Difference Between Autism and Mental Retardation (With Table)

Autism and Mental Retardation are the two mental conditions where children need extra care and attention. This two are similar in a lot of features but differ in the kind of attention each need. Children face difficulties with different aspects. One might have a lower intelligence quotient level while others might lack interacting skills. They need to be treated accordingly.

Hence, to interact and care and deal with them in a proper manner, we need to get familiar with the condition and what kind of care is needed.

Autism vs Mental Retardation

The main difference between Autism and Mental Retardation is that the cause of autism is not yet perfectly-recognized. It is suspected to be some kind of genetic disfunction. Whereas, Mental Retardation is a congenital disorder. In this condition, the patients start to show signs at an early age.

Autism is diagnosed when the IQ level is 70 or below it. They can live their life being independent. They do need special attention though. The main weakness of autistic people might vary from patient to patient but they all lack communication skills.

On the other hand, Mental Retardation is diagnosed when the IQ level is below 70. They can not live their life being independent. These patients require constant support and attention. Due to the absence of certain abilities, they fail to cope up with the normal situations in day-to-day life.

Comparison Table Between Autism and Mental Retardation

Parameters of ComparisonAutismMental Retardation
CauseThe proper cause is not yet known but it is suspected to be linked with genetic defects.It is a kind of congenital disorder.
Communication SkillsAutistic people face difficulty in interacting with people.Mentally retarded people have problems perceiving and are prone to slower responses.
Intelligent QuotientMost of them have normal or above-average IQ and it crosses 70.They generally have IQ below 70.
DependenceThey are independent like normal children but need extra attention.They are dependent on people. It is difficult for them to cope up with general situations.
TreatmentCounseling classes and special interactive classes are required with extra care.Needs to be dealt with with extreme patience and can be prepared to learn basic skills.

What is Autism?

Understanding Autism is very important for its proper treatment. When it is diagnosed, many assume it to be just another state of mental retardedness. However, this is absolutely not the condition.

This is why skilled medical professionals are required. Otherwise, there is a great risk for wrong treatment. When a child is autistic, it does not mean that he is simultaneously suffering from certain mental disorders. They are not always linked together.

However, there might be conditions where both the disorders are diagnosed in the same person. Hence we can conclude that both these disorders can co-exist with each other.

The main challenge children with autism face are communication. They have a problem interacting socially and also have limited verbal skills. The weakness however varies from person to person. They do need extra care and attention but they can be independent like normal human beings.

What is Mental Retardation?

Mental Retardation is also referred to as Intellectual Disability. This is the more appropriate term but the formal one is still in use to get familiar with. It is a congenital disorder. To be more specific, it is a neurodevelopment disorder where there is a deficit of a couple or more adaptive behaviors.

These behaviors include the normal features we generally require to live independently. This is why they need constant support because to find it hard to cope up with immediate situations. The main challenge they face is communication.

They tend to deliver slower responses due to the difficulty in perception. Due to the deficiency in adaptive features, they are generally categorized by IQ below 70. Hence they need extra attention and also time. However, they do not have issues with communicating with people in their own way.

They need to be dealt with extra care. It is possible to make them learn the basics and develop skills. It might need time, but they proved to be successful at it. A patient with Mental Retardation is generally diagnosed within the age of 18.

Main Differences Between Autism and Mental Retardation

  1. The main difference between Autism and Mental Retardation is their cause. The proper cause is not yet known but it is suspected to be linked with genetic defects. Whereas, Mental Retardation is a kind of congenital disorder.
  2. Next, we differentiate them on the basis of their IQ levels. Most autistic people have normal or above-average IQ and it crosses 70. However, people with Mental Retardation generally have an IQ below 70.
  3.  Autistic people face difficulty in interacting with people. Mentally retarded people have problems perceiving and are prone to slower responses.
  4. For autistic children, Counseling classes and special interactive classes are required with extra care. Children with Mental Retardation need to be dealt with extreme patience and can be prepared to learn basic skills.
  5. Autistic patients are independent like normal children but need extra attention. On the other hand, Mentally Retarded are dependent on people. It is difficult for them to cope up with general situations.

Conclusion

In both cases, the children are special. They just need some extra attention, care, and maybe effort. On the positive side, a lot of people with autism or mental retardation are exceeded in life. Starting from movies to the field of technologies, we have numerous famous scientists diagnosed with these disorders. However, they are well-known geniuses. One might lack certain communication skills or face problems with dealing with life independently but it should not affect their needs.

The two disorders are quite similar however the patients are not. This is because their base cause is quite distinct. Sometimes the two are found to be co-existing which is an even spacial case.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2788.1991.tb00403.x
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02284719

About the Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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