Cerebral Palsy vs Mental Retardation

Cerebral Palsy is a condition wherein the part of the brain of an individual that controls the coordination and posture is affected. A person with cerebral Palsy oftentimes doesn’t have the capacity to walk without assistance, eat, speak and swallow properly. It is due to the disorder of the brains motor. Primarily, the cause of CP is the injury on the child’s brain before delivery or sometimes after delivery.

On the other hand, mental retardation is a condition when a person has low intellectual functioning compared to the other children at his/her age. Usually a child who is mentally retarded has problem with adapting to daily life skills. There are instances that it takes time before they will learn to speak, walk and do things on their own. Normally, such children unsuccessfully develop milestones like other kids. A delay in the aspects of development is evident with mentally retarded child.

An example of mentally retarded child is when a four year old child who can’t walk alone but can take few steps with assistance. He knows his family members but cannot point out his nose and ears. He can gabble but there are no significant words. He tends to act like a one year child than his actual age. While an example of a child with Cerebral palsy is when a three year old child can speak though there are some difficulties, can draw and eat by herself. However, she cannot walk or explore the house. Compared to other children she has slow development on her physical capabilities.

Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation is not the same thing. Cerebral Palsy refers to impairment of motor or movement of the body while Mental Retardation is about Cognitive brain function. They are actually same in a way that the affected part is the brain.

According to survey, approximately one-third of individuals with CP have moderate-to-severe mental retardation, one-third has mild mental retardation, and one-third have normal intelligence.

Like Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation is a lifetime condition. A person affected will continuously reduce his/her intellectual capacity. Good thing is that those parts of the brain that are not damaged or injured will continue to develop which means an individual will still have the capacity to acquire skills and abilities. Mental retardation is not a mental illness but a delay in mental development.

An individual with Cerebral Palsy is usually mentally capacitated, they have better judgment compared to mentally retarded person. The level of mental retardation varies, standardized psychological test called IQ test is used to measure intelligence. According to study, a 100 IQ is a normal intelligence, 70-85 is normal but not retarded, 50-70 IQ is considered as mild mental retardation, 35-50 is moderate mental retardation, 20-35 is severe and below 20 is profound.

To simplify the categories, 50-70 IQ is considered as mild mental retardation and 35 below is severe mental retardation. However the IQ testing concept does not give precise measurement of a person’s mental abilities but it is undeniably helpful.

The two conditions have different symptoms, causes and severity, CP prevents the person from controlling his/her movements while mental retardation is when a person doesn’t have full intellectual ability. Another difference is that CP mainly focuses on physical impairments while Mental retardation clearly focuses on mental capacity. Cause of two condition also differ from each other, possible cause of CP can be injury during pregnancy, during birth or right after birth while Mental Retardation cause remain unknown, possible cause is genetic abnormalities, a disorder which is inherited from parents or relatives.

Lastly, Cerebral Palsy may not be curable but treatment to improve the condition is possible, like muscle relaxant medications, while with Mental retardation is mostly consist of therapy and guidance from family member in order to perform and live normal life.

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