Erikson’s Stages: Identity Crisis or Identity Celebration?

by | Sep 8, 2023

Ahoy, adventurous SENCOs! Brace yourselves for a voyage into the captivating waters of Erikson’s psychosocial stages. We’re not just diving into stages; we’re delving into the psyche and emotions of our students. With a sprinkle of humour and a dash of insight, let’s explore how Erikson’s stages can guide us through the dance of identity formation in the special education realm.


Unveiling Erikson’s Stages


Imagine you’re in a grand theatre, and on the stage, you witness a series of characters evolving through various life challenges. Each character is a reflection of one of Erikson’s eight psychosocial stages, a roadmap that navigates the journey from infancy to old age. Erikson believed that at each stage, we face a crisis that needs resolution.


For instance, during the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage (adolescence), teens are like actors rehearsing for their coming-of-age play. They’re grappling with questions like “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?” Now, imagine our special education students entering this stage with their unique challenges. The script might be different, but the quest for identity is equally profound.


Celebrating Identity in Special Education


Let’s infuse Erikson’s stages with a splash of special education magic. Picture a student with a learning difference navigating the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. This is where you, the SENCO, step onto the stage as the director. Your role isn’t just to guide; it’s to empower. By providing a safe space for self-discovery, you’re helping them navigate the identity dance with grace and confidence.


Imagine a student who’s in the Intimacy vs. Isolation stage (early adulthood). In the realm of special education, this could involve forming close relationships and embracing their unique abilities. You are the choreographer here. By fostering an environment of acceptance, you’re teaching them the steps to lasting connections, celebrating the beauty of every individual.


Key Takeaway:


Erikson’s stages aren’t just psychological milestones; they’re your backstage pass to the intricate world of identity formation. As you guide your students through these stages, remember that their journeys might be unconventional, but their pursuit of identity is just as significant. Celebrate each step they take towards self-discovery, and know that you’re not just guiding them through challenges – you’re orchestrating a symphony of identity celebration.

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