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Child Development (AO1)

Free essay example:

A level Coursework

Case Study

Jayden lives in a nuclear family, with his mother, father and two younger siblings. He is 8 years old and is now in year 3 of his junior school. He was born on the 11th December 1998 in Hillingdon Hospital, and his due date was the 29th December. This indicates that he was 2 weeks and 4 days premature. During the birth of Jayden, his mother was going to have a normal labour. However, Jayden became very distressed and his heartbeat was dropping rapidly. Therefore, the mother had to have an emergency caesarean.

When he was born, he had jaundice. This meant that Jayden’s skin was very yellow, which could have affected his liver. However once he was born, they put him under a light for two to three hours and injected him with Vitamin K to solve the problem.

His birth weight was 5lb 4oz, which was very small compared to the average birth weight between 6 to 9lb. He also had a head circumference of 33cm, which was below average of 35cm. Lastly; Jayden’s length was 45cm, which was also below the average length of 48 to 50cm.

Gradually over the first few weeks of Jayden’s birth, his height started increasing; at 3 weeks his height was 49cm and at 5 weeks it increased to 52cm. He was breast fed for the first 2-3 months of his birth, which may have helped his growth and development. As a baby, Jayden would whine and cry a lot, he was also quite slow at developing his speech. He would babble a lot and try to say words but could not clearly say many words. He only started talking properly at the age of 2.

From the age of 2 years, his developmental skills improved quite dramatically. This was because at 2 years his parents sent him to a Private Montessori Nursery. The nursery definitely had great affect on Jayden’s development. He started eating a greater variety of foods (as before he wouldn’t eat a range of different foods). He stopped whining and crying, he was potty trained, and above all, his speech developed significantly. Due to Jayden’s parents being unable to fund his education at private nursery anymore, Jayden was forced to stop attending at the age of 3½.

Once he had started attending primary school, his skills developed more. He was a quick learner at school and he was particularly good at maths. However, the teachers did start noticing a problem with Jayden’s memory, concentration and speech. He found it difficult to remember certain instructions and to concentrate in class; this was identified as a memory and concentration with language retention problem. For example, if the teacher asked Jayden to pick up a blue, red and two green pencils, he would come back with the wrong pencils. This problem could have a link to Jayden’s premature birth and his mother having a caesarean. This wasn’t a major problem; it just meant that he was a little slower at certain things than others in his class and needed extra help with this. Therefore he had a speech therapist that would do certain activities with Jayden during school time to improve his ability. His memory and concentration started improving within a year from the help of the therapist and his parents. His language development was slow at first but later that too improved. His parents started taking him to college once a week after school, this was for extra help with his education.

He is now in year 3 and is coping very well in school, maths still being his strongest and most favourite subject. He still sees the speech therapist occasionally, to make sure he is coping ok. This is just for a safety precaution to make sure the problem does not occur again. Jayden is very fortunate to have his family’s love and support throughout his education and general well being. He has always been equipped with the best toys and resources to improve his development and skills, which has had an affect to his progress in school. Physically also, he is an average height for his age and is very active in sports. He is the fastest runner in his school and loves sports day. Out of school he used to attend swimming classes. Now that his classes have stopped, he occasionally goes swimming with his family and enjoys it.

Introduction

Development is what happens to every individual at every stage of his or her lives. Developing something means to learn different skills, physical aspects, etc and involves gaining control of the body.  For example, a baby will develop physically because it is still going to grow, which means the body will still be changing. Another example is if an older person is learning a new skill, like how to use a computer. That person’s computer skills are developing as he/she is learning a new skill and is gaining control over it physically and mentally. When you are developing, you are learning and growing into a better person than what you are now. You begin to understand more than what you already know. This means your body is changing and has to retain a lot more information every time you develop.  

