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INTELLECTUAL. DEVELOPMENT. 4 Areas of Development. Human beings develop in 4 different aspects of growth. The areas are all inter-connected, so when one is affected it may influence the others. Social. Physical. Intellectual.

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4 Areas of Development...

Human beings develop in 4 different aspects of growth. The areas are all inter-connected, so when one is affected it may influence the others.




Intellectual development refers to the development of a person’s mental and thinking abilities.



Brain growth and development...

At birth, the brain is one-fourth its adult weight. At six months, the brain has grown to half its adult weight. At age two, the brain is three-fourths adult size and weight. Females have a physically smaller brain, but 11% more neurons than males.

The brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons, the majority of which were present at birth. Neurons located in the various lobes or segments of the brain are task specific. This means certain neurons located in certain areas of the brain are responsible for specific tasks.


Brain growth and development...

Neurons are hooked together with varying numbers and kinds of connections called synapses (a neuron and it’s synapses are shown at right). The number of connections results from inherited growth patterns first, and then environmental stimuli and challenge. New learning exercises the brain, causing the blood supply to increase, and leading to a greater supply of oxygen to the brain.

The number of connections, or synapses, determine a person’s capacity to learn.

The more synapses, the greater the capacity for learning.


Limitations to learning...

A window of opportunity is a critical period between birth and about the age of 10, in which the brain connections reach their peak. After that time, the brain starts eliminating inactive neurons. It is imperative that the child’s brain is provided proper nourishment, stimulation, challenge, and nurturing during these early years to encourage neuron activity.

The body’s ability to create new neurons, especially after the age of 10, is severely limited if not impossible. If they are destroyed or eliminated, they are gone forever. (experimental and controversial embryonic stem cell research offers the most promise for restoring permanently damaged or destroyed neurons)

Brain cells (neurons) and connections (synapses) , can also be destroyed by brain injury, chemical abuse, excessive levels of body chemicals produced during stress, and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


Measuring the "capacity to learn"...

Alfred Binet was born on July 11, 1857 in Nice, France. He was the only child of a physician father and an artist mother. His parents separated when he was very young and he was raised by his mother. Binet attended college in Paris at the age of 15, and received his license to practice law in 1878 and then decided to follow the family tradition of medicine. Nevertheless, his interest in psychology became more important than finishing his medical studies.


In 1905 he developed a test in which he had children do tasks such as follow commands, copy patterns, name objects, and put things in order or arrange them properly. He gave the test to schoolchildren and created a standard based on his data. From Binet's work, the phrase "intelligence quotient," or "IQ," entered the vocabulary. The IQ is the ratio of "mental age" to chronological age. Binet’s tests (the Binet-Simon IQ test) focused on measuring the brain’s capacityfor learning rather than on actual achievement. Cognitive psychologist Lewis Terman(1877-1956), while on staff at Stanford University, later revised Binet’s work, with a resulting IQ test still used today: the Stanford-Binet IQ test.

An IQ score indicates the capacity or learning size of the brain…the brain’s potential to learn. It does not measure what actual learning has taken place.


An Intelligence Quotient indicates a person's mental abilities relative to others of approximately the same age. Intelligence is defined as the capacity for verbal and numerical reasoning.

IQ Scores...


Standard deviation...

Psychologist David Weschler, 1896-1981 developed two well-known intelligence scales: the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). These are often used today instead of the Stanford-Binet.Scoring on all tests is similar.

Weschler also did work on the scoring of tests, and the use of standard deviations. A standard deviation is a “degree of probable error”.

If you scored 108 on a test, and the standard deviation for that particular test was 3 points, that means your score could be as much as 3 points lower or as much as 3 points higher.

When calculating standard deviation, take the score + or – the deviation.


"Mean" and “Median"...

When working with statistics and comparing one individual’s test scores to other individuals or a group, it is helpful to calculate “mean” and “average” scores.

A “median” score is the middle score in the entire range of possibilities. You would take all the scores in a sample group; line them up in order of low to high, and find the middle.

A “mean/average” score is when you add together all the scores in a sample group, and then divide by the total number of samples.

“Median” and “mean” scores for any one test group may or may not be the same. Can you determine the median and mean scores for a group with the following individual test scores?

85, 86, 86, 90, 95, 105, 105, 105, 105, 106, 106, 109, 109, 109, 115, 117, 119, 119, 140


106 is the median score; 105.8 is the mean/average score


Mental handicap...

When the Stanford-Binet was developed, individuals scoring below 70 were called “mentally deficient”, and the 4 levels of deficiency were labeled from least to most severe as “borderline deficiency, moron, imbecile, and idiot”. Society’s misuse of those terms eventually led to a change. The term “mental retardation” replaced “deficient”, and the words “mild, moderate, severe and profound” replaced previous labels.

Today, the term “mental retardation” has been replaced with “mental handicap”. Mildly mentally handicapped individuals are considered educable. Moderately handicapped individuals are considered trainable.

Name changes have occurred to reinforce the idea that all human beings have value within American society, as well as general acceptability. Even the upper scores have been changed from “superior” labels to “gifted” and “high ability learners”.


Achievement test scores...

A second type of educational testing is achievement testing. Rather than measure the “capacity or potential” for learning like the intelligence testing, achievement tests measure what has actually been learned.

There are many standardized achievement tests. Some common ones would be the California Achievement Tests (CAT or CAT/5), The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), The American College Testing Program (ACT), The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).


Roadblocks to learning...

