Autism vs Mental Retardation: Difference and Comparison

Autism and Mental Retardation are the two mental conditions where children need extra care and attention. These two are similar in a lot of features but differ in the kind of attention each needs.

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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting communication and social interaction, while mental retardation is characterized by significantly below-average intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.
  2. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can coexist with various levels of cognitive functioning, whereas mental retardation primarily affects cognitive abilities.
  3. Interventions for autism focus on improving communication, social skills, and behavioral management; for mental retardation, the emphasis is on developing adaptive and intellectual skills.

Autism vs Mental Retardation

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

Autism vs Mental Retardation

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 with the normal situations in day-to-day life.

Comparison Table

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 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.

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This is why skilled medical professionals are required. Otherwise, there is a great risk of wrong treatment.

When a child is autistic, it does not mean he is simultaneously suffering from certain mental disorders. They are not always linked together.

However, there might be conditions where both 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 can be independent like normal humans.

autism

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. More specifically, it is a neurodevelopment disorder with a deficit of a couple or more adaptive behaviours.

These behaviours include the normal features we 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 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 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.

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A patient with Mental Retardation is 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 to 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 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.
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

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Autism vs Mental Retardation: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Thank you for providing such comprehensive information on Autism and Mental Retardation. It’s crucial to recognize the necessity of handling each condition differently.

    Reply
  2. The detailed comparison between Autism and Mental Retardation illustrates the significance of tailored care, support, and understanding for individuals affected by these conditions.

    Reply
  3. Understanding the differences between Autism and Mental Retardation is crucial to tailor the care and support needed for individuals with these conditions.

    Reply
  4. Autism and Mental Retardation require significantly different care methods given their differences in behaviors, this is important to consider for parents and caregivers.

    Reply
  5. The clear differences outlined between Autism and Mental Retardation in your post highlight the need for individualized caregiving and support.

    Reply
  6. There is a clear distinction between Autism and Mental Retardation in terms of support needed and intellectual abilities. This understanding is vital for people to provide the proper care and attention.

    Reply
  7. The detailed information provided about Autism and Mental Retardation is highly informative and provides much-needed insights into the distinct requirements of each condition.

    Reply
  8. The differentiation between Autism and Mental Retardation is crucial both for those affected by it and their caregivers. It is important for the public to understand and empathize with these conditions.

    Reply

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