Identification and Diagnosis
An ecological view of the development of children emphasizes the relationship between characteristics of the child and the specific environment in which the child develops. A difficult child may do well with a sensitive and competent teacher. A mentally retarded adult who can succeed in an appropriate community setting may be unhappy and unproductive in another. A hearing-impaired youngster may succeed in one peer group but may be persecuted in another. Successful adaptation, in other words, is described in terms of the person's characteristics and the nature of the environment.
The central purpose of this chapter is to outline ways in which characteristics of children and environments are described. General concepts of normal and abnormal adaptation are reviewed, and typical steps in identification and referral of children with handicaps are described. Then, factors affecting identification are set forth, general principles of psychological measurement are reviewed, and the chapter closes with a section on types of description. Throughout, the chapter emphasizes that outcome depends on both individual and environmental characteristics.
Previously, we have seen how the concept of adaptation developed through evolutionary and educational theories in the 19th century. The idea that the