The following are the important characteristics of development-

1.Development is a continuous process:

The process of growth and development continues from the time of conception until the individual reaches maturity. It takes place at a slow but regular pace rather than by leaps and bounds. Development of both physical and mental traits continues gradually until these traits reach their maximum growth.

2.Development follows a pattern:

Development occurs in an orderly manner and follows a certain sequence. Thus, infancy, early childhood, later childhood, adolescence and maturity is the sequence of development in the human beings.

3. Development proceeds from general to specific responses:

The responses or the reactions of a child are of general nature to start with. He reacts to the situations and external stimuli with the whole of his body. Gradually, he learns to have specific responses. This is not only true of his physical responses only, but also of his intellectual and emotional responses. The responses of a child which are of general nature first, gradually become more and more specific. This is a sign of development and maturation.

4.Different aspects of growth develop at differentrates:

Though development is a continuous process, yet the rate of growth is not uniform. Thus, there are periods of accelerated growth and periods of decelerated growth. During the first three years of infancy, the rate of growth is rapid, then, the rate of growth slows down, which is again accelerated at the adolescent stage. Similarly, neither all parts of the body grow at the same rate, nor do all aspects of mental growth progress equally. Thus, they reach maturity at different times.

5.Most traits are correlated in development:

Generally, it has been observed that the child whose intellectual development is above average, is also superior in so many other aspects, e.g. health, sociability and special aptitudes. Similarly, this mental development is intimately related to his physical growth.

6.Development is a product of interaction of the organism and environment:

Neither heredity alone, nor the mere environment is responsible for the development of an individual. Both are responsible for human growth and development though, it is not possible to indicate exactly in what proportion heredity and environment contribute to the development of an individual.

7.There are wide individual differences in growth pattern:

Individuals differ from each other in their pattern and rate of growth. There is definite evidence to show that differences in physical structure are less marked than the differences in intellectual capacity. Similarly, it has been found out that personality differences are far more marked than either physical or intellectual differences. The individual differences are caused by differences in hereditary and environment influences. This has also been established that individual differences in rates of development remain constant. For example, a child who is slow in learning in early childhood, will remain so throughout. A bright child will be so from his early childhood.

8.Growth is both quantitative and qualitative:

As the child grows physically, he also develops regarding the qualitative aspects of his personality. That means, as the child grows in age, his mental and emotional functions also develop. Thus these two aspects are inseparable.

9.Development is predictable:

The rate of development of each child is fairly constant, that is, a slow learner will ever remain so, and a superior child is so from the very beginning. Thus, it is possible to predict at an early age the range within which the mature development of the child is likely o fall; though the prediction cannot be made accurately.

10.Development is affected by many factors:

Human growth and development is a very complex phenomenon. It is affected by a number of factors. These factors are intelligence, physical health, sex, nutrition, glands of internal secretion, position in the family, social status of the family and the general environment.

11.Principles of Cephalocaudal Tendency:

According to this principle, development proceeds from head downward. The child first gains the control of head and them arms and them legs. Infants develop control of head and face movements in the first two months after birth. In the next few months, they are able to use arms. Between 6 to 12 months, infants get control over the legs and begins to crawl, stand or walk.

12.Principle of Proximodistal Tendencies:

According to this principle, development proceeds from the center of the body outward. This means that child’s arms develop before the hands. The hands and feet develop before the fingers and toes.

13.Development Proceeds from Simplicity to Complexity:

Children think in a simple way in the beginning and are able to understand higher and more complex relationship later on.

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