage at which they properly react to the usual educational procedures, normally introduced at about 6 years of age. This so-called period of "educational readiness", for want of a better term, includes many aspects such as attention span, personal relations and socialization status, and may occasionally be delayed 2 or 3 years.
- Copyright © 1952 by the American Academy of Pediatrics