Therefore, a developmental milestone is what the average child does at each stage of their development. It is a basic functional skill or age specific task that most children develop at a certain age range. When the baby is new born, for the first few years of the baby’s life, he or she visits a paediatrician for regular check ups. The paediatrician checks how the baby is developing using milestones. Although there is a specific age for when the child is expected to meet each milestone, this is not always the case. Every child is unique and therefore each child develops and reaches its milestones at different ages. The level of age that a child should reach each milestone is just an average estimate. There could be a number of different reasons as to why a child is not reaching the milestones are the expected ages, some of these reasons could include:

  • Genetic factors – a child inheriting the parents genes,
  • Parent involvement – the amount of time the parents have for their children, to encourage their childrens development,
  • Health implications,
  • Environmental factors – the quality of the child’s home and area.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

(http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/devmile.htm)

Growth is different to development. Growth is being able to grow into a bigger person. ‘It involves changing in size through gaining height and weight.’ (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – page 155). The growth process not only involves a child’s height and weight, it also involves the growth of their teeth, when a child gains teeth, they then fall out and gain new teeth. For a teenager it involves starting puberty and for any person it involves the growth of hair and nails. All these different growth processes occur as the body matures. Although growth and development have different meanings, they are closely linked. They usually follow the same pattern, although sometimes this is not the case. For example, if there is something wrong with the child or they have a disability, this could be because they are still growing but not developing.

(http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/childs_growth.html)

There are different factors that could influence a child’s growth and some of these include:

  • Genetic factors – inheriting the parents genes
  • Environmental factors – e.g. living in cramped spaces could lead to poor growth.
  • Financial factors – e.g. the child’s parents may not be able to afford new shoes for their child, therefore if the child continues to wear the same small shoes, their feet will not grow properly.
  • Emotional factors – e.g. if the child is emotionally stressed and upset, they may not eat very well or lack sleep, preventing them to grow.
  • Intellectual factors – e.g. the child not having the knowledge to know what is a healthy diet. Therefore, if the child eats a lot of junk food instead of fresh foods it could prevent a healthy growth.
  • Physical factors – e.g. having a problem or condition, which affects a child’s growth.

Growth and development is very important, especially throughout a child’s childhood. This is because at these early stages of their lives, they develop and learn the most. It is important for a child to have the right foundation of growth and development in the early stages of their lives for them to increase their growth and development throughout the rest of their lives. Good development enables a child to increase their skills and knowledge, which will help them throughout their lives. For example, when they are looking for a job they will be equipped with a good development of knowledge and intellectual skills, which will result to a better job. Another example is if when a child attends school, they will be able to learn and develop quickly which will result to better grades. Good growth on the other hand, enables a child to have a healthy weight, height and an overall healthy body. Good growth also helps a child’s development.

Physical growth and size

Physical growth occurs from 0 to 18 years. This is from the time the baby is born to the time the baby matures. The child will grow according to the individual child and the different parts of its body; this also depends on the rate that the child will grow at throughout the years. The child may experience a ‘growth spurt’, which is when the body tends to grow at a much faster pace than the child’s usual growth rate. Parts of the body also grow quicker than other parts at different times. For example, usually a baby’s head is larger than the rest of the body when born. As the baby grows, the head becomes smaller in proportion to the rest of the body parts.

Health professionals monitor babies’ growth using a chart called the ‘Centile Chart’. Midwives and health visitors usually measure and weigh babies and children and then plot the measurements on the centile chart. A centile chart is used to measure babies and childrens’ height and weight and compare it to the average height and weight. This is to check if they are growing at a normal rate. If they are not, then it could be because of health implications, which is then assessed by the GP. A centile chart is quite similar to the developmental milestones, as they both measure babies and children according to the average measurements. The height and weight of a child is usually recorded on two separate centile charts. There is also a separate centile chart for both boys and girls. This is because boys are usually taller and weigh more than girls, so the average height and weight will be different for both genders.  

The chart has three lines marked on it and they are known as the 98th centile, the 50th centile and the 2nd centile. For the 98th centile it would be labelled as ‘98’ and this will show the children who are taller or heavier than the average child. The 50th centile would be labelled as ‘50’ and this shows the average height and weight of the child. Therefore, the 2nd centile would be labelled as ‘2’ and this shows the children who are shorter or lighter than the average child. Only 3% of children are expected to be above or below the 98th or 2nd centile.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

Here is a centile chart that I have completed for my case study, Jayden:

image00.png

The template for this centile chart was from:

(http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/growthcharts/boystwoyears.gif)

It is a centile chart for boys and it is between the ages of 2-20 years old. However, because my case study is only 8 years old, I have plotted the markings up to the age of 8. The first part of the chart shows the height and the second part shows the weight of Jayden compared to the average. As you can see, Jayden’s height and weight is below average. Although if you look closely, you can see that he is not far off being the average height and weight. You can also see that Jayden’s growth spurt was between the ages of 4 to 6 from both his height and weight. This could have been because this was when he started to eat a more variety of foods, which enabled him to grow and develop much better, through height and weight.

