Growth and Development

What do you understand by growth and development?

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Growth and development are often used as synonymous terms. But growth is more on the physical aspect while development is more on the mental aspect. These two processes are highly correlated with each other. If a child has good physical health, most likely the child also has above average mental capacity. With good physical growth, a child can be more sociable with other people, too. Both are important characteristics of a living organism and go on simultaneously.

· Growth is “the physical change that a particular individual undergoes.”

· Development is “the overall growth of humans throughout their lifespan.” Development includes the understanding of how and why people change in terms of physical growth, intellectual, emotional, social, and other aspects of human growth.

The term growth is used in purely physical sense. It refers to an increase in size, length, height and weight. Changes in the quantitative aspects come into the domain of growth. Development implies overall changes in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or functioning. It indicates the changes in the quality or character rather than in quantitative aspects.

· Growth is one part of developmental process. Development in its quantitative aspect is termed as growth. Development is a wider and comprehensive term. It refers to overall changes in the individual.
· Growth describes the changes which take place in particular aspects of the body and behaviour of an organism. Development describes changes in the organism as a whole and does not list the changes in parts.
· Growth does not continue throughout life. It stops when maturity has been attained. Development is a continuous process. It goes from womb to tomb. It does not end with the attainment of maturity, the changes however small they may be, continue throughout the life span of an individual.
· The changes produced by growth are the subject of measurement. They may be quantified. Development implies improvement in functioning and behaviour and hence brings qualitative changes which are difficult to be measured directly.

Both heredity and environment impact the growth and development of a child. The environmental factors include nutrition, climate, family environment, social environment, culture, the roles they have to play and other etc.

The growth and development of a child happens in the following respects:
1. Physical
2. Psychological and Cognitive
3. Social and emotional
4. Sexuality and gender identity

* * *

Growth refers to change in size; development implies overall changes in the individual. The principles of development state that it is a continuous process; it follows a pattern; it proceeds from general to specific responses; it proceeds at different rates for different parts of the body; there are individual differences in development; it is both quantitative and qualitative and it is often predictable. There are internal, external and other factors that affect the growth and development of the child. The two main phases of the process of development are phase of before Birth and the phase of after Birth.


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Q4 - MAPC MPC002 Life Span Psychology - MPC-002/ASST/TMA/2014-15
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