In early childhood, intellectual diversity is one of many variables that affects human development, learning, and performance. Because the first years of life are shaped by many different biological, environmental, and social influences, young children grow and learn at very different rates. This results in a diversity of development unmatched during other periods of their lives. This entry summarizes the primary influences on differences, disabilities, and other variables that result in diversity in children’s growth and development.

Changing Perspectives on Diversity and Differences

Professionals have long recognized that children display vast differences from the earliest ages, and various societies have responded quite differently to these children across the centuries. In his classic work on the history of people with intellectual disabilities, Richard Scheerenberger chronicled the different ways ...

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