Autism and Mental Retardation

Table of Content
  1. Respond to the following:
  2. List the primary features of autism. Individuals with autism experience a lack of responsiveness, language and communication problems, limited imaginative play, rigid behavior, unusual motor movements, and overstimulation or understimulation (Comer, 2005).
  3. Which explanation for autism is no longer considered valid and lacks research support? The sociocultural theory of autism is not supported by research and therefore is not considered valid. Basically this theory is based upon the idea that autism is a result of factors like cold or rejecting parents, but studies have not been able to prove this to be true (Comer, 2005).
  4. What forms of treatment are helpful for a person with autism? Behavioral therapy, communication training, parent training, and community integration are all helpful autism treatments (Comer, 2005). All of these treatments are geared towards helping children with autism communicate and behave in a more positive way.
  5. List the criteria for a diagnosis of mental retardation: Below average general intellectual functioning and poor adaptive behavior are the two main criteria for diagnosis of mental retardation. A low IQ score and difficulty in areas like communication or self-direction are additional criteria. These symptoms must also appear before the individual becomes 18 for a diagnosis of mental retardation (Comer, 2005).
  6. Explain one way in which sociocultural biases in testing might pose problems for assessing mental retardation. One sociocultural bias that exists when it comes to assessing mental retardation is that the tests that are administered are geared towards middle or upper class socioeconomic levels, which means that those who live in poorer communities have a disadvantage (Comer, 2005).
  7. Of the four levels of mental retardation, into which category do most people with mental retardation fall? Around 85 percent fall into the mild retardation category (Comer, 2005). What are the main types of biological causes of mental retardation? The main types of biological causes for mental retardation include: chromosomal causes, metabolic causes, and prenatal or birth related causes (Comer, 2005).
  8. What is the only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome? There has not been a level set which states that any level of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, which means that the only way to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome is to abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy.
  9. What are normalization and mainstreaming? Normalization is an attempt to provide individuals with mental retardation with normal living conditions, flexible routines, and common developmental experiences. Mainstreaming is when an individual with mental retardation is placed into settings with nonretarded individuals (Comer, 2005).
  10. What is your opinion about mainstreaming and normalization for children and adults with autism or mental retardation? Personally I believe that there should be a balance between mainstreaming and normalization. I think that children and adults with autism or mental retardation can benefit from both concepts, so combining them would likely produce the best result.


  1. Comer, R. J. (2005). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (4th ed. ). New York: Worth.

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