School-age children and children in early childhood exhibit differences in cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development. Children in early childhood experience rapid physical growth despite the existence of plateau stages in-between the various growth phases. For instance, their weight increases by approximately 5-6 pounds annually, while their height increases by 2-3 inches (PSY 357 lecture three notes, 2015). In comparison, the physical development of school-age children is slower and steadier. Increases in height and weight are minimal and occur over long periods. However, it is more defined and structured.
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For instance, their gross motor skills are highly developed, and they have proper balance. Early childhood is characterized by a rapid increase in motor skills that attain complete development during the elementary years. Preschoolers experience fast growth of brain functions. For instance, during that stage, 90% of the brain functions develop, and the other 10% enlarge during elementary years (PSY 357 lecture three notes, 2015). The levels of motor skills differ in both stages. In early childhood, children have poorly developed motor skills that are evident from the lack of balance and inability to write and coordinate body organs properly (Santrock, 2015).
In contrast, school-age children have strong motor skills that allow them to write properly, maintain balance, and coordinate body organs. Preschoolers exhibit slow socioemotional development that is characterized by a weak sense of self. For example, they describe themselves using attributes such as their possessions, behaviors, and physical characteristics (PSY 357 lecture, three notes, 2015). On the other hand, school-age children have a more developed sense of self. Moreover, they can differentiate emotions and express them appropriately. For example, a child will laugh hysterically and exhibit playfulness when happy and cry or withdraw from peers when angry or irritated.
Possible reasons for the increase in ADHD diagnoses
Statistics reveal that cases of ADHD have increased significantly in the last century. Ideas that can be attributed to this increase include a broad definition of the disorder, emergence of patient advocacy groups, overdiagnosis, and availability of information due to technological advancements. The definition of ADHD in the United States is very broad and thus leads to more diagnoses compared to other countries. The emergence of patient advocacy groups and the availability of information regarding the disorder have increased awareness and helped people determine whether they have ADHD or not (Santrock, 2015). Advocacy groups provide information through seminars and awareness programs.
Moreover, the availability of data on the internet has made it easy for individuals to identify the disorder by observing their symptoms. Individual assessments aid in conducting proper diagnosis because many practitioners depend on reports provided by parents and teachers. These factors have made the disorder more common and acceptable in contemporary society. I believe that ADHD is a standard human variant that has been much misunderstood, especially by medical practitioners. Moreover, biased and improper observation of childhood behaviors by parents and teachers leads to misdiagnosis. The broad definition of the disorder has led to overdiagnosis (Santrock, 2015). I believe that most ADHD diagnoses are intolerant of play because the influence of exercise and physical activity on proper childhood development has not been accurately and sufficiently considered. Also, there is a propensity to develop standard assessment protocols to apply to all children regardless of their varied traits, personalities, and cognitive as well as emotional inclinations.
PSY 357 Lecture 3 Notes: Early Childhood development. Santrock, J. W. (2015). Lifespan Development, 15th Ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.