MPG Consulting Presents:
Culturally and Racially Attuned CEU Credits
For Individuals and Organizations

Course Title: nderstanding the Adolescent: Typical and Atypical Development

Name and Qualifications of the Presenter:

Adwoa Akhu, Ph.D., is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist who has worked in various mental health and higher education institutions as direct practitioner, supervisor, and program/clinic director. She is the author of several books on domestic violence and stress management. Dr. Akhu maintains a private practice of psychotherapy and clinical supervision for social work and psychology students and professionals.

Throughout her career Dr. Akhu has also developed and taught professional development courses and workshops for social workers, psychologists, educators and others in the areas of adolescent development, adoption and foster care, domestic violence, suicide prevention, mental illness, and stress management.

Course Description

This two-session one week apart (six hour) course will assist participants in understanding the physical, mental, and psychosocial transition between childhood and adulthood. In addition, the course will address how typical adolescent development can be thrown off track by physical and environmental circumstances such as gestational drug exposure and childhood trauma.

Participants will be expected to actively engage in exercises, to discuss reading assignments, and share personal experiences, insights and challenges relating to work with adolescent clients.

Course provides 6 contact hours.
Location: YWCA, 500 West 56th St. Ground Floor, New York, NY 10019
Dates and times: Mon 11/9/15 9-11 a.m., Mon 11/16/15 9-11 a.m.

Course Outline

Class 1Description
Topic AreaTypical Adolescent Development
Pre-AssessmentParticipant’s understanding of adolescent behavior
  • Participants will understand basic developmental changes typical adolescents experience in the following areas: physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral.
  • Participants will have increased empathy for the challenges of the adolescent through awareness of their own struggles during adolescents.
  • Participants will understand how race, class and culture are related to adolescent development
  • Participants will be able to discus at least three challenges faced by typical adolescents.
  • Participants will be able to discuss how development in at least three separate areas influences and interacts with development in other areas.
  • Participants will understand the range of individual differences of all adolescents and be able to discus at least three implications of these difference on their work with this population
  • Participants will be able to discus at least three ways in which race, class and culture are related to adolescent development
Teaching Points
  • Rapid physical changes occur during adolescents including the development of secondary sex characteristics.
  • Intellectual development includes
    • Developing advanced reasoning skills
    • Developing abstract thinking skills
  • Psycho-Social Development includes
    • Achieve a new level of closeness and trust with peers
    • Acquiring a new status in the family and push for greater autonomy in the family and the outside world
    • Establish a personal identity
  • Moral development includes
    • Integrating parental and societal concepts of right and wrong into a personal code of ethics.
  • Early biological trauma includes:
    • Gestational exposure to drugs, Birth trauma, Poor early nutrition
  • Negative environmental factors include:
    • Abuse, Neglect, Poverty
  • Additional factors that can effect development:
    • Adoption, Divorce
  • Exploration of how these various challenges can interfere with the typical course of adolescent development
Class 2Description
Topic AreaAtypical Development
  • Participants will understand how a variety of early environmental factors can interfere with the course of adolescent development
  • Participants will understand how to better relate to the atypical adolescent
  • Participants will be able to list at least four ways in which early biological trauma has an impact on the typical course of adolescent physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development
  • Participants will be able to discuss at least three ways negative environmental factors can interfere with the typical course of social, intellectual, and moral development
  • Participants will be able to label at least four indicators that a person is experiencing atypical development
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two ways they can support families in cases in which there is atypical adolescent development
Teaching Points
  • Exploration of signs and symptoms of atypical development
  • Issues of race, class and culture in atypical development
  • Examination of mediating factors that can help development stay on track despite biological or environmental challenges
  • Exploration of how attendees interact with adolescents and suggestions for more constructive ways to reach goals.
Post-AssessmentParticipant’s understanding of adolescent development

Resource List

Developing Adolescents: A Reference for Professionals, 2002 by the American Psychological Association (

Our Song (2000) Staring: Kerry Washington, Anna Simpson, and Melissa Martinez. This film focuses on the bond between three adolescent females. (

Jonetta Rose Barras (2000) Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl?: The impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women.

Dear Daddy (2011) Directed by Janks Morton. Dear Daddy is a feature length documentary about the life long effects of fatherlessness on women. The film follows the dramatic journeys of eight young women from the tough city streets of Washington, DC as they struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt… the absence of their fathers. YouTube preview:

To sign up for this course, click here.

Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP
President & CEO

Midtown Manhattan Location