Previous research regarding development debated nature or nurture as the sole cause for an individual’s behavior (Scarr, 1992). However, more recent research point toward developmental patterns as being unique to an individual and the causes are based on a combination of nature and nurture. According to Scarr (1992), an individual impacts the environment as the environment impacts the individual. Thus, the relationship is multidirectional (Sameroff, 2010). An individual’s behavior is impacted by biological and social circumstances.
Sameroff (2010) specifies that an individual’s development is affected by his/her genetics, home environment, school environment, peers, parents, and the community that he/she lives. Thus, one’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and political beliefs, among other aspects, influence development.
Contemporary theories explain that these domains are integrated together to form the individual’s identity. The individual and environment change together and the relationship is reciprocal (Sameroff, 2010). One theory, the Developmental helix, explains that there is a repetitive cycle that an individual moves through that combines nature and nurture. The biology is determined prior to birth, but as an individual moves through the same concepts repeatedly, the information is integrated and differentiated to create one’s identity. Thus, each individual is different based on his/her genetics combined with experiences. This specifies diversity.
Sameroff, A. (2010). A unified theory of development: A dialectic integration of nature and nurture. Child Development, 81(1), 6–22.
Scarr, S. (1992). Developmental theories for the 1990s: Development and individual differences. Child Development, 63(1), 1–19.
Diversity might be a very complicated topic when it comes to the area of working especially with kids and adolescents. I describe diversity as different people from different race, countries, tribe, culture, tradition, religions, and families coming together and accepting each other.
People from different part of the world mostly speak different languages and behave differently.
I am a behavior therapist with autistic kids, and this gives me the opportunity to work with different races. Diversity might affect one interacting with children and adolescents in several ways. One way it might influence interaction is the language barrier. Multiple studies demonstrate that monolinguals tend to do worse than bilinguals (Akhtar & Jaswal, 2013), walking into a home of a client that speaks another language from what you know most times limit your interaction and most kids warm up to you more when you talk the same language as them. For example, most of the kiddos I work with that talk Spanish are more familiar with the interpreter than me. Another influence might be behavior. Different cultures have different meanings for practices, but it depends on how the deviser’s community can accommodate it (Akhtar & Jaswal, 2013). For instance, when I went to community college as an international student, I make a sound with my thumb and middle finger, In my culture it was a way of gaining the attention of any human, in the American culture it means you are referring to a dog. My teacher at that time was unable to accommodate that as she sends me out of the class. I intend gaining more knowledge on how to tolerate and understand people and their cultures all over the five continents.
Akhtar, N., & Jaswal, V. (2013). Deficit or difference? Interpreting diverse developmental paths: An introduction to the special section. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 1-3. doi: 10.1037/a0029851
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