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What should I do for my mentally retarded sister?

Q: I am a software professional. I come from a lower middle class family. I want to ask about a problem about my elder sister who is 32 years of age. Married 2 years back. She is abnormally weak. Physically as well as mentally. One cannot say she is totally mental or mentally retarded. She cannot concentrate on one thing. Nor she can handle two things at one time. Even for day to day activities also she takes more than 5 times the time any normal woman would take. She has a typical style of talking, sitting and walking which suggest that she is not normal. She is abnormally slow in understanding, cooking, cleaning etc. All her friends and relatives say that she is moody and some near relatives say that she is a bit retarded. She is always quiet, non violent, non aggressive but very adamant and has got a habit of lying. Even then no one has made her conscious about it, nor anyone tease or abuse her, nor anyone wants her to be unhappy. In fact she is MA English. She is married 2 years back. Husband has left her a year back. He had complained about her total unresponsiveness during sex as well as was embarrassed due to her behaviour and habits such as her talking with shaking head, wound up body while walking, uncontrolled postures while sitting, abnormal social behaviour (asking everyone in the neighbourhood about sexual queries) etc. She got pregnant and immediately started having physical problems. She was admitted once (mother didn't tell me what was the problem), delivered underweight baby girl by scissoring. Now also the baby is underweight, my sister is still not recovering from the stitches. She had suffered prolonged Pneumonia at a very young age (when she was one year old). I come from a lower middle class family. I have two other sisters to get married. I cant afford to approach a specialist. Please let me know what possible diseases she might have. And if its possible to cure them?

A:Your sister probably suffered a little brain damage when she got pneumonia at age one. The combination of slowness, and unsuitable gestures etc suggests that. Perhaps you could consult a doctor, who may advise you, but there is no point in spending a lot of money to get a diagnosis that in a sense, you already have. I do not know where you live, so I find it difficult to direct you to any specific institution. From my experience, voluntary organisations that run programmes for children with disabilities are more accessible (and better at helping to develop a schedule of activities) than even the best doctors. Any doctor that you consult is likely to depend on a large number of expensive investigations, which may even locate the origin of the problem. But what you want is some good advice on treatment in everyday life. If you are in Chennai, for example, I would direct you to Vidya Sagar in Kotturpuram, which is a school for spastic children, who have had brain damage. They would normally only test children, but would, I am sure be kind human beings and help you to with some advice on the next step. There seems to be only a distant chance of your sister improving in health, but it is possible to make her behaviour more acceptable, through the right kind of counselling and behaviour modification. Perhaps a Clinic set up by a psychologist would be worth a visit.

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