Explain characteristics of Life Span Development.

There are a series of universal features that characterize patterns of Life Span Development or growth and development. These characteristics help us predict in what order and pattern development will take place in a child. These characteristics help us not only in prediction but also in implementing the child-rearing practices efficiently.

These characteristics of Life Span Development are:

Development proceeds from general to specific: For example, when an infant is growing, he is first able to grab an object as a whole but as he grows, he becomes capable of fine motor movements instead of only gross motor movements.

Development is Multidisciplinary: Development is multidisciplinary in the sense that when an individual grows up, his growth and development cannot be explained in only one term. There are roles of many factors in his development such as physical, cultural, social and psychological. There is also role of language and environment. Therefore, the development can be described in multicultural in nature.

Development is Lifelong: Developmental phases do not stop at any phase of life in between until the time of death. Any attribute whether it is physical, social or emotional contribute lifelong in the life of an individual. Therefore, it is said that development is lifelong. It continues to add meaning to an individual’s life throughout his lifetime.

Development is Contextual: Contextual means related to a situation. Developmental psychology aims at studying the behaviour of an individual in contextual Manner. It does mean that the behaviour should be analyzed according to the situation. For example, we are expected to greet each other with a smile when we meet socially. But we cannot smile while meeting others in a condolence Meting. Therefore, there are contexts which guide our behaviour.

Development is Plastic: The capacity of organisms to vary in developmental pattern or in behaviour according to varying environmental conditions is known as plasticity. It involves the degree to which characteristics change or remain same. Development is plastic means that there some factors that keep on changing but some remain stable for a period of time.

Development involves Growth, Maintenance and Regulation: Development involves conflicts between these three goals of human development which are growth, maintenance and regulation.

Development is Multidimensional: Development is multidimensional. It cannot be ascertained ob one criterion. It occurs in various dimensions such as biological, cognitive and social. Development does not mean to grow in one area and cease to grow in other areas. Form individual to be competent, he/she should grow with some consistency in all the areas that can be measured.

Development is embedded in History: Development is accordingly affected by the historic period that we live in. For example, generations who have been there at the time of various historical events such as during freedom fight, during Olympic games, during Commonwealth games get affected due to the cultural and social milieu at that period of time.

Normative Age Graded Influences: Development also depends on specific factors which are related to biological and environmental influences. A child who is of age 5 will have different language development as compared to a child who is 10 years old and it cannot be changed as there are some basic milestones which are attained according to age.

Normative History-graded influences: Development is also altered by the history that is common to a generation. For example: Earlier there were no ailments like AIDS. Therefore, the earlier generations were not aware of the symptoms and related knowledge that is particular to AIDS. But the current generations are quite aware by this illness and they know how to be cautious to prevent acquiring this syndrome. This is an example of history-graded influence.

Non-normative Events: There may at times arise various unexpected events such as death of spouse or parent, bomb blast or accidents. There are many effects of these events which result in developmental delay or loss of some part of body which affects the life of an individual throughout his lifetime.

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