Children with mental retardation frequently face the added handicap of emotional and behavioural disorder which further compromises their development, limits their opportunities, predicts increasing restrictions in daily living such as the need for institutional care, and is a source of significant extra burden and cost on the family and society. A careful and comprehensive psychiatric assessment of the child, family, and social context usually leads to a rational diagnostic formulation and suggests a range of psychological, educational, social support, and pharmacological interventions which are likely to produce a reduction in symptoms and relief for the child, family, and carers.

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