Dr. Krag answers questions on mental disabilities.
Q: Can people with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn the Transcendental Meditation program?
Dr. Krag: If a person can think a thought he or she can learn to meditate. The majority of intellectually challenged people are in the "mild" to "moderate" range of mental retardation, and all of these individuals should be able to easily learn the Transcendental Meditation technique. I am not sure if someone with "severe" developmental disabilities could learn the Transcendental Meditation program, and I doubt that those with more profound degrees of retardation could.
Q: Will practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique help a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities think better?
Dr. Krag:People with mental disabilities are no different than anyone else in that when we are more rested and calm our thinking will be clearer. When we make "smarter" decisions on some days and not others, it is not because our innate IQ has risen, but rather because we are making more intelligent use of the intelligence we have. TM helps people develop and maintain more neurophysiological stability, whether one tests in the mentally challenged range or the genius range.
Our medical expert
James Krag, M.D. is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and former president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists for four years. He is currently Medical Director of Liberty Point, a residential treatment program for adolescents with psychiatric problems.