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Child and Adolescent Development

Child and Adolescent Development PSY 104 6/26/2011 Introduction From birth through adolescence, a significant amount of developmental changes occur. Children grow and develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. Each individual aspect of development has an effect on the child as a whole. If a child struggles developmentally in any of the areas (physically, emotionally or cognitively), it can affect one of the other areas of development as well. For example, if a child is underdeveloped physically, they may experience emotional development issues because they may be made fun of and teased by other children.

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For this paper I have chosen to explore two specific age ranges and the developmental changes that occur during these periods. I will analyze the cognitive, psychosocial and physical perspective of age’s birth to two years as well as the age group of eleven to fourteen years old. I will be exploring normal and abnormal child and adolescent development and its relationship to physical development as well for each group. These are two very crucial age ranges for children. Let us begin with the earlier of the two, birth to two years of age. Developmental Changes for Ages 0-2 Years

From birth to two years, many significant changes occur. In this transition from infant to toddler, great deals of cognitive, physical and psychosocial strides are met. During the first year of life, babies learn to recognize their caregiver voices. Although babies can only babble certain things such as “mamma”, “dada”, and “babba”, their language development is increasing much more than that. These infants begin to learn and understand many names of objects and people as well. Vision becomes clearer as babies develop the ability to focus and center on things or people especially.

During this crucial stage, babies form a strong bond with their caregivers. It is very important for parents to be very loving and have a great amount of positive interaction with their children. The very sound of a parents voice alone is comforting to an infant. Positive parenting also includes simple things such as speaking back to a child when they are babbling. Singing to a child is another very soothing act. Playing music for a baby early on can help them acquire not only a passion for music but it a can also help develop math skills.

Snuggling and rocking a baby is a good way to show love and affection as well. It is vital to remember that without this love and attention to a child, they could suffer from long-term issues in life including intimate relationships (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). To break it down more specifically, when a baby is born, up until they are about one month old, they practice their inborn reflexes and even learn how to acquire some control over them such as sucking when a breast or bottle is around. At this early stage in life, infants cannot hold an article or object they are focusing on.

Between one and four months of age, infants begin to reciprocate actions that they find gratifying such as thumb sucking. They begin to be able to accommodate to certain things such as sucking differently for different objects such as nipples, bottles or pacifiers. Between four and eight months, infants become more intrigued by their surroundings. They begin to imitate things that have appealing outcomes. An example of this would be an infant shaking a rattle repeatedly because they enjoy the sound. Although they do not have any set goals, their actions have now become intentional.

At the age of eight to twelve months, certain independence arises. At this age, babies have grasped the concept of reaching goals. If they see something they want, they are able to crawl or scoot to retrieve it. They also begin to be able to predict occurrences. For example, if a baby loves to use a toy that plays music and lights up with the push of a button, they know what will happen when the button is pushed (Papalia, 2008). From the first year to the second, children are increasingly mobile. They now begin to walk if they have not already, and are exploring their surroundings more and more.

During this year, children become more independent and even start to rebel against their parents by being defiant. In this time, toddlers are able to recognize themselves in the mirror as well as in pictures and videos. Setting a good example is important in this stage because children at this age like to copy and mimic everything that is done or said. At this point, children are able to say some words and phrases and have an understanding of many things and what is being said to them. This is the stage that is important to use gates and other proofing devices to prevent injuries.

They try different things to see what kind of outcomes will come from doing so. Trial and error becomes a great problem solving strategy. Finally, from eighteen to 24 months of age, now trial and error is not necessary as they can think about and perceive events. At this age, communication is produced by gestures and small words. They learn to pretend (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). From the beginning, babies are born with their own personalities. Crying is the first sense of emotion and is used to communicate many different things.

Psychosocial development increases, as they are able to express more emotions. Between zero to three months of age, babies can smile. They start to become curious and show interest in certain things. By three to six months, infants can predict occurrences and be disappointed if the wrong outcome is produced. They can laugh and coo and even become angry. Once infants reach six to nine months of age, infants take part in social games. Babies try to communicate or touch other babies in search of their response. They can show new emotions such as happiness, fear, anger and the element of surprise (Papalia, 2008).

