Future Research

There are three main areas to be addressed as we strive to improve our commitment to providing services for persons with mental retardation. First, continual work on the definition of mental retardation is necessitated by the lack of widespread use of the most recent definition. As noted previously, many clinicians and researches have not adopted the classification put forth in 1992 by the AAMR. Achieving the goal of widespread use of this contemporary language in practice is perhaps an onerous one; which is perhaps furthered by the proposed 2002 definition. Further understanding by practitioners and clinicians regarding how the contemporary nomenclature coincides with historically established taxonomy is essential.

Second, research is needed that provides insight into the relationship between genotypic and phenotypic linkages. Biomedical technology advances, such as recently witnessed via the Human Genome Project, may serve to identify the major genetic causes of mental retardation. As such, once a genetic syndrome is identified, this lends itself to study of how this disorder is expressed phenotypically. Such information allows for more accurate and earlier identification of mental retardation, which in turn allows for the most fitting service provision and supports available (e.g., provision of early intervention services).

Third, research must continue to move away from the study of persons with mental retardation as a homogeneous group. Research must move toward providing detailed descriptions of the cognitive (e.g., neuropsychological), behavioral, and social profiles, including strengths and weaknesses, of a specific group of persons with mental retardation (e.g., persons with mental retardation due to FXS). This line of research will refine clinicians' and service providers' abilities to perform their respective tasks. Clinicians will be provided with excellent tools to diagnose persons with mental retardation accurately and efficiently, and service providers will be able to target the areas of intervention more successfully.

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Aspergers Answers Revealed

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