Unit 4: Development Through the Life Stages P1: Describe physical, intellectual, emotional and social development for each of the life stages of an individual. Through every life stage we experience physical, intellectual and social and emotional development. Physical development is when the appearance of the body changes. Intellectual development is the mental process of knowing, for example problem solving. The social and emotional development is when your emotions, your personality and social interactions begin.
Conception is the process described when the penetration of an egg cell by a sperm cell fuses to form the first cell of a new living organism. Conception normally occurs in the fallopian tubes as a result of sexual intercourse. Pregnancy begins when the embryo implants or embeds itself in the living of the uterus wall and develops. An amniotic sac filled with fluid that surrounds the embryo and acts as a shock absorber. A placenta filled with the mother’s blood and through which the embryo obtains nutrients and eliminates waste.
The umbilical cord contains the blood vessels that transport nutrients, oxygen and waste products between the embryo and the placenta. The first few weeks of the pregnancy are critical for the embryo and its development can be affected by the health and behaviour of the mother. The next life stage is birth and infancy this is to the age of 3 years. The physical developments throughout this stage are the following. The body doubles in height and quadruples in weight. Motor skills progress from simