Special Needs in Adolescents and Maturity
In recent years there has been a great deal of public concern about adolescents identified as "at risk" of a variety of social ills, such as drug addiction, criminal behavior, teen pregnancy, drunk driving, and dropping out of school. While these risks may be life impairing, if not life-threatening, there is another risk that adolescents face: failing to develop maturity, or the qualities necessary to function as an adult. Psychosocial researchers define maturity as "readiness to assume competently the roles typical for men and women in a modern industrial society" (Inkeles and Leiderman 52). Inkeles and Leiderman propose six qualities associated with maturity: efficacy, perseverance, planfulness, responsibility, individualism, and cooperativeness (52).
Assuming all adolescents must achieve a level of these six characteristics to be mature, the question is raised: are there greater challenges for adolescents with special needs like Icy Sparks in Gwyn Hyman Rubio's novel Icy Sparks? The novel Icy Sparks chronicles the life of a young girl growing up in rural Kentucky in the 1950's who is afflicted with Tourette syndrome (307). …
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