Information about the extent of additional disabilities presented and experienced by the mentally retarded children is essential for proper health services planning for this group.
The objective of this case-control study was to identify the developmental milestones and additional disabilities of mildly mentally retarded male children. Sixty-nine parents of mildly mentally retarded male children (MMR group) and a similar number of matched parents of normal male children (control group) were interviewed and a questionnaire was completed.
Generally, the MMR group children smiled, sat, walked, talked and became continent for urine and bowel significantly later than the control group. Additional disabilities in the children of the MMR group were in the form of speech (65%), visual (28%), limb weakness (20%), hearing (16%), convulsive disorder (15%) and other disabilities (10%).
Well structured health education and I.Q. screening programs were recommended for early detection of mental retardation and subsequent entry to special education. Institutes for mentally retarded children in the Kingdom need to be better vocationally equipped. The role of Family and Community Physicians in early detection and management was also emphasized.