Physical Development

Physical development is when the child starts gaining control of their movements and learning skills, these are developed with age. Physical development is when the muscle strength increases in a child. They learn to sit up by themselves, and then they learn how to crawl and eventually how to walk. This is all to do with the physical development of a child’s muscles. However, physical development also includes the maturity of the central nervous system. This means that children are more tolerant to pain as they grow older, due to the toleration levels of their central nervous system. For example, if a child is dropped at 3 months old, the amount of pain inflicted on the child would be substantially high, where as if a child at 3 years was dropped the amount of pain inflicted would be noticeably lower due to the developmental progression of the nervous system. Physical development can be divided into three main categories, these are:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Sensory skills

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills are the reflexes in a child’s body. This consists of using the larger muscles in the legs, arms, torso and feet to control their body and larger movements. When a baby is born their physical movements consist of unintentional movements known as reflexes. These reflexes help babies to survive, as they have no control over their bodies or their movements at first. Once the baby gains control over it’s body and movements, these reflexes go. This type of reflex is known as ‘primitive reflexes’. For example, anything placed in a baby’s mouth will automatically be assumed as a breast or teat. Therefore, the baby will automatically start sucking as they think they are getting fed. This is a primitive reflex, which disappears once the baby is 6 months old.

AO1/AO2

Here are the developmental milestones for my case study Jayden. The table below shows the norms of physical development: gross motor skills, compared to the age Jayden actually met the milestones:

Gross Motor Skills

General age milestone is met

Age Jayden met the milestones

Stepping reflex but loses this after six weeks

Newborn

Newborn

Rolls in a ball when sat up

Newborn

Newborn

Lies on tummy with head on one side and knees drawn up underneath

Newborn

Newborn

Can lift head when lying on front

3 months

3 months

Can turn head from side to side when lying on front

3 months

4 months

Kicks legs strongly

3 months

4 months

Can hold larger objects, e.g. rattle

3 months

3 months

Lifts head and chest above floor

6 months

6 months

Can sit for long periods supported by a chair, pram or cushions

6 months

7 months

Can sometimes roll from back to front

6 months

6 months

Pulls into standing position using furniture to hold on to

9 months

10 months

Walk sideways around furniture

9 months

11 months

Can sit unsupported for longer periods of time

9 months

9 months

Crawls very quickly

1 year

1 year

Walking holding one hand or push along toys

1 year

1 year

Crawls upstairs and forwards

1 year

1 year

Crawls downstairs backwards

1 year

15 months

Able to walk without support but swings arms to keep balance

15 months

15 months

Can crawl downstairs on bottom, feet first

15 months

13 months

Throws a ball

15 months

15 months

Can walk with confidence

18 months

18 months

Can sit on 'haunches' (squat) without falling over

18 months

20 months

Can walk up and down stairs with support

18 months

19 months

Runs but is unsteady

18 months

18 months

Can walk up and down stairs without support two feet to a step

2 years

2 years

Able to kick a ball

2 years

2 years

Runs without falling over

2 years

2 years and 2 months

Can balance on tip toes

3 years

3 years and 6 months

Can throw a ball

3 years

3 years

Can walk upstairs properly one foot to each stair

3 years

4 years

Comes down stairs with two feet on each stair

3 years

4 years

Has a good sense of balance

4 years

4 years

Can stand, walk and run on tiptoe

4 years

4 years

Can catch, kick, throw and bounce a ball

4 years

4 years

Can ride a tricycle with skill and make sharp turns

4 years

Has not ridden a tricycle yet

Can stand on one foot for about 10 seconds

5 years

5 years

May ride a two-wheeled bicycle with stabilisers

5 years

5 years and 6 months

Shows good co-ordination

5 years

5 years and 3 months

Can jump off apparatus with confidence

6 years

6 years and 1 month

Can run and jump

6 years

6 years and 1 month

Can catch and throw a ball accurately

6 years

7 years

Can hop on either leg

7-8 years

7 years

Can balance and walk in a thin line

7-8 years

8 years

May be expert at riding a two-wheeled bicycle

7-8 years

8 years

Able to use roller skates

7-8 years

Never used roller skates

Can control their speed when running

7-8 years

8 years

Template from: (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – pages 165-166)

