Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan


People’s needs, abilities, and relationships evolve throughout life in familiar patterns. While each person is unique, there are common experiences and themes associated with different stages of life. This is true whether a person has intellectual or developmental disabilities or not. People with I/DD may meet some developmental milestones “on time,” later than average, or not at all. Milestones are important, but they don’t tell us the whole story of human development. This course provides an overview of human development across the life span. How does the presence of intellectual and developmental disabilities shape a person’s growth through life? What factors influence how a person develops? No matter what the extent of a person’s disability, individuals tend to do better when you provide supports that are relevant to and appropriate for their current phase of life.


Hours: 1.50


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals


This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-IDD-0-HGDIIDD
Hours: 1.5
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 2/28/2021
Learning Objectives:
Recognize the basic stages of growth and development that are experienced across the life span.
Identify some challenges commonly faced by people during different life stages and how these might be experienced by a person with I/DD.
Provide age-appropriate interactions, challenges, and opportunities to the people you support based on an understanding of human development.

Section 1: Introduction
A. About This Course
B. Learning Objectives
Section 2: Human Development 101
A. Human Development
B. Child Development
C. Phases of Development
D. Meet Barney
E. Meet Anastasia
F. Generations
G. Summary
Section 3: Infancy to Adolescence
A. Stage 1: Infancy
B. Milestones
C. Potential Challenges
D. Stage 2: Toddler Years
E. Supporting Independence
F. Stage 3: Preschool Years
G. Potential Challenges
H. Review
I. Stage 4: Grade School Years
J. Barney’s School Experience
K. Anastasia in Middle School
L. Potential Challenges
M. Stage 5: Adolescence
N. Rites of Passage
O. Physical Growth
P. Sexual Development and I/DD
Q. Barney Falls in Love
R. Potential Challenges
S. Summary
Section 4: Early and Middle Adulthood & Maturity
A. Introduction
B. Stage 6: Early Adulthood
C. Barney’s Job
D. Anastasia’s Higher Education
E. Education
F. Intimacy
G. Stage 7: Middle Adulthood (30s-50s)
H. Anastasia’s Independence
I. Potential Challenges
J. Independent Living
K. Money
L. An Unexpected Pregnancy
M. Starting a Family
N. Aging Parents
O. The Death of Barney’s Father
P. Stage 8: Maturity (60s and older)
Q. Retirement
R. Potential Challenges
S. Age-Related Changes
T. Be Flexible
U. Death Education
V. Barney’s Health Fails
W. End of Life Planning
X. A Good Death
Y. What About Anastasia?
Z. Summary
Section 5: Conclusion
A. Differences and Similarities
B. Turn, Turn, Turn
C. Course Summary
D. Course Contributor
E. References
F. Resources
G. Congratulations!

Expert Reviewer: Shannon Hill, PhD., BCBA-D
Shannon Hill is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Over the past 25 years, she has provided support to children and adults as a direct support professional, vocational educator, behavior therapist, and counselor. She has also worked as a researcher, trainer, administrator, and consultant.  Disclosure: Shannon Hill, PhD., BCBA-D has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry and intermediate level Direct Support Professionals; in the following settings: Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.
Relias Learning will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Relias Learning has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias Learning will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias Learning at
All courses offered by Relias Learning, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous Distance Learning with interactivity which includes quizzes with questions/answers, and posttests.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support by calling (800) 381-2321 or emailing