Diversity in Development of Children and Adolescents

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 9
Words: 2273
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: Master

Abstract

Children with different needs can be accommodated in one setting to enable equal development and even learning performance (Derman-Sparks & Olsen 2010). There has been a belief that children are supposed to adjust to the changes in the learning environment, and this has a negative impact on children with physical or learning disabilities. The children try as much as they can to be at the same level as others, but they end up failing, being stressed and depressed plus even having a negative self-image (Derman-Sparks & Olsen 2010). However, it is possible for the professionals willing to work with children of diverse needs to integrate these and enable the children and adolescents to develop (Mishna, 2003). These professionals can make the environment favorable for children and teenagers with special needs so that they can have nearly the same performance level as normal children. This approach involves changing the environment other than trying to change the child (Mishna, 2003). The method is also useful because, in some cases, the environment is not conducive and thus hindering the children’s development and action can be taken to improve this environment. This paper will discuss several recommendations that the professionals can employ to enable the children with incapacities to achieve ultimate development and performance (Derman-Sparks & Olsen 2010).

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Engagement and Communication

Engaging in conversations with the children requires the use of a number of professional skills that enable the individual and the child to share information. Through cultivating a sharing relationship with the child or adolescent, the minors will be more willing to open up and share their problems hence addressing their issues. It is very important to develop a communication relationship with adolescents, especially because they are going through a life transition phase that can end up putting them in a state of crisis (Vaughn, Linan-Thompson & Hickman, 2003). Communication can be further encouraged among children or adolescents, their parents, and other family members. Professionals act as an example, as well as a cultivator of healthy communication behaviors between teenagers and the people around them. The developmental stages are easier to go through when the adolescents have someone that they trust, and they can open up to (Derman-Sparks & Olsen 2010).

Counseling

Counseling is effective for children and adolescents who have experienced psychological difficulties. Physical and learning disabilities can lead to mental disorders such as depression or other maladaptive disorders. These children need counselling to help in dealing with the problems that they are facing. Counselors know that when a trusting relationship is created between a child and a helper, the teenager can understand his or her strengths in being able to solve various problems (Derman-Sparks, & Olsen 2010).

In addition to this, the children are helped to deal with learned helplessness that they develop from being in a disabling environment for a long time. The environment that a child is brought up in determines her ability to resolve the problems that she encounters. Counseling keeps in mind the fact that some children have developed their weaknesses from their upbringing. The early developmental stages are very critical in a person’s development (Vaughn, Linan-Thompson & Hickman, 2003). Once such childhood causes of disability are identified, it is easy for the professionals to address them in good time. Counseling also can be provided in schools and through this, the particular problems of the children can be identified and addressed, and where possible referrals made for further help. It is important to note that teachers can assist in making the children with challenges feel free in class to ensure that the counseling process is efficient and the child feels motivated to learn and participate in the classroom activities (Vaughn, Linan-Thompson & Hickman, 2003).

As a professional, the counselor can generate the correlation between the child’s underperformance and their home or school environment. The counseling activity should be holistic to ensure that when the child is being helped to deal with his her difficulties, the environment that the child interacts with is also changed. If the children feel uncomfortable in the presence of the well-performing children, they can be taught relaxation techniques that can help them feel at ease. Being comfortable can also help the children to participate in class activities beyond their expectations (Elbaum & Vaughn, 2001). Every child is unique, and this uniqueness comes with special talents or capabilities that cannot be found in any other child. Through encouragement, the children and adolescents can discover some special talents that can help in raising their self-esteem once they experience the feeling of self-achievement.

The counselor also helps the children and adolescents understand that they should not dwell on what they are not able to do (Elbaum & Vaughn, 2001). Children with physical disabilities and leading difficulties tend to focus on their weaknesses when they realize that they are not capable of having the same performance as the other kids. Because of that, focusing on one’s weaknesses leads to reduced self-esteem, stress, and depression. The psychological disorders that children have to begin as reduced self-esteem and escalate to serious conditions such as severe depression (Elbaum & Vaughn, 2001).

Recognizing Diversity in Class

It is crucial to know that adolescents have different needs, and they come from different backgrounds (Willner, 2005). In order to provide competent services, teachers, and other professionals must provide one-on-one services to adolescents. The world is experiencing changes in racial diversity, especially in the United States in which about 37% of the adolescents are multiracial (Ward & Lee, 2005). Population diversity is also predicted to increase in the coming come; diversity cannot be recognized in the aspects of race alone. However, different children come from various social backgrounds, and there are other differences such as sex. In addition to this, embracing diversity helps people to be their brother’s and their sister’s keeper (Ward & Lee, 2005). This strategy focuses on using the child to help their peers who have different challenges. Caring about one another is encouraged in which the children pull each other up when one is more successful than the others. One also finds out that some of the difficulties are associated with gender. Helping the children to see each other as equals helps the children to learn that they are capable of so much success (Ward & Lee, 2005). In addition, it is important to understand that some of the attitudes attached to gender or because of our upbringing and our home background. Normal development even for children with disabilities is not easy because sometimes there are deep factors that are the cause of it. Understanding the cause and helping the child to understand it is a way that c help children to appreciate themselves (Dowrick, 2000).

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Making special provisions to take care of the needs of the children and adolescents

There are those measures that can be implemented by professionals for children with learning and physical disabilities. This recommendation can be put into action alongside the rights of the children with physical and learning disabilities (Dowrick, 2000). An example of these provisions includes special programs into the curriculum in order to accommodate those children who are not favored by the regular curriculum. Some of the provisions to be made in the curriculum include the provision of special teaching and learning activities according to the children’s needs. In school, a class can be composed of people with learning disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia among others. The physical disorders can also range from speech impairment, hearing difficulties, and other disabilities. When these children or adolescents are placed in the same class as normal children, it is obvious that their performance will not be the same (Dowrick, 2000).