Generally, Jayden’s gross motor skills were developed very late. Sometimes it took him a whole year to learn certain skills. I think this could have been because of his parents not encouraging him enough to attempt certain activities by himself. Instead they helped him, which slowed down his development. Between the ages of 3 to 4 especially, you can see his development being very slow.

Some children are slow at developing gross motor skills, this is not a major problem, although it shows that Jayden was probably not supported enough to attempt skills by himself. This slow development could have also been because he was premature. Another factor causing his slow development could have been because he was very clingy towards his parents (shown from his social and emotional development).  This shows that he was probably not confident enough to develop skills, such as climbing the stairs, as he felt safer being close to his parents.  

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills is another reflex movement but involves grasping. To enable smaller movements and manipulation, this reflex involves using smaller muscles of the fingers, thumbs, toes, wrists, lips and tongue. For example, a baby will first start to curl their hands when born, therefore, if an object was placed in their hands, they would try to hold onto the object by curling their hands. This reflex disappears after 3 months.

A ‘pincer’ grip is when a baby can hold an object between their thumb and index finger. Pincer grasp is usually developed at the age of 1.

A child usually performs gross motors skills before they perform fine motor skills. This is because a baby finds it easier to develop their larger muscles before they develop their smaller muscles and movements. For example, a baby will learn to wave their legs and arms around first, before wiggling their fingers and toes. This is because gross motor skills involve controlling the body; the baby needs to know how to control the body before it can perform smaller movements and manipulations.

Gross and fine motor skills are very similar however, as many activities depend on the co-ordination of both motor skills. For example, being able to pick up a ball that is placed on the floor – the child needs to be able to pick up the ball with its fingers (pincer gripping - fine motor skills) and move the ball off the floor with its arms (gross motor skills).

Although they work together most of the time, there is a difference to what each skill performs. Gross motor skills are the larger muscle movements and fine motor skills are the smaller muscle movements. They are both reflexes but involve different parts of the body. For a baby to develop properly, he or she needs to develop both skills well, as one skill performed without the other would make it extremely hard for the baby to physically develop to its full potential.

AO1/AO2

The table below shows the norms of physical development: fine motor skills, compared to the age Jayden actually met the milestones:

Fine Motor Skills

General age milestone is met

Age Jayden met the milestones

Has a grasp reflex which disappears after a few weeks

Newborn

Newborn

Hands are kept closed in a fist most of the time

Newborn

Newborn

Hands are help open

3 months

3 months

Looks at hands

3 months

3 months

Play with fingers

3 months

4 months

Able to grasp an object without it being placed in the hand

6 months

7 months

Grasp toys with whole hand (palmer grasp)