Between nine months and one year of age, infant’s primary focus is centered on their caregiver. They will often act shy or become afraid of strangers. Emotions are communicated more easily. At twelve to eighteen months, exploring becomes a necessity. People that the toddlers are close to are used as a safe house so to speak. If the toddler becomes scared, they will flock to them. And finally, from eighteen months until 2 years old, they sometimes experience anxiety. They are becoming more and more aware of the fact that they are increasingly away from their caregivers for reasons such as work.

It is easier for them to identify with adults in play and fantasy as well (Papalia, 2008). Erik Erikson (1902-1994) was a psychoanalyst who had a theory of psychosocial development. The theory suggests that events that occur very early in life, will affect people for the rest of their existence. The earliest stage of Erikson’s theory is Basic Trust versus Mistrust. This occurs from birth to twelve to eighteen months. In this period of time, the baby establishes a perception of whether or not this world is a safe and positive place. They need to determine a correspondence of trust and mistrust.

Trust allows them to obtain close and intimate relationships with people. Mistrust allows them to ultimately protect themselves. If babies experience trust they should gain a sense of hope. If mistrust is experienced, babies will unfortunately perceive the world as a cruel and unstable place. This will cause difficulty-forming relationships in life. So basically, it all comes down to the quality of care from the caregiver. If the caregiver is an unfit parent and not meeting the needs of the extremely dependent child, mistrust will be formed (Papalia, 2008).

The second stage of Erikson’s theory is Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. This occurs between the ages of twelve to eighteen months up to 3 years of age. As discussed in the cognitive development of this age group, they become much more independent. If a child from this age group is encouraged and supported, they become self-assured. If the caregiver is controlling or does not give the child a chance to be independent, they will feel shame and doubt. In proportion to ethological theory, biologically, parents and infants are supposed to become attached to one another.

Attachment contributes to whether a baby lives or dies. There are different classifications of attachment including secure, avoidant, and ambivalent (resistant) and disorganized-disoriented. Each is different level of extremes. Attachment can certainly have an effect on emotional development (Papalia, 2008). Developmental Changes for ages 11-14 During the eleventh and fourteenth years of life, many important changes occur. Children at this age are going through a great deal of physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes. It is at this time that these children experience puberty.

During puberty, hormones begin to change. Puberty brings a long physical alterations such as pubic and armpit hair for both sexes. Boys also start to grow facial hair. Girls begin to take on the responsibility of the menstrual cycle and begin to grow breasts. Boys lose their once innocent, childhood voices and gain deeper, manly voices. Emotionally these adolescents go through a lot during this time. They are usually concerned with their appearance and bodily changes. This leads to many children developing eating problems and disorders. The schoolwork load grows and becomes more challenging.

This can lead to anxiety and stress. Typically in this age group, they become less attached and more distant with their parents. It is very common for these adolescents to act irritable and cantankerous. At this age, kids are apt to peer pressure. Their will be peers that try to introduce them to things such as drugs, alcohol, smoking or even bad behavior leading to trouble (Papalia, 2008). These adolescents gain a greater ability to use complex thought. It becomes easier for them to share what they are feeling by talking about it; that is if you can get it out of a moody teenager.

Their conscience comes into play, as they are more able to establish between right and wrong. Unfortunately, throughout this stage, it is common for teens to feel sad or even depressed. Many things can be affected by depression at this age, schoolwork, sports or worse. These adolescents may turn to alcohol or drug use and even practice unsafe sex. This can lead to sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. Being honest and encouraging to a child in this stage may help prevent this depression. Trying to stay a close family by doing activities such as family dinner is an important and rewarding activity.

Being respectful and interested in a child’s life can take you far (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Abnormal Development It is unfortunate that many times, children are rendered with developmental issues. Babies that were born premature or with low birth weight usually experience long lasting physical, cognitive, neurological, sensory, educational and behavioral issues (Papalia, 2008). Pregnant women should take extra precautions to ensure that their child is not born with low birth weight. Smoking increases the risk and other drugs are also known to do so.

