Why average people have to enter the world of MENTAL RETARDATION: AN OVERVIEW
What is average intellectual functioning in the world as we understand it today. Intelligence quotient (I.Q.) tests are designed to measure intellectual functioning. An I.Q. score provides a rough numerical assessment of an individual’s present level of mental functioning in comparison with that of others. The vast majority of individual’s I.Q.s between 80 and 120, with an I.Q. of 100 considered average. To be diagnosed as having mental retardation, a person must have an I.Q. below 70-75, i.e. significantly below average. If a person scores below 70 on a properly administered and scored I.Q. test, he or she is in the bottom 2 percent of the American population and meets the first condition necessary to be defined as having mental retardation. People with mental retardation have historically been victimized both by their disability and by public prejudice and ignorance. In recent decades there have been significant gains in understanding the nature of the condition, in the provision of education and other services that meet the unique needs of those who are mentally retarded, and in the willingness of the public to accord them the respect and rights they deserve as human beings and citizens. Nevertheless, misunderstanding of the unique nature and implications of mental retardation remains widespread. When a person with mental retardation confronts the criminal justice system, they are uniquely unable to take advantage of legal safeguards and to protect their constitutional rights.