6 months

7 months

Turns objects over

6 months

7 months

Puts objects into the mouth

6 months

6 months

Deliberately drops things on the floor

9 months

9 months

Picks objects up with index finger and thumb (pincer grasp) with difficulty

9 months

9 months

Uses pincer grasp easily to pick up small objects

1 year

1 year

Points to objects wanted using index finger

1 year

1 year

Throws things on purpose

1 year

1 year and 2 months

Claps hands

15 months

16 months

Can place one block on top of another

15 months

15 months

Grasps crayons with whole hand and makes marks on paper

15 months

16 months

Holds a spoon but often misses mouth

15 months

17 months

Can turn the pages of a book several at a time

18 months

18 months

Can put large beads on a string

18 months

Never did

Uses pincer grasp with confidence

18 months

20 months

Can take shoes off but not put them on

18 months

19 months

Can turn pages of a book one at a time

2 years

2 years and 3 months

Can put shoes on

2 years

3 years

Able to draw simple pictures

2 years

2 years and 6 months

Can undo a zip

2 years

2 years

Holds small crayons properly

3 years

2 years and 6 months

Eat with spoon without dropping food

3 years

3 years and 4 months

Able to dress but needs help with buttons

3 years

3 years

Can hold and use a pencil in an adult manner

4 years

4 years and 4 months

Eats with a spoon and fork

4 years

4 years and 5 months

Can put together large pieces of jigsaw puzzles

4 years

4 years

Has good control over pencils and paintbrushes

5 years

5 years

Can do jig saws with smaller pieces

5 years

5 years and 2 months

Can dress and undress with little help

5 years

5 years and 6 months

Able to write numbers and letters that are equal sizes

6 years

6 years

Can write their last name as well as their first name

6 years

6 years and 6 months

Can tie shoe laces

6 years

7 years

Is competent with their writing skills

7-8 years

8 years

Draw people with heads, bodies, hands, hair, fingers and clothes

7-8 years

7 years

Can use large needle to sew with thread

7-8 years

Never did

Template from: (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – pages 163-164)

As you can see, Jayden developed his fine motor skills rather late, compared to the expected norms. I think this is because he was not good with pincer grasping objects.

He has never put large beads on a string or used a large needle to sew with thread. Therefore, another reason for his slow develop could be because his parents did not try to teach him enough fine motor skills. They probably did not try to encourage him enough to attempt certain activities by himself. Instead they probably helped him, which slowed down his development.

Sensory Development

Sensory development consists of using our senses, which are sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, as shown below:

image01.png

(http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/Ric/classpages/bsensespm/Senses1.GIF)

Senses are the physical processes of our nervous system. The nervous system has a sensory system dedicated to each sense (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense). For example, breastfed babies can sense the smell of their mothers’ breast compared to other women’s breast. This shows that the baby can use its smell sense to distinguish different smells. Therefore, the baby is developing its sense of smell. This will develop as they grow older, for example, when the baby is 5 years old, their sense of smell would have fully developed to an adults level.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

Intellectual Development

Intellectual development is the development of the mind. A child’s mind is very active from birth. As children develop their mind to think, learn, reason and explain, their intellectual development progresses. For example, at 3 months old a baby likes to explore different textures, like on a play gym or an activity mat. By the time the child is 2 years old, they have developed different textures in their mind and are now able to match different textures.

Children learn intellectually through different ways, some of them being:

  • Using their senses
  • Exploring
  • Imitating/role play
  • Curiosity
  • Experiments
  • Observing
  • Experiences
  • Making mistakes
  • Activities
  • Playing

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – page 168)

There are some factors such as family history that can affect intellectual development. This is because a baby’s development can be affected by inheriting genes from its parents. The inheritance could be from a family’s history of late developers. Another factor that can affect a child’s intellectual development could be encouragement from the parents to help learn and develop their child’s mind. It could also be the environment that the child lives in; if the child’s environment is cramped, this could mean that there is not a lot of space for the child to play and do certain activities that would develop his or hers skills. This could also lead to financial factors, the parents of the child not having enough money to facilitate learning aids to help their child’s development.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

AO1/AO2

The table below shows the norms of intellectual development; compared to the age Jayden actually met the milestones:

Intellectual Skills

General age milestone is met

Age Jayden met the milestones

Aware of feeling of hunger and responds by crying

Newborn

Newborn

Copy adults who open their mouth or stick their tongue out

Newborn

1 month

Respond to brightly coloured or shiny objects

Newborn

Newborn

Uses mouth and touch to explore

3 months

3 months

Smiles in response to speech

3 months

3 months

Look around to explore their surroundings

3 months

3 months

Makes noises to voice displeasure or satisfaction

6 months

6 months

Puts things in his mouth to explore

6 months

6 months

Understands the meaning of 'no'

9 months

9 months

Focuses eyes on small objects and reaches for them

9 months

10 months

Recognises familiar pictures

9 months

10 months

Babbles expressively as if talking

9 months

10 months

Plays 'peek-a-boo'

1 year

1 year

Enjoy looking at picture books

1 year

1 year

Watches and copies actions of others, e.g. 'clap hands'

