Development theories abound from Erik Erikson’s eight stages of personality, Sigmund Freud’s components of personality and the psychosexual stages, Lawrence Kohlberg’s moral development, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, to Lev Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism regarding the development of human beings from birth to adulthood. However, it is striking that the focus is placed on what seems to be normal progression and development. It is important to note, that the term “normal” is a social construct that indicates a societal acceptance of desired set of skills and behaviors within an acceptable range. Humankind must change the meaning of the word normal to a more accepted and less limiting connotation, to mean usual and ordinary. It is also important to consider that when looking for normal patterns of skills and behaviors, the only comparison should be to an individual’s self and not to a peer group. This specific paper will discuss how Jean Paget’s four stages of cognitive development is altered by Asperger syndrome as a disability.
Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome is considered to be a higher functioning disorder on the spectrum of autism disorders. Asperger syndrome is identified as possessing characteristics that include limited or inappropriate social interactions, robotic or repetitive speech, challenges with nonverbal communication, tendency to discuss self rather than others, inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases, lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation, obsession with specific topics, one-sided conversations, and awkward movements and/or mannerisms. (Asperger Syndrome, 2016) Asperger syndr...
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...nd able to perform at acceptable developmental levels as children without disabilities. While children with Asperger syndrome may take more time and specialized learning scenarios to allow them to fully develop the appropriate skills.
Regardless of the cognitive development theory or the disability, it is important to understand that no two individuals develop in the same way. Each person is exposed to different stimuli and possesses distinct strengths and weaknesses in mind, body, and spirit. We should strive to embrace and celebrate our differences rather than reduce our attributes to “normal” and “abnormal”. As educators, we must find ways in which to help each individual to attain their highest level of ability and development. The development theories should be used to acknowledge where on the development spectrum individuals lie, age ranges withstanding.
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