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What is moderate mental retardation?

Published:Tuesday | June 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Q. I got a report last week where the psychologist stated that my child is moderate with mental retardation. Is there another name for this. What does that mean?

A. Moderate mental retardation is equivalent to what used to be called trainable. We now know that persons with mental retardation can benefit from educational programmes, so we do not refer to them as trainable anymore. Many of these children, however, are not likely to master more than a grade-two level in schoolwork. They can be taught to perform unskilled or semi-skilled work.

School wants emotional test done on my child

Q. A school called me and told me that my child will need an emotional test before beginning school in September. It will cost a few thousand dollars. Should I go ahead?

A. You need to find out from the school what would be the purpose for this test. You also need to know what will happen to the results of this test if your child needs professional help when the results arrive. Please ensure that you ask for the qualifications of anyone who will be testing your child. Ensure that the person or persons are qualified psychologists and remember you have the right to ask for copies of their qualifications so that you can check to see if they are qualified to test children for emotional problems.

Children with attention deficit hyperacitivity disorder

Q. Someone told me that a child can be hyperactive or have attention problems. The person said that not all children have both hyperactivity and poor attention problems. Is this true?

A. Attention deficit/Hyperacitivity disorder is when children move excessively and it is difficult to keep them quiet in many different types of settings. A child can have only attention deficit problems or be hyperactive. The attention deficit may show itself in the child failing to pay attention to details and having difficulty organising tasks, among other things. The child with the hyperactivity problems will be very fidgety and may have difficulty waiting for his turn, among other behaviours. It is always best to have a psychologist test a child to determine if the child has a disorder.

Orlean Brown-Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to helpline@gleanerjm.com or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston. Responses to concerns are to be considered as general, as cases shared with psychologists privately would be queried more deeply. Pray always!