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Adolescent Development Toolkit

Find new resources each month in the ACT for Youth Update!

Toolkit Overview: Resources for Understanding Adolescent Development

This toolkit presents selected web-based resources that explain and describe adolescent development. Resources include guides, articles, fact sheets, videos, presentations, and websites. These resources were assembled by the Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team, a collaboration of Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York State 4-H Youth Development, and external stakeholders, with two goals in mind: to inform and educate youth work professionals, and to provide material that can be used to educate other community groups and sectors.

Adolescent Development Overview
Resources in this section provide a comprehensive overview of adolescent development. A wide range of material is included, from condensed fact sheets to extensive guides and presentations.

Domains of Development
The resources included in this section focus on specific domains of development. Cognitive Development features adolescent brain development. Under Social and Emotional Development, the focus shifts to the emotional life of adolescents and the challenges involved in regulating emotions. Physical/Sexual Development addresses body changes, puberty, and evolving sexuality. Also see Identity Development, below.

Identity Development
Identity development is a central task of adolescent development. Who am I? How do I fit in? What is my role? These are all key questions adolescents are asking themselves. Important dimensions of identity formation include race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Risk Taking
Resources in this section take a deeper look into adolescent risk taking. Why are adolescents prone to taking risks? What is going on in the brain? What is the relationship between risk and resilience? This section includes videotaped talks by prominent researchers.

Teens and Media
Adolescents are early adapters of new technology. How are teens using new technology and social media? How does it affect them? And how can adults use new technologies to engage adolescents?

Youth Mental Health
This section provides resources for better understanding and supporting youth mental health.

Youth Program Planning
Resources in this section of the toolkit focus on key aspects of program planning and quality: how young people learn, making your program trauma-informed and inclusive, and recruiting and retaining participants. It also includes activities and strategies that you can incorporate into programming, as well as links to evidence-based programs that support adolescent development.

For Parents and Teens
Parents and teens need to know about adolescent development as well. Here are a few reliable, informative websites for parents and reliable, youth-friendly websites for teens.

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