Special Needs & Sexual Health

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Part One(A): From a Girl to a Woman, Boys to Men – ‘PUBERTY.’


We, as humans travel through several stages or steps on the road from childhood to mature adults. For most people, there are four or 5 stages of growth that certain ‘learning’ things happen.

In general, the writer will be referring to children's’ phases into adulthood in Developed Nations or Industrialised countries as the life expectancy in Third world nations is much less due primarily to famine and in part to tribal clashes.

Step 1: Infancy birth to age two years, Early Childhood ages three to 8 years, Later Childhood 9 to 12 years and Adolescence generally from thirteen to 18 or 19  years of age.

Societally, eighteen years of age we consider as Adulthood by sheer virtue of such activities as the ability to legally drive and apply for a Licence, vote in Elections, allowed to purchase alcohol and or tobacco. However, age requirements vary from country to country and region to region.

However, Emotionally and Intellectually most 18-year-olds still lack the essential 'Life skills.’ Moreover, continue to be erratic with choices and thinking through the ramifications of their behaviours. Adolescence is the phase at which we all go through from childhood to becoming Adults. This period is known as PUBERTY.

These years from adolescence (teens) to adulthood has three stages.

Stage 1: Early adolescence - generally eleven to 14 years of age.

 Stage 2: Middle Adolescence – years 15 through to 17.


Late Adolescence – 18 to 21years. Not only do physiological changes, but other factors play a significant role in this progression to adulthood and maturity. Additional to psychological growth, there are crammed seven key intellectual and social developmental tasks. The main reason of these tasks is to form one’s identity and preparation for adulthood.

Puberty and Physical Development: Are the physiological changes of Adolescence. By mid-adolescence (if not sooner for some), most boys’ and girls’ growth is complete and they are close to or at their adult height and weight. Thus capable of having babies.

Intellectual Development: and most children enter adolescence viewing their world in very concrete or set ways. Black or white, right or wrong, and awesome or awful are just some examples. While rarely have their thoughts ventured beyond the present and into the (even) near future! Thus we find some explanation why younger teenagers are unable to think of the long-term consequences of their actions!

By Late Adolescence, many teens become able to understand some of the subtle variances of situations and ideas and project them into the future. Teens learn the ability to solve some, if not all, complex problems and gain a sense of what others are thinking has sharpened considerably. However, they still lack “life experiences.” Moreover, even older teenagers apply these new found skills erratically and may act without thinking.

Emotional Development: if teens can be said to have a reason for ‘being’ – apart from their right to sleep in on weekends and some, it would have been weekday mornings (as well). Cleaning out the contents of ‘your’ refrigerator (sound familiar?), asserting their independence, and this requires that they distance themselves from their parents while storm-trooping towards freedom. Dismissing parental limits or boundaries lending its self to freedom; can take a myriad of forms such as less open affection, more time spent with friends, argumentative and belligerent are just some issues that happen on a long list that just goes on and on! All along, these teens are inexperienced in ‘life skills.' They often feel confused and frightened of leaving the safe and secure parental home, but yo-yo back and forth craving affection; only to spurn it when given.

Social Development: In childhood life centres on the parents and what they want or need. With adolescence comes a similar effect as if throwing a pebble into a pond and watching the rippling water circles outwards, so too does the teenager make friendships with the same or opposite sex, different social or ethnic groups and other adults such as a favourite teacher or another’s parent. Eventually, teenagers develop the capacity for falling in love and starting romantic relationships. Note that not all enter and exit adolescence exactly at the same age or go through behaviours on the same stepping stones.

Ideally, the only real way for each one of us to understand this march that seems to happen so quickly from Birth to Adolescence is to examine more closely each phase from Birth onwards.

So far; the writer has given the reader a very broad picture of the processes involved. However, to better understand these phases; demands a closer look. At; from childhood’s physiological, emotional and social developmental stages (yes these happen to babies), to early, later and late children and where do some kids begin puberty while others appear not to as yet.

The very first stage is the breakdown of by age the various developmental stages, and thus the Reader will start from ‘INFANCY’ and what generally to expect to identify and recognise in a ‘normal’ and healthy baby.


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