The children will feel the need to have them treated as individuals as per their particular requirement has been violated. For this reason, these children can be assigned to a specialist who sees them for extra classes in order to catch up on what they did not get during the day classes (Willner, 2005). The children also can be attached to a special needs school where his or her needs will be addressed appropriately. The children with the same needs can also be grouped together and form a special class with a specialist. These extra classes help the children to learn as much as normal children are learning (Dowrick, 2000). The specialist will be in a position to help the children learn at their pace, and this facilitates growth.

The assessment is also favorable when these children are attended by a specialty since the specialist will know all the possible ways of meeting their needs. For example, if a kid who cannot speak is placed in a class of normal children, he will have limited participation in class (Derman-Sparks, 2011). The teacher or professional who is not trained on a particular disability also may have difficulties meeting the needs of the child (Willner, 2005). The best way to help these children is to get them a specialist who understands their needs and how their learning and development can be accelerated. The rating of the performance and development is also different in the children with special needs, and this is accomplished by specialists (Dowrick, 2000).

Human Rights and Social Inclusion

The factors in the environment that the professionals work in can only be addressed if the children with disabilities are included socially, and their human rights protected. Social inclusion helps in dealing with issues in the society that help promote health such as stopping stigma, discrimination, inequality, and empowering them (Derman-Sparks, 2011). Through this involvement, a family can be easily involved in the processes that take place in society. Children with physical, mental, and learning disabilities have been treated unequally and discriminatively, and this has only contributed to worsening their situation. As opposed to the common belief that these children and adolescents do not understand what is going on around them, most of them know then they are treated discriminatively (Dowrick, 2000).

As provided by human rights, all people should be treated the same way, and their abilities and disabilities should not be used to determine one’s treatment. Inclusion in society enables the children and adolescents to know their rights so that they are not mistreated even in the presence of the teachers and other professionals. Children and teenagers with disabilities should be respected for the fact that they are human beings as highlighted in the human rights (HOLLINS, & SINASON, 2000).

Providing a Positive Learning Environment

The learning environment is an enormous determiner of whether a child with special needs is accommodated or not. The physical environment is more so important in determining the quality of childcare setting for the children. Activities such as providing visual aid and including drama in teaching help the children to understand the sequences of learning for example, how events follow each other. Teaching is done in various ways that appreciate all children and adolescents. This combination is important because the use of pictures and drama places emphasis on the material being learned, and thus increasing the capacity of the children with disabilities to understand (HOLLINS, & SINASON, 2000).

The children who do not like socializing should be provided space where they have their quiet play or reflection time (Fletcher et al., 2006). Doing all this is understanding that all the people are different, and it is good to do all that can help in the development of the child’s abilities (Fletcher et al., 2006). Some of the behaviors that children have are not harmful, but they need to be addressed using a soft approach that fulfills the child’s needs. For example, providing a quiet space does not try to force the child to socialize, but shows them that their wishes are respected. They do not cause any harm after all. However, the child is encouraged to play and interact with other kids on several occasions to develop their social life (Fletcher et al., 2006). Making the playing resources available to the children will enable the children who have difficulties in expressing themselves by word of mouth to do so in a play that is a convenient way of passing information. The sense of decision-making is developed in this case because children learn to make choices in their play (Fletcher et al., 2006).

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The physical environment should encourage the children to develop independence as much as possible. Children who are in a motivating environment are more willing to take a challenge and take risks that they can manage (Gresham, 2002). The children also explore the indoor and outdoor activities by themselves, and this helps in developing their imagination. The physical environment of the child is changed to help the children understand and participate in the daily routine activities (Gresham, 2002). The changes should also encourage imitative which in turn leads to independence over time. In addition to this, improving the physical environment benefits all the children while at the same time ensuring that the interests of the children with special needs are fulfilled (Gresham, 2002).

Conclusion

These recommendations require a joint effort from everyone in the society because it is the setting in which the children with disabilities live. The professionals must work together with the child’s peers as well as their parents in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the child’s needs. In addition to this, different children will react differently to the strategies employed and, as a result, the use of a single recommendation may not be helpful. An eclectic approach serves the purpose of ensuring that the children and adolescents’ needs are met from different perspectives such as mental health, social setting, and the environment among others.

References

Derman-Sparks, L. (2011). Anti-bias Education: Reflections. Exchange, 33(4), 55-8.

Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Dowrick, P. W. (2000). A review of self-modeling and related interventions. Applied and preventive psychology, 8(1), 23-39.

Elbaum, B., & Vaughn, S. (2001). School-Based Interventions to Enhance the Self-Concept of Students With Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis. The Elementary School Journal, 303-329.

Fletcher, J. M., Lyon, G. R., Fuchs, L. S., & Barnes, M. A. (2006). Learning Disabilities: From Identification to Intervention. Guilford Press.

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Gresham, F. M. (2002). Responsiveness to Intervention: An Alternative Approach to the Identification of Learning Disabilities. Identification of Learning Disabilities: Research to practice, 467-519.

HOLLINS, S., & SINASON, V. (2000). Psychotherapy, Learning Disabilities, and Trauma: New Perspectives. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 176(1), 32-36.

Mishna, F. (2003). Learning disabilities and bullying double jeopardy. Journal of learning disabilities, 36(4), 336-347.

Vaughn, S., Linan-Thompson, S., & Hickman, P. (2003). Response to instruction as a means of identifying students with reading/learning disabilities. Exceptional children, 69(4), 391-409.

Ward, P., & Lee, M. (2005). Peer-assisted learning in physical education: A review of theory and research. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 24(3), 205.