Child development refers to the physical, psychological, social, behavioral, and emotional changes that occur in children from birth to adolescence. Developmental assessment is the process of examination and measuring of a child’s performance compared to other children of a similar age. Seven areas are usually included in the evaluation: physical growth, motor skills, cognitive development, social-emotional development, gender identity, language and communication skills, and individual differences (Bellman et al., 2013). Each child’s development is a unique process, although all children go through similar stages as they grow. This essay discusses the physical assessment of school-aged children and typical developmental stages for children of this age.
Comparison of Physical Assessment Among School-Aged Children
School-aged children are children between 6 and 12 years of age. The observation of physical characteristics is particularly important at this age, as it is marked by active growth and physical skills development. During this period, children gain better control over their motor skills and develop a sense of body image (Bellman et al., 2013). Individual physical characteristics can vary significantly depending on age and growth pattern, and it is important to take them into consideration when conducting a physical examination.
By the age of six, most children can provide reasonably accurate medical information and answer basic questions on their health and behavior. However, when some health issues, such as chronic diseases, are concerned, the information obtained from a child’s parents has more value, and the pediatrician should talk to the parents as well as to the child (Sawyer, 2012). While school-aged children at the later stage of development are generally more confident and aware of their bodies, the situation with younger children may differ. They may be frightened by an examination, or elusive and dishonest when answering questions (Sawyer, 2012). When talking to them, it is particularly important to establish trust and a friendly atmosphere by explaining the procedure to them and showing interest in their life and personality.
Typical Assessment for a Child of a Specific Age
Marya is a girl of eight years who goes to the second grade. She has no chronic physical or mental diseases and no health complaints. At this age, children start to get more coordinated physically. Marya is engaged in sports activities and is very physically active. She has already experienced the growth spur typical for children of her age and is now taller than most of her peers. This stage of development is characterized by the development of cognitive and social skills. Children learn to better express themselves and answer questions in a logical and structured manner. Another important characteristic of this developmental stage is academic performance and peer acceptance. Marya’s school performance is above average, and she seems to relate well with her classmates and teachers. She displays moderate attention-seeking behavior but is obedient and compliant.
Developmental Assessment of a Child Using Erikson’s Theory
According to Erikson’s theory, Marya is in the fourth stage of development, known as Industry vs. Inferiority. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development examines the role of relationships and social activity in the growth of human beings and identifies eight stages, each characterized by a particular psychological conflict. Conflicts serve as turning points in development, and either result in an individual acquiring a certain quality or failing to master it (Scheck, 2014). The fourth stage is called Industry vs. Inferiority and occurs in childhood between ages 5 and 11. At this age, children cope with new social and academic demands and acquire a feeling of competence if they succeed, or a feeling of inferiority in case of failure. Successfully finding a balance allows children to feel confident about their abilities in the future and cope with failures.
When performing an assessment of a child in the fourth stage of development, the assessor should focus on their academic performance and their attitude towards school and their peers. Asking a child whether they like to study, what are their favorite subjects, whether their teachers praise them or not helps to evaluate whether they develop a sense of competence or not. The understanding of the difficulties that a child experiences at this stage allows parents, caregivers, and teachers to develop an individual strategy to provide adequate support for a child.
Bellman, M., Byrne, O., & Sege, R. (2013). Developmental assessment of children. BMJ, 346. Web.
Sawyer, S. (2012). Pediatric physical examination & health assessment. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Web.
Scheck, S. (2014). The stages of psychosocial development according to Erik. H. Erikson. GRIN Verlag. Web.