Mental Retardation - Diagnosis

The first step in diagnosing mental retardation is a complete physical examination and medical history. Some forms of mental retardation are caused by treatable illnesses. Hyperthyroidism is an example. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. A child's mental disorder may be treated, then, by first treating the medical problem that caused it.

If medical problems are ruled out, the patient may then be given a series of intelligence tests. These tests are designed to determine the child's intelligence quotient. Some tests that are commonly used include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, and the Kaufmann Assessment Battery for Children.

Final diagnosis may also include a series of interviews between a mental-health professional, the child, and the child's family.

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