School-aged children need regular evaluation and analysis of their development. This assessment is necessary to identify physical or mental problems and prevent their growth and influence on a person’s future life. However, a child of five, nine, and twelve years old are at entirely different stages of development, so adults need to apply approaches that are more appropriate for children to evaluate their health.
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A typical assessment of the physical state among school-aged children follows a similar pattern with slight differences. A nurse checks the height and weight of the child, observes the development of body parts and skin visually, palpates internal organs, and listens to the lungs and heart. A conversation is also held with the child to establish a trusting relationship and superficially check the level of development.
However, parents of young children are more often to answer questions about the behavior and health of the child, while older kids can describe their feelings by themselves. I would suggest a screen for older children to improve the assessment techniques, since some children may already be embarrassed by their nakedness in front of their parents. It is also necessary to focus on conversations with school-aged children as they cannot trust a stranger and feel discomfort during the examination, which can cause them a fear of doctors in the future.
Children of different ages demonstrate abilities that characterize their development, and the following indicators can evaluate a seven-year-old child. The child is active, attracted interested in the outside world, and becomes emotionally responsive to the problems of others by trying to understand their feelings (Mercer, 2018). At this age, children usually begin to lose their baby teeth, and rapid growth is also observed.
The speech also becomes more developed; the child can build long sentences, understand the different meanings of one word and a joke (Mercer, 2018). A child knows the numbers and can read, as well as analyze simple situations. In social terms, children also acquire new communication skills: they understand the general rules of behavior and morality, perceive comments, and can give feedback (Mercer, 2018). Children make new acquaintances with other children easily and form a social circle gradually.
Moreover, the development of school-aged children can be estimated according to Piaget’s theory. This theory is not based on specific indicators of intelligence, such as IQ, but on the child’s ability to perceive the outside world and learn. Children 5-12 years old fall immediately under three stages of development, according to Piaget: preoperational, concrete, and formal operational stage (Crain, 2015).
It is necessary to communicate with children in the preoperative phase in simple terms and ask if the child understands the meaning of the adult’s words, and if he or she distinguishes game and reality and abstract concepts from concrete ones (Crain, 2015). If a child communicates freely with an adult, understands the essence of surrounding things, and tries to see them from the adult’s side, then his or her development is age-appropriate.
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Assessment of children at a concrete stage can occur by using logical tasks and questions. For example, the inspector may ask about a girl’s feelings if the child breaks her favorite toy, or how to cross the river without wetting one’s legs.
In the first case, children at this stage of development must understand the feelings of another person, and in the second, apply logic to answer the puzzle. Children of 12 years old can already think hypothetically, so an adult can evaluate its development by creating situations related to moral choices, or questions about the future of the child (Crain, 2015). Thus, the development of the children can be estimated by evaluating the overall ability of thinking, according to Piaget’s theory.
In conclusion, the assessment of the development of the child should be guided by the general physical and mental indicators characteristic for a certain age, but with consideration of individual characteristics. Such an approach will help adults adequately assess the health of children without causing them harm or discomfort. Besides, the timely determination of developmental delays prevents problems for people in adulthood.
Crain, W. (2005). Theories of development: concepts and applications (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Mercer, J. (2018). Child development: concepts and theories. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.