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Special Needs Adolescents and Maturity Are There More Challenges 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 Rubios novel Icy Sparks The novel Icy Sparks chronicles the life of a young girl growing up in rural Kentucky in the 1950s who is afflicted with Tourette syndrome 307 Tourette syndrome TS is described as an inherited tic disorder but it may also be acquired by environmental infectious and psychosocial factors Hendren 22 One researcher in the March 2002 volume of the magazine Current Health offered an easily understood concise definition of TS TS is a disorder of the nervous system It involves a variety of voice and movement tics Different people with the disorder may have different symptoms These change over time and can affect any muscle group in the body People with TS may jerk their head or flail their arms They may clear their throat repeatedly sniff objects grunt or bark A very small number may even curse Abramovitz 26 According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association to be diagnosed with TS a person must have both motor
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