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Am Fam Physician. 2000 Feb 15;61(4):1059-67, 1070.

Identification and evaluation of mental retardation.

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University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160-7313, USA.

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  • Am Fam Physician 2000 Sep 1;62(5):961-3.


Mental retardation in young children is often missed by clinicians. The condition is present in 2 to 3 percent of the population, either as an isolated finding or as part of a syndrome or broader disorder. Causes of mental retardation are numerous and include genetic and environmental factors. In at least 30 to 50 percent of cases, physicians are unable to determine etiology despite thorough evaluation. Diagnosis is highly dependent on a comprehensive personal and family medical history, a complete physical examination and a careful developmental assessment of the child. These will guide appropriate evaluations and referrals to provide genetic counseling, resources for the family and early intervention programs for the child. The family physician is encouraged to continue regular follow-up visits with the child to facilitate a smooth transition to adolescence and young adulthood.

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