Pediatric health and physical evaluation are critical aspects of developmental assessment among school-aged children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019), there are two major developmental milestones of middle age, between 6 and 8 years and 9 and 11 years. Both stages determine the development of children at school and are characterized by significant changes in their life. In this paper, the assessment of a seven-year-old girl will be introduced to explain the main techniques, stages, and theories.
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Physical Assessment Techniques
As a rule, it is required for all children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old to visit a healthcare facility for assessment annually. At this age, patients can understand and provide medical information. Still, cooperation with parents as the main caregivers is also recommended and cannot be ignored. Estes, Calleja, Theobald, and Harvey (2019) investigate the latest achievements in a physical examination and identify such critical techniques as “inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation” (p. 104).
Compared to palpation, where touching (light or deep) is used to clarify the position of organs and their approximate sizes, inspection (visual or smell) focuses on the respiratory changes in a patient. Percussion helps to identify any abnormalities in the body, and auscultation (listening) formulates the clinical status of a child. To match the age and developmental stage, patients should meet the following aspects: fine motor skills, good learning and speaking abilities, eye contact, and strong coordination. The major risk factors include obesity, heart diseases, stress, or brain disabilities.
Typical Developmental Stages
A seven-year-old is a patient to be chosen for analysis. There are usually five milestones in her development, such as physical, cognitive, social, language, and sensory. Compared to the results of the last year, she has grown about 5 cm and gained about 3-5 kg, which is normal. Six of her baby teeth were lost, and permanent ones continue growing. The girl has a sense of time and shares her latest learning experience, which proves her successful cognitive development.
She talks about her parents and their relationships, as well as her friends and their regular games. The patient seems to feel awkward when she tries to mention her problems and fears. Still, all these concerns and opinions prove her high-level social, emotional, and language development. Her sensory progress is also evident because the girl knows how to take a pen and writes her name on paper.
Developmental Theory in Child’s Assessment
Some many researchers and theorists work in the field of cognitive development, and Erickson, Piaget, or Kohlberg are the most famous in this list. Jean Piaget introduced a theory based on the intellectual abilities’ development at distinct stages (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational) (Marwaha, Goswami, & Vashist, 2017). The girl of the age of seven can belong to the preoperational and concrete operations groups.
Such belonging says about her abilities to think both symbolically and logically and understand things from others’ perspectives, as well as stay egocentric (Marwaha et al., 2017). To gain cooperation with this patient, it is recommended to focus on reasons and clear explanations with the help of which the girl understands her goals and responsibilities and differentiates the health practitioner’s role. The main findings from the assessment would include her cognitive development and motor abilities and potential growth within the next year.
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In general, the theory of Piaget helps to clarify if patients meet the standards of their developmental stages. The cognitive and physical development of school-aged children is hard to control and predict. Therefore, regular observations and assessments need to be organized at least once a year. The girl chosen for evaluation meets the distinctive features of the offered milestone and succeeds in logical thinking, analyzing, and other sensory activities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Middle childhood (6 – 8 years of age). Web.
Estes, M. E. Z., Calleja, P., Theobald, K., & Harvey, T. (2019). Health assessment and physical examination (3rd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Cengage Learning.
Marwaha, S., Goswami, M., & Vashist, B. (2017). Prevalence of principles of Piaget’s theory among 4-7-year-old children and their correlation with IQ. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 11(8), 111-115.