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Adolescence Factsheet

Physical milestones for adolescents that are typical for development are puberty, increase in
appetite because of growth spurts, increased need for sleep, voice changing, and sexual
development (Ozretich, 2001). Delays in physical growth and puberty can be signs of atypical
physical development. Social and cultural factors can influence the physical development in
adolescence. Depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders are some of the factors
that can influence physical development. Strategies that parents can use to influence their childs
physical development is providing healthy meals and opportunities for their children to be active
whether at the gym or outside. Parents can document their childs growth and if they have
concerns speak with their physician.

Language developmental milestones for adolescents have advanced language skills. They can
use complex sentences both oral and written. Children can follow rules of grammar and write
stories. Adolescents are able to understand and use figurative language (Brent, 2008). When a
child has atypical language development a sign might be not understanding what someone is
saying (social language skills). When a child experiences this they do not understand sarcasm
therefore they cannot respond and could potentially be bullied. Social and cultural influences
impact adolescence because the more adults talk to children the more they learn and adapt to the
language. Children are able to learn the language regardless of culture, but may reach milestones
at different stages. Parents can talk to their children and explain to them social rules and how to
have conversations with others. They can also let them experience new things socially so that
they can learn what type of speech is appropriate in different situations (ex. dinner at an
expensive restaurant).

Adolescents have cognitive developmental milestones such as being able to think abstractly
which means thinking about possibilities. Another milestone is being able to consider many
points of view, such as comparing ideas or opinions (Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
2016. During adolescence children begin to think in more complex ways and view the world in
their own way. They have improvements in selective attention and working and long-term
memory. Not being able to think abstractly is an atypical cognitive development sign as well as
not being able to think hypothetically. Relationships with peers, family, society effect how
children think and see themselves. Bullying can influence a childs cognitive development and
how their brain functions. Parents can include their child in complex conversations about
different issues or topics. They can also purchase books and have a game show night with the
family asking questions about the book with the winner winning a prize.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

During adolescence social-emotional, moral reasoning, and self-regulation are milestones that
have been achieved. In adolescence children have a greater awareness of themselves and their
self-concept. They become concerned with how others see them and want to be excepted by
peers. They know how to control their feelings, emotions, and have self-control. Adolescents
also begin to have a sense of self and self-esteem. They know right from wrong and how to think
critically to make the right decisions. Social and cultural factors can influence these
developments. Parents, peer, and societal culture all play a role in these areas. For example,
adolescents can be persuaded easily by their peers to do something that they know is wrong (ex.
drinking alcohol) because they want to feel accepted by them, even though their parents have
taught them not to do morally wrong things. Parents can model self-control and provide delayed
gratification situations (ex. keep a clean room for two weeks and you get to go to the mall and
pick an item) so that the child can learn not to give to stimulants or temptation.

Brent, M. Gough, F. & Robinson, S. (2008) One in Eleven: Practical Strategies for Teaching
Adolescents with a Language Learning Disability. ACER Press
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016 August 18). Developmental milestones.
Retrieved from
Ozretich, R. A. (2001). Middle childhood and adolescent development. Corvallis, Or.: Extension
Service, Oregon State University.