A learning disability exists when there is a 20 point discrepancy between IQ and achievement test scores. This disability is simply some type of “roadblock” or barricade to learning; it can never be cured.

Other conditions that meet legal definitions as “roadblocks to learning” are Autism, behavioral disorders, hearing impairment including deafness, mental handicap, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, specific learning disabilities, speech and language impairments, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment or blindness.

Students experiencing “roadblocks” are eligible for special education services.


Special Education...

The federal government enacted a law in 1975, now known as the Individuals with Disability Education Act or IDEA, guaranteeing that ALL children, regardless of physical, mental or emotional handicap, are entitled to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. This law is very important in setting up what is expected of school districts and of the state. With this law came federal funds to help pay for the costs of special education.

As a result of these laws, the federal and state governments set up ways to protect parents' and students' rights. These procedures are outlined in Rule 51. In addition to actual education services, it covers other related services such as physical, speech and occupational therapies and transportation…from birth to age 21. The specific program of services for each child meeting Rule 51 eligibility is outlined in a document called an Individual Education Plans (IEPs).


Piaget's theory on cognitive development...

Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland, the oldest child of Arthur Piaget, professor of medieval literature at the University, and of Rebecca Jackson. At age 11, while he was a pupil at Neuchâtel Latin high school, he wrote a short notice on an albino sparrow. This short paper is generally considered as the start of a brilliant scientific career made of over sixty books and several hundred articles. After a semester spent at the University of Zürich where he developed an interest for psychoanalysis, he left Switzerland for France. Here he did his first experimental studies of the growing mind.

Piaget married and had 3 children, whose intellectual development from infancy to language was studied. His researches in developmental psychology and genetic epistemology had one unique goal: how does knowledge grow? His answer is that the growth of knowledge is a progressive construction of logically embedded structures superseding one another by a process of inclusion of lower less powerful logical means into higher and more powerful ones up to adulthood..

Piaget's works are known all over the world and are still an inspiration in fields like psychology, sociology, education, epistemology, economics and law as witnessed in the annual catalogues of the Jean Piaget Archives. He was awarded numerous prizes and honorary degrees all over the world.



Piaget's theory on cognitive development...

Piaget's theories on intellectual development were based on cognitive development and functioning.  Cognitive development relates to the process of acquiring knowledge by the use of reasoning, intuition, or perception, and organizing it through language, mental imagery, reasoning, problem-solving, and memory.He believed that all children go through 4 stages of cognitive development , but not all at the same ages.

The 4 stages and ages that they “typically” occur in are:

Sensorimotor(birth-2) – babies learn primarily through their senses and their own actions.

Preoperational(2-7) – children think about everything in terms of their own activities and in terms of what they perceive at the moment

Concrete Operational(7-11) – children are able to think logically but still learn best from direct experiences

Formal Operational(12-15) – children become capable of abstract thinking



Learning begins with sensory perception. Perception is the ability to receive and use information from the senses. It is important to provide stimuli for all the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting.



During the preoperational stage of learning, the child does not use logic. They would believe that the moon or a shadow was actually following them around. They concentrate on only one thing at a time. They solve problems by pretending or imitating rather than by thinking things through. The child cannot distinguish between their own perspective and someone else’s. They cannot think abstractly, so time and numbers mean nothing unless they have something concrete to associate them with.


Concrete operational...

During this stage, the child still relies on actually being able to see or experience a problem, but is capable of reasoning. Reasoning is the logical thinking necessary to solve problems and make decisions. They understand the principles of conservation (pouring water from one shape container into a different shaped container does not change the amount of water). They understand that operations can be reversed, so subtraction is possible. Children in this stage can make categories of things.

6 5 - 2 - 3

4 2


Formal operational...

During the formal operational stage of learning, the individual can think about what might have been the cause of the event without having experienced that cause. This ability allows problem-solving just by thinking.

The formal operational child does not automatically accept everything they hear or read, but can think everything through critically and logically. They can form ideals, understand subtle messages, and understand deeper meanings.


Attention span...

Attention span is the length of time one is able to concentrate on a task at hand. Research suggests that the average child’s attention span equals 3-4 minutes per year of age, with a maximum of approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, concentration levels weaken and attention wanders off periodically.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurological disability characterized by inappropriate degrees of: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Research indicates ADHD is caused by an inherited trait that affects the part of the brain (primarily the frontal lobes) that is responsible for persistence, planning, impulse control, and foresight.

Attention span can be increased with practice and an environment free from distractions. Too many hours of video games and TV may be responsible for short attention span development in children.


Language development...

Language is a code made up of rules that include what words mean, how to make words, how to put them together, and what word combinations are best in what situations. Speech is the oral form of language.

The development of language includes developing the ability to listen, to understand what is said, and to speak to others.

The child eventually develops the ability to see and understand the use of written language and to write and read. We call this language-related learning "literacy."

Receptive language skills include the ability to understand words in accord with chronological age. Expressive language skills include the ability to express oneself verbally.


Language development...

3 months: vowel-like sounds in form of cooing; ooh, ah, aw

4 months: consonant sounds; p,b,m,l

12-18 months: first words

2 years: 2 word sentences

3-4 years: perfects sounds of m, b, n, t, p, d, k, g, w, h, and vowels 3-4 word sentences; 900-1,000 word vocabulary

5-6 years: perfects sounds of sh, ch, l, l blends 5-6 word sentences; 1500-2500 word vocabulary

7-8 years: perfects sounds of v, j, th, s, z, r, s blends, r blends