Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Mental Retardation:
Learning How to Help Your Child
You have just learned that your child is retarded. You have a lot of questions. You probably are worried and a little afraid. The best thing you can do to help your child (and yourself, too) is to learn more about mental retardation. How can you get more information and help? Some tips are listed below.
Read about it.
Sometimes it helps to read about a problem to understand it better. Your doctor and the other people who evaluated your child can help you find books, magazines and other information about mental retardation. Some libraries offer videotapes on this topic.
If you have access to a computer, you can find many organizations that offer information on the Internet. Your public library may be able to help you with this search.
You can also get information for your other children to read. This may help them understand their brother or sister better, which can help all of you.
Talk with other parents.
Often it helps to talk with other parents whose children have a similar diagnosis. They may be able to give you ideas about how to help your child learn. If your child has some behavior problems, they may have useful hints about things that worked well for them.
You may want to join a support group of parents in your area who also have children with special needs. These groups meet regularly and can be very helpful to you, your child and your whole family. You may also want to join a state or national organization that will give you specific information about diseases or syndromes related to mental retardation.
Talk to your family doctor and other professionals.
Don't be afraid to ask for help or explanations. Many people, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, teachers and psychologists, are committed to helping children with special problems and their families. They may have ideas to share with you and they may recommend reading materials, videos and other sources for information and support.
The Arc: www.thearc.org