Physical and motor dysfunctions in mentally handicapped individuals predispose them to a higher risk of slip and fall accidents. It is estimated that over 60 million people are currently suffering with some level of developmentally related cognitive impairment (American Disability Act ADA, 2000). Mental retardation occurs in 2.5-3% of the general population. About 6-7.5 million mentally retarded individuals live in the United States alone (ADA, 2000). Slip induced fall accidents are a primary source of injury in people with mental retardation (MR). Often, the incidence of falls among this population is compounded by other disabilities such as autism, seizure, and impulse control disorders. These individuals already have a certain level of physical disability which makes it necessary to predict their tendency of falling in-order to prevent further physical disability. Due to improvements in the health care and assisted living services available to them, many more individuals with MR are reaching old age. In fact, there are between 200,000 and 500,000 older adults with MR in the United States (World Health Organization, 2000). As this population continues to grow, it is important to identify individuals who are at an elevated risk of slip induced fall accidents.
Prakriti P, Liu J, Lockhart T & Courtney Haynes. Analysis of Gait Characteristics in Mentally Handicapped Individuals. Paper presented at American Society of Biomechanics 30th Annual Meeting; September 7-9, 2006; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.