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Different Childhoods

Developmental psychology as a discipline is interested in understanding development through time. In doing so, it has traditionally made assumptions about the child and about development. The traditional view of development is conceptualised as a universal process involving a series of incremental steps, which progress to increasingly sophisticated developmental skills and ability through time.

This entry explores how traditional developmental psychology has addressed development as a series of processes which are assumed to apply to all children (although recognising that this will be to varying degrees depending on the individual child). This proposition of universal developmental trajectory positions some children as developing ‘normally’ and views others as developing differently. Critical developmental psychology, and related disciplines, has argued that the proposition of universal developmental skills and trajectory ...

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