Preventing Mental Retardation:

More Can Be Done

HRD-77-37: Published: Oct 3, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1977.

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In November 1971 the President established a national goal of reducing by half the incidence of mental retardation by the end of the century.

No Federal agency is coordinating a national strategy to prevent mental retardation or directing Federal resources toward prevention. Improvements needed in action for preventing mental retardation are: expansion of State programs for detecting treatable metabolic disorders by reaching all newborn infants and including disorders in addition to phenylketonuria (PKU); additional prenatal care; reaching more persons for genetic counseling; expanded efforts to immunize children and test women of childbearing age to prevent measles and rubella; more screening and better reporting of lead poisoning; more comprehensive systems for testing for Rh hemolytic disease; and better organization of programs to study effects of early childhood experiences.

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