1 year

1 year and 2 months

Can point to parts of the body

18 months

18 months

Can take things out of a container one by one

18 months

18 months

Refer to themselves by name

18 months

18 months

Learns by trial and error

 2 years

2 years 

Able to put together a 3-piece puzzle

2 years

2 years

Know their full name

2 years

2 years

Interested in pretend play, through using everyday objects, e.g. a remote control as a car

2 years

2 years

Listens attentively to short stories and books

3 years

3 years

Able to put together a 6-piece puzzle

3 years

3 years

Can count up to 10

3 years

3 years and 6 months

Knows his age

3 years

3 years and 4 months

Can copy a circle

3 years

3 years

Asks questions constantly

4 years

4 years and 5 months

Knowledge increased

4 years

4 years

Drawings become more detailed

4 years

4 years

Use writing to communicate

4 years

4 years

Understand 'more', 'less' and 'same'

5 years

5 years

Can recognise own name and write it

5 years

5 years and 5 months

Respond to books and enjoy stories

5 years

5 years

Understand past, present, and future

5 years

5 years

Understands the days of the week

6 years

6 years and 6 months

Increasing interest in why things happen

6 years

6 years

Concentration improving

6 years

6 years and 6 months

Has good problem solving ability

6 years

6 years

Can perform simple calculations involving addition and subtraction

7-8 years

7 years

May be able to tell the time from a clock or watch

7-8 years

8 years

Developing an ability to reason - knows that something may happen because of certain action

7-8 years

7 years and 6 months

Template from: (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – pages 169-170)

Jayden’s overall intellectual skills have developed really well. He has reached the right age for each milestone, although between the ages of 3 to 6 years old, he would seem to develop these skills a few months later than his age. I think this is due to him having problems with his retention at school, which was noticed by one of the teachers. This is mentioned in more detail in AO2. This could have caused Jayden to be slightly slower intellectually. However, as he started attending speech therapy in school to help his retention, he started to develop his skills properly again.  

Cognitive development

Cognitive simply means thinking. Cognitive development is similar to intellectual development as it is the development of the mind, however it is the development of the mind through thinking and learning skills. This enables a child to understand the environment around them. The keys to successful cognitive development are:

  • Concepts – Children need to learn different concepts. The child has to see and experience things to develop a range of concepts. An adult providing activities, equipment and support can also develop these concepts.
  • Problem solving skills – A child learns how to solve problems through trial and error, identifying there is a problem that needs solving, working out a solution and predicting what might happen. This is also linked to the child’s ability to reason. They begin to understand that their actions will produce results such as; pushing a button on a toy will produce a result by making a noise.
  • Creativity – this gives a child the ability to use their imagination to express their ideas. This can be done through painting pictures, making collages, dancing and making music, etc.
  • Imagination – this is when a child sees things that do not exist or are not in front of them. Children imagine images in their head to play pretend games, make up stories or talk to an imaginary friend. This gives them comfort in knowing there is someone there with them.
  • Memory – a child storing and retrieving information, ideas and things that have happened to them, learn this mentally. They remember things that have happened to them in their brain for a short time or depending on the situation, this could be a long-term memory. Sometimes a little release of information can trigger off what they stored as memory in their head.  
  • Object permanence – this describes the awareness of an object to a child. For example, if an object were no longer visible to a baby, they would think that the object no longer exists. Object permanence tries to develop the child’s mind to think that the object still exists although it is not visible to the eye. This is also known as perception. “Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception)
  • Concentration – this is the ability of a child to spend time and pay attention to a task. The child develops the ability to stay focused on a task for longer as they develop, where as at first, they would get distracted and lose concentration a lot quicker.

A theorist called Piaget believes that the stages of cognitive development have an affect on how a child’s thinking is developed throughout their childhood. However, this theory was understood in the late 1980s and since then, childrens stages of cognitive development have increasingly changed due to the child’s age. Nowadays, children develop much quicker than before, although the stages still work in conjunction to the cognitive development of children. (This is explained in more detail in AO3)

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

Language development

Language is how a person speaks and communicates with others, also known as verbal communication. Language development is how children express their needs and share information with others using language. A child’s language is developed depending on how much the child practices speaking. From birth a baby cannot speak, however they use other forms of language to share information. For example, they learn how to cry when they are hungry, this is using language and the baby has developed this skill by knowing that when he or she cries, they will be fed.

