Health needs

People with mental retardation have an increased prevalence of epilepsy, psychiatric disorder, hearing and visual impairments, and autism. (9) Children with mental retardation are the responsibility of a paediatrician, and parents are able to discuss and monitor their children's needs and progress through one agency. When a child is transferred to adult services this situation changes, and a multitude of different agencies and individuals become responsible for different aspects of the overall service to adolescents who are deemed to have become 'adult'.

For the families concerned, the world of adult services can be bewildering and difficult to understand, resulting in increased parental stress. This is particularly true in relation to adolescents with severe mental retardation, especially if there are also behaviour problems, during this transitional phase from child to adult services. (119 In addition, the relationship between parental and professional roles and responsibilities is often unclear. Multidisciplinary assessment is advisable, and parents should be involved in management, even in adulthood (unless this breaches confidentiality).

It is often not apparent who, among the professionals, is directly responsible for someone in the context of services, and there may be inconsistencies between health, education, and social services in terms of policies and practice. Also, health professionals, including general practitioners, may be relatively inexperienced in dealing with people who have mental retardation.

A coherent strategy for developing comprehensive health-care services for young people with mental retardation requires collaboration between service providers, to ensure that the health-care needs of all people with mental retardation, including those with autism, are properly identified, and that access to mainstream primary and secondary health care is supported. (11)

Funny Wiring Autism

Funny Wiring Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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