Concepts and classifications History and conventions

Mental retardation is neither a single entity nor a medical diagnosis. Concepts and terms have long been disputed, though underlying all is a perception of people with low levels of human competance who cannot survive independently. But what are the criteria for survival in human society? The many professions interested in mental retardation have diverse perspectives on the client group, its needs and problems, giving rise to the remarkable variety of inconsistent and ambiguous terms and categories characteristic of mental retardation literature. For all of them, basic measurements, differentiation from 'normal', and discrimination of differences of degree are problematic.

In addition, most cultures use ill-defined, culture-specific, and changeable social labels which are either stigmatizing or promoted as non-stigmatizing. With no scientific consensus on terminology, these transient lay terms are often adopted indiscriminately by professionals, reinforcing the underlying confusion in conceptualization and classification. Most published studies do not discuss taxonomy or define terms and categories, and are therefore useless for comparison or application elsewhere.(9) Public acceptability, professional practice, and scientific research require different taxonomies, categories, and terms. Professionals and researchers must discriminate between lay and professional languages. Current usage does not do this very successfully. (10)

For mental retardation, ICD-10(!1) is deliberately simple, using exclusively IQ criteria as 'a guide', and acknowledging the need for a more thorough and 'possibly multiaxial' system. The diagnostic guidelines are cautionary and should be read. The American Association on Mental Deficiency's classification, based upon their Adaptive Behaviour Scales,(l2) and DSM-IV of the American Psychiatric Association(l3) are closely related, using IQ data with qualifying criteria. The former is more precise, detailed, and standardized. They do not discriminate concepts of impairment, disability, and handicap, which is the great strength of the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps.(14> Current proposals for revision are contentious and agreement is not yet close. Whatever problems current terms provoke in some cultures, the basic concepts encompassed by the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps offer the most coherent structure for a general taxonomy for mental retardation.

Break Free From Passive Aggression

Break Free From Passive Aggression

This guide is meant to be of use for anyone who is keen on developing a better understanding of PAB, to help/support concerned people to discover various methods for helping others, also, to serve passive aggressive people as a tool for self-help.

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