Speaking through the mouth does not only develop language, it also involves other physical movements. E.g. face expressions, sign language, writing, etc. It can also involve non-verbal communication such as listening to voices, practising sounds and learning what different sounds mean. Language development can be divided into two stages:

  • Pre-linguistic
  • Linguistic

The pre-linguistic stage occurs between birth and 12 months. At this stage, babies learn to understand what is being said to them and learn the rules of how to communicate. Although they cannot talk at this stage, they learn to communicate to gain attention by crying, smiling and using facial expressions; they may also point to what they want or nod their heads.

The linguistic stage is when babies’ speech starts to develop. Now words can be used to label objects or to share information. The child first starts off with one-word speeches and then later on their language develops into complex sentences.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

AO1/AO2

The table below shows the norms of language development; compared to the age Jayden actually met the milestones:

Language Skills

General age milestone is met

Age Jayden met the milestones

Cries to communicate

Newborn

Newborn

Starts to coo and gurgle when someone is speaking to them

Newborn

Newborn

Eyes and head move towards a sound

Newborn

Newborn

Raises head in response to sounds

3 months

4 months

Learns to control the muscles in lips, tongue and voice box and makes a wider range of sounds

3 months

4 months

Gurgling and babbling occur more often

3 months

4 months

The variety of sounds increases

6 months

6 months

Laughing, chuckling and squealing when playing are common

6 months

7 months

Screams when annoyed

6 months

7 months

Babies begin to copy sounds made to them by adults

9 months

9 months

Can repeat the same word several times, e.g. 'dad-dad'

9 months

10 months

Imitates sounds, e.g. blowing raspberries

9 months

9 months

Babbling sounds more like speech

1 year

2 years

Imitates simple words

1 year

2 years

New words are learned very quickly

2 years

2 years

Starts to use pronouns, e.g. me, I, you

2 years

2 years

At this time questions are asked constantly

2 years

3 years

Vocabulary is large

3 years

3 years

The child often talks non-stop

3 years

3 years

Asks inquisitive questions like Why? Where?, What, How?

3 years

3 years

People who don't know the child can understand what is being said

4 years

4 years

Sentence structure is usually accurate, although errors involving tenses can occur

4 years

4 years and 7 months

Questions are asked constantly

4 years

4 years and 6 months

Child has learned the basics of language and now develops their vocabulary and perfects their use of language

5-8 years

6 years

Mistakes occur rarely and complex sentences are used within added confidence

5-8 years

7 years

Writing and reading develop well

5-8 years

6 years

Child enjoys reading, writing and talking socially by 8 years of age.

5-8 years

8 years

Template from: (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – page 172)

Jayden’s language skills seem to have developed very well according to the expected milestone age. He is only a month under the expected development during the first few stages of his life. I think this is because he was premature, resulting to his development skill progressing once he was born. However, it is not a massive difference to the expected milestone age. Generally, he has reached the milestones very well. This could be because he is from an extended family; having people around him all the time could have helped develop his language.

Emotional Development

Emotional development is how children understand what people are feeling and what they are feeling about themselves through the things they do. Children feel a lot of emotions including fear, excitement, affection, pride, jealousy, sadness and contentment. A child develops emotionally starting from birth. For example, when a baby is feeling lonely they will cry for attention and love. This is how babies express their emotions, through crying, laughing and facial expressions.

When children grow older, they learn to control their emotions. This is another emotional development as they have learnt how to control their feelings, and their brain functions. This is learnt through the later stages of childhood. An example of this would be a child falling over and not wanting to concern others of his or her accident, therefore controlling his or her emotions. This in affect will not only control the child’s emotions, but the child has also developed that it will effect other people’s emotions and is trying to control that too.

Emotional development can affect intellectual and social development. They learn how different emotions can affect others around them. The children learn to understand that being happy is healthier than being sad, as there is a less risk of the child becoming stressed or depressed.

