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There exist several approaches toward developing a curriculum, and some of the most common ones are developmental and developmental-cognitive. Within the first approach, it is assumed that children’s development is predetermined by biological factors. Hence, a curriculum based on the developmental perspective would take the specifics of each age group into consideration to moderate the contents of lessons and the difficulty of proposed tasks (Gargiulo and Kilgo 163).
The developmental-cognitive approach is centered on behavior patterns in children. Hence, it is seen as more individualized and dynamic as it prescribes ongoing observation and continuous data collection to make amendments to the curriculum (Gargiulo and Kilgo 164). This essay will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both perspectives for children with disabilities and delays.
Developmental Approach: Advantages and Disadvantages
Inclusive education hinges on the premise that differently-abled children share a classroom and are put into age-appropriate groups, which is based on the developmental theory. Many studies have shown that inclusive education benefits children with delays and disabilities as it challenges them in a positive way (Hehir et al. 15). In an attempt to keep up with their peers, they stay in school for longer hours and prioritize their academic achievements. On the other hand, a standardized curriculum might not quite meet the needs of a child with disabilities. If a child has language or other delays, they might require more time to adapt and complete tasks. It is easy to imagine how such a child could be left behind while his or her able peers do not have difficulties following the curriculum.
Developmental-Cognitive Approach: Advantages and Disadvantages
As compared to the purely developmental approach, the developmental-cognitive perspective offers “customized” solutions. It is difficult to predict how well children with special needs would complete tasks and how quickly they would make progress. Hence, a curriculum based on the chosen approach would address the emerging issues and challenges promptly. In alignment with the developmental-cognitive approach, teachers are to moderate children’s behaviors by giving them instructions. However, in the case of children with disabilities, the situation might be much more nuanced. A better approach would include tackling other underlying factors such as psychological problems.
Both described approaches are fairly reasonable and applicable but have certain flaws. It is possible to predict the age of the onset of specific skills and faculties: emotional, cognitive, and adaptive. Taking a developmental perspective when elaborating a curriculum may be advantageous for children with disabilities as it motivates them. However, the specifics of some disorders require heightened attention and specialized curriculum not based on universally recognized developmental stages.
A curriculum based on the developmental-cognitive perspective does not only consider formal developmental stages but also prescribes paying attention to children’s current behavior patterns and challenges. For children with disabilities, such an approach may be beneficial since it would heed their needs and difficulties. Nevertheless, this approach is result-oriented, and merely instructing children to change the way they act may not be enough.
Gargiulo, Richard, and Jennifer L. Kilgo. An Introduction to Young Children with Special Needs: Birth through Age Eight. Nelson Education, 2010.
Hehir, Thomas, et al. A Summary of the Evidence on Inclusive Education. 2016. Web.