3 doctors weighed in:

Where does one draw the line between 'learning difficulties' and 'mental retardation'?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Chen
Clinical Psychology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Where is the line

Mental retardation has two primary criteria.
An IQ score that is 2 standard deviations below the mean and difficulty with adaptive functioning. On the weschler intelligence scales, that means an IQ score below 70 (with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15), and a documented difficulty with functioning in daily life activities. The vineland scale of adapative functioning is a test used.

In brief: Where is the line

Mental retardation has two primary criteria.
An IQ score that is 2 standard deviations below the mean and difficulty with adaptive functioning. On the weschler intelligence scales, that means an IQ score below 70 (with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15), and a documented difficulty with functioning in daily life activities. The vineland scale of adapative functioning is a test used.
Dr. Steven Chen
Dr. Steven Chen
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Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental & Behavioral

In brief: Ability/achievement

Intellectual disability (mr) is classically defined as having an overall iq of <70 with low scores in social/adaptive functioning in 3/10 areas (ability to function independently in society).
A learning disaabilty is an unexpected difficulty learning in a child with an average to above average iq. Classically, achievement scores are 15 points or greater less than iq in reading, writing or math.

In brief: Ability/achievement

Intellectual disability (mr) is classically defined as having an overall iq of <70 with low scores in social/adaptive functioning in 3/10 areas (ability to function independently in society).
A learning disaabilty is an unexpected difficulty learning in a child with an average to above average iq. Classically, achievement scores are 15 points or greater less than iq in reading, writing or math.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Dr. Johanna Fricke
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