Mental Retardation in Adolescents

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Children moving into the stage of adolescence are riddled with also entering the stages of puberty that then peak their sexual interest. Adolescents dealing with mental retardation are no exception, and also deal with the pressures of a growing sexual libido, but do so in a much more complicated manner. In fact, most adolescents suffering from such a condition have a much harder time dealing with these new sexual issues in comparison to their counterparts experiencing normal development. In many cases, adolescents with mental retardation fail to grasp what is happening to their bodies, in which case can cause great stress within an already stressful time period in their young lives. Research states that part of sexual development includes a higher internal knowledge of the process. This issue with sexual development makes adolescent individuals with mental retardation complicated to work with in many social or formal instances. According to research, "People with disabilities are often erroneously regarded as childlike, asexual, and in need of protection," (Murphy 2006). Therefore, many adolescents are not given proper information regarding their bodily changes and how to behave with the new urges that come about with puberty and sexual development. Still, "Societal and psychosocial barriers may be more of a hindrance to an adolescent's sexual development than the limitations of the disability itself," (Murphy 2006). This makes it clear that any proper treatment of adolescents with mental retardation must include proper sexual education and review of etiquette between the sexes in this delicate time.

Modern treatment has pushed towards more out-patient care. In fact, hospitalization for mental retardation in adolescents is rare within the modern consequence. In more recent years, hospitalization is only recommended when the individual becomes a danger to themselves in some way (Sebastian 2008). Collaboration between psychiatrists, caregivers, and family members can provide the most successful results within the context of adolescents. Additionally, there are several modern treatment modules in practice today. The applied behavior analysis includes "techniques that are based on the principles and methods of behavior analysis and are intended to build appropriate functional skills," (Sebastian 2008). Using positive reinforcement is also a strong strategy to help the adolescent learn how to cope within social settings. This includes the rewarding specific behaviors that go against negative behaviors and are more socially acceptable (Sebastian 2008).

Many prior treatment recommendations in previous generations revolved around institutionalization or constant care of individuals. Today, recent research has shown that growing adolescents can be trained to live a semi-independent life as adults if they are given the proper skill sets to do so during their adolescent years. According to research, "Today, the goal is to help the child with intellectual disabilities stay in the family and take part in community life," (Collins 2004). Individuals with mental retardation are normally taken out of general education during their adolescence and placed within more specialized vocational training in order to better prepare them for their adult lives. Research states that "The emphasis on individual strengths and interests and related vocations becomes even stronger at this point, making specialized vocational training a major goal," (Daigneault 2007). Vocational training can help place within the adolescent mind the strategies they will need to adapt to life as an adult.

Further research is needed within the field of adolescents with the condition. According to research, "Unfortunately, most psychiatrists are ill-equipped to handle this situation, having received little or no formal training in this area," (Sebastian 2008). Therefore, more research can only open up new information to psychiatrists and physicians who work with families to make the most comfortable life for the adolescent dealing with mental retardation[continue]

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"Mental Retardation In Adolescents" (2010, March 17) Retrieved May 24, 2016, from

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