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Lessons from Typical and Atypical Development

Lessons from Typical and Atypical Development

Psych in the City 2007
Lessons from Typical and Atypical Development
Dr. Grace Iarocci

Humans are naturally curious and want to make sense of things. This tendency has led to many important discoveries that have practical applications (e.g., the earth is round not flat).

In developmental psychology we want to make sense of change and stability (e.g., how does this child become this adult). We might also want to predict who will develop problems, how to improve development and how to prevent risk factors that interfere with adaptive development.

If we dont take a development perspective we may assume that when we see a behaviour in children it means the same thing as a similar behavior in adults.

For example if an adult lost his speech due to a motorcycle accident is that the same as a child who cant speak and has autism. The outward behaviour looks the same (no speech) but the underlying processes that cause the lack of speech are different.

My research looks at the relation between typical and atypical development. For example, what do we know about social development and how can we use this knowledge to understand children with autism who have social difficulties as well as what can we learn from children with autism that will help all children develop into socially competent adults.

Web site: http://www.sfu.ca/autism-lab
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