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I Am Sam - Developmental Disorders Essay

  • Submitted by: jdse92
  • on November 17, 2013
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 1,450 words

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Below is an essay on "I Am Sam - Developmental Disorders" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Developmental Disorders in Film
          Mental retardation is defined as, “a developmental disorder characterized by a subnormal ability to learn and a substantially low IQ” (Dictionary.com, 2013). This IQ or intelligence quotient is measured by a standardized test usually.   When an individual has an IQ score of 70 or below, along with other important factors, the DSM-IV classifies the disorder as mental retardation.   Individuals with this disorder usually suffer because of biological genetics, brain damage, or diseases (The American Heritage, 2013). In many cases it is diagnosed during early infancy. For this assignment I chose the movie I Am Sam. In the film, the main character, Sam Dawson, tries to fight for custody of his 7-year old daughter while he suffers from mental retardation.   According to the movie, Sam has the mental capacity of a 7-year old child . Child protective services are determined to have Sam’s daughter, Lucy, taken away from him for her well-being. Sam on the other hand fights to prove that although he suffers from mental retardation, he is capable of caring for Lucy.   In this paper I will discuss the many aspects of the developmental disorder and how it was incorporated into the movie I Am Sam.
          According to the DSM-IV, mental retardation falls under Axis II because it is a developmental disorder. Criteria consists of, an “IQ at or below 70, (as previously stated), deficits or impairments in present adaptive functioning in at least two of the following areas:   communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety, and the onset before age 18” .   Early on, symptoms such as lacking language, motor, or self-help skills, may lead to questioning if a child suffers from this disorder. Even if a parent or teacher notices that the child is not developing or growing intellectually as other students, mild mental...

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