Even if children are born on time and are a healthy weight, it is possible for them to have a Persasive Development Disorder. Pervasive Development Disorders (PDDs) is a collection of developmental conditions that effect children’s primary skills. Effects are most prominent with social aspects of life. The ability to socialize, use their imagination and express themselves is compromised. It is not as easy for children with these disorders to understand everything around them. They often become addled in their own thinking.

There are five different types of pervasive development disorder and they include: autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett’s syndrome and Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS). There is still no known cause for Pervasive Development Disorders. Researchers have shown to believe that this is linked to issues among the nervous system. There are various tests to determine if a child has a pervasive development disorder including: x-rays and blood tests, medical history exam and complete physical examination of the child (WebMD).

In a recent study, it was found that depression medication could be linked to autism. Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac were all shown to have an increase of the chance of having a child born with autism (Park, 2011). In 1998, my mother gave birth to my sister Marisa. Through out the pregnancy, my mom endured a difficult time. It was as if her body was trying to reject her. She was constantly suffering from “morning sickness” all hours of the day, through out her entire pregnancy. My mother had also been on antidepressants for year’s prior.

With the okay from her doctor, she continued to take the pills, assuming it could cause no harm. After Marisa was born, it wasn’t long until it was known that something was not quite right with her. Three long, tiresome and very loud months passed by. It seemed there was not a moment that went by that Marisa was not crying. It as at this point when the doctors found out that it was actually hurting her to lay down or move because of the fluid that was built up around her brain. The bottom part of her brain was also too long and some of it needed to be cut to relieve her pain.

She was diagnosed with a very rare form of autism called Kiari Malformation. Three brain surgeries later, my sister is now thirteen years old. Living in North Carolina, Marisa works with the best doctors around at Duke University Hospital. She has been through many meds that have some effects on her such as weight gain. However, with out the medicine it is hard for Marisa to be “pleasant” around others. She becomes very angry and irritated easily. I’m sure my mother is now feeling guilty for taking the pain medication in worry that it may have caused this difficult life for Marisa.

But, that will not get anyone anywhere. Marisa has a care plan, goes to a special school, and has many accommodations met to fulfill her wants and needs. I think that people really need to be careful during pregnancy. Any type of medication that you can live without should probably not be taken to reduce the risk of any side effects on your child. Some circumstances that can have an effect on the adolescence between eleven and fourteen are teen pregnancy and drug use. Teens that abuse drugs are more likely to develop a mental disorder or suffer from mood disturbances.

Socially, teens tend to distance themselves from friends and family while using drugs. Participation in class and grades are likely to suffer. Conclusion And so it can be seen that these two age groups (0-2 and 11-14 years) are very crucial in the development of a child. Children grow and develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. Each individual aspect of development has an effect on the child as a whole. If a child struggles developmentally in any of the areas (physically, emotionally or cognitively), it can affect one of the other areas of development as well.

Having children is a wonderful and joyous adventure. Although it is very important to understand how children are supposed to develop and what to look for as far as abnormal development goes. If a child is suffering developmentally, it is vital to find out what you can do to help them. The longer things go untreated, the harder it is to bounce back. Children are the world’s most special gift. References Child Development – NCBDDD. (2011, June 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from http://www. cdc. gov/ncbddd/child/default. htm Papalia, Diane E. 2008) A Child’s World. Infancy Through Adolescence (11th Edition) Mcgraw-Hill. Boston Park, A. (2011, July 5). Use of SSRI Antidepressants During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Autism – – TIME Healthland. TIME Healthland – A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://healthland. time. com/2011/07/05/antidepressant-use-during-pregnancy-linked-to-higher-risk-of-autism/#ixzz1RTqdNxU7 Pervasive Development Disorders . (n. d. ). WebMD – Better information. Better health.. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from http://www. webmd. com/brain/autism/development-disorder

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