Responding to Ivanova Smith's Sept 9, 2017, NOS magazine article, Nora Baladerian wrote against identifying developmental age (here,)
Although my previous opposing comments had been censored by the magazine, since having learned that the administrator had been replaced, I decided to try again. At this point my "comment is awaiting moderation". In the meantime, while we wait to see if it sees light on NOS' comment page, Here's what I wrote:
Specifically regarding Dr. Baladerian’s assertion that “the appellation itself is demeaning.” I have never heard it used as an appellation. I suggest, however, that its use is only demeaning when to demean is the intention behind its use. Other times, it is a valuable asset in knowing how to address the person’s feeling state and current functional capacity in order to honor him or her without judgement, especially without judgement that says, "You should act older than you feel or you should be able to do more than you can.” I have found in my own work with individuals that each developmental building block provides an important, if not critical platform from which the next phase of development can be launched. Correcting deficits in development strengthens the internal foundation of the individual for learning. Such correction requires skill on the part of the therapist in identifying developmental age and the willingness on the part of the individual to embrace it without shame or other prejudice. I worry that experts who decry identification of developmental age as “demeaning, denigrating of humanity,” “undignified,” and “incorrect” tragically, if innocently, are contributing to the shame that some individuals feel when such identification is made.