Meaning of Development:
Development is a series of changes that occur in an organism during the process of growth, while an individual is growing, other changes are also taking place in their body. These changes are signs of development. Growth and development occur together, one cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.
These can be defined as the transition from one stage of life to another, for example, infancy, juvenile, adolescence, adulthood, and senescence. The characteristic features of each developmental stage are discussed below:
Characteristic Features of Stages of Development:
1. Infancy: This is the period immediately after birth until about the age of two. It is a period of rapid growth.
2. Juvenile: This is the period between infancy and adolescence. It is a period of slow growth starting from two to nine years of age.
3. Adolescence: This is the stage when sexual maturity is attained. It is a period of rapid growth and occurs between nine to sixteen years of age. The changes that accompany this stage are:
- Development of secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hairs, moustache, broken voice in boys, breast and enlarged buttocks in girls, pubic hair in both boys and girls.
- Rapid increase in height and weight.
- Very active bodies.
- Well formed reproductive system.
4. Adulthood: This is the stage of full maturity. It is characterized by slow and limited growth but there could be changes in weight and size.
5. Senescence: This is the condition or process of deterioration with age. This is a period of negative growth characterized by loss of weight.