Emotional development can also affect social development by the child understanding that their emotions affect the relationship they have with others. For example, if they love their parents, the parents will care and love the child back. On the other hand, if a child was being rude and arrogant, other children would not want to socialize with him or her, leaving the child feeling emotionally lonely and upset. Children also learn different emotions through social experience.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

Social Development

Socializing is the process of interacting with others. They begin to socialize at first with their primary carer, e.g. parents, carers, etc. The social skills developed from a child are through the child socialising with its primary carers.

A baby’s social development follows a pattern, which is:

  • Interaction with their main carer – this include making eye contact, smiling, showing facial expressions and babbling.
  • Knowing that they are part of a family – they recognise whom their family are through familiar faces that they see all the time. They understand who strangers are by not recognising the faces.
  • Mixing with other people in a group and co-operating – they start to follow instructions, copying and imitating actions, playing with other children and sharing toys or objects with others.

Children are not born with social skills; they have to learn how to develop this through life experiences. Usually it is the primary carers that encourage socialization between their child and others. They help them develop the skills of interacting with others. This is also helped by the physical, social, language and intellectual development, as they all play a big part on how children should socialize with others. These social skills are developed through time; depending on the age of the child, their actions will be different.

(Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006)

The table below shows the norms of social and emotional development; compared to the age Jayden actually met the milestones:

AO1/AO2

Social and Emotional Skills

General age milestone is met

Age Jayden met the milestones

Enjoys feeding, being talked to and having cuddles

Newborn

Newborn

Likes to feel close to mother

Newborn

Newborn

Moves whole body to express enjoyment

Newborn

Newborn

Smiles and coos to express enjoyment

3 months

3 months

Likes to be cuddled

3 months

3 months

Recognises familiar people, smiles at strangers

3 months

3 months

Enjoys playtime and laughs when enjoying activities

6 months

6 months

Wary of strangers, gets upset when mother leaves

6 months

6 months

Recognises other people's emotions, cries and laughs when others do

6 months

6 months

Able to feed self with fingers

6 months

6 months

Can distinguish between family and strangers

9 months

9 months

Expresses fear of strangers by crying

9 months

9 months

Content with own company

9 months

9 months

Enjoys being noisy

9 months

9 months

Dislikes going to bed

9 months

9 months

Shows affection for family

1 year

1 year

Likes to be with people he knows

1 year

1 year

Plays alone

1 year

1 year

Shy towards strangers

1 year

1 year

Learning to feed self

1 year

1 year

Wants to be independent

18 months

18 months

Temper tantrums start

18 months

18 months

May start to be toilet trained

18 months

18 months

May get frustrated easily

18 months

18 months

Able to express their feelings

2 years

2 years and 2 months

Can be very clingy and dependent on carers

2 years

2 years

Keen to try out new activities and likes to help with chores

2 years

2 years

Can show concern for others

3 years

3 years

Gaining confidence

3 years

4 years

Likes to be independent and do things for themselves

3 years

4 years

Shows feelings for younger brothers/sisters

3 years

3 years

Very affectionate towards the people he knows

4 years

4 years

Will share toys

4 years

4 years

Will play on their own for longer periods without adult attention

4 years

5 years

Beginning to dress and undress themselves

4 years

4 years

Likes to be independent and are strong-willed

4 years

5 years

Has definite likes and dislikes

5 years

5 years

Enjoys responsibility, e.g. caring for pets

5 years

5 years

Is more confident

5 years

5 years

Can hold a long conversation with another child or adult

6 years

6 years

Carries out simple tasks around the house

6 years

6 years

Takes responsibility for own possessions

6 years

6 years

Able to keep own thoughts private

7-8 years

7 years

Independent in washing, dressing and toileting

7-8 years

7 years

Forms close friendships, mainly with own sex

7-8 years

7 years

Template from: (Neil Moonie, Et Al, 2006 – pages 181-182)

As you can see, Jayden has very much met the norms for each milestone. However, he did have a lot of problems with being independent and confident, especially around the age of 4. I think this is because of his sibling that passed away when Jayden was a very young age. This is mentioned in more detail in AO2.

Losing someone close to him at a very young age has made him become very close and clingy to his parents. I think this is because he feels they may leave him too and does not want that to happen.  However, his overall emotional and social development is very good and up to the expected age.

        Child Development

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