Children's Study Initiative

Devoted to Children with Learning Disabilities

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) = Mental age / chronological age x 100
Intelligence Quotient is expressed as percentage

Normal IQ: 85 – 110
Borderline intelligence: IQ between 70 – 84
Mild mental retardation: IQ between 50 -69
Moderate mental retardation: IQ between 35 – 49
Severe mental retardation: IQ between 20 – 34
Profound mental retardation: IQ less than 20

Education is an important wealth which a person can have in this world. In the modern competitive world in which academic achievements are considered important, scholastic backwardness causes tremendous stress for the students. Academic stresss in children can present as physical, behavioural or emotional problems. Physical symptoms can be in the form of severe pain anywhere in the body (pain disorder). Pain disorder in children usually presents as severe head ache, abdominal pain, back ache, chest pain or pain in the limbs. All the investigations will be normal and the symptoms will be relieved with analgesics. This condition is called somatoform pain disorder and is usally managed with psychological therapies. Children can also have other types of somatoform disorders like somatoform autonomic disorder on facing stressful situations in which the child presents with symptoms related to the organs innervated by autonomic nervous system like cardivascular symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory or genitourinary symptoms. The anxiety related to the stress have to be managed through psychological therapies inorder get relief.

Stress related to exams can occur in chidren with scholastic backwardness as well as children with good academic performance if they become overanxious or overambitious. If the child is scholastically backward, he/she should get the help of professionals in child guidance to find out the underlying etiology. If there is learning disorder, remedial education should be started.

Self esteem of the children should be improved through counselling and they should be motivated to improve their academic performance. Parents should never compare the academic performance of their children with their classmates or peer group. They should support the child having academic stress and help the child to overcome the learning problem.

Upto 40% of refererals to paediatric services could be due to developmental disorders of speech, language and communication. Mutations affecting the FOXP2 transcription factor can cause a monogenic speech and language disorder. A recent study by Vernes et al, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that FOXP2 binds to and downregulates CNTNAP2 gene that encodes a neurexin. CNTNAP2 polymorphisms in children with typical specific language impairment had significant association with nonsense-word repetition, which is a heritable behavioral marker of this disorder. This genetic locus is also associated with language delays in children with autism. They concluded that FOXP2-CNTNAP2 pathway provides a mechanistic link between clinically distinct syndromes involving disrupted language. The study subjects were members of families identified by the Specific Language Impairment Consortium. Specific Language Impairment Consortium is a group of researchers from Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Aberdeen and Guys Hospital, London, United Kingdom, interested in investigating the genetic contributions to common language disorders.

Learning problem is common among school children and it is a matter of concern not only for children, but also for parents and teachers. Learning disorders affect about 10% of school going children. Children with learning disorders have average or above average intelligence, but they have difficulty in reading, spelling, writing or mathematical skills. Another cause for scholastic backwardness is borderline intelligence (IQ between 70 – 85%). Mild mental retardation with IQ between 50 – 70% will also cause significant learning difficulty. Other causes presenting as learning problems in school going children include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behaviour disorders like conduct disorder. Children with reduced motivation also have scholastic backwardness.

 If not identified and corrected at the earliest, children with scholastic backwardness and learning difficulty can have tremendous academic stress and it can lead to anxiety disorders and stress related disorders like somatoform disorders. Hence all children with difficulty in learning and children presenting with scholastic backwardness need detailed individualized evaluation and professional guidance by experts from child guidance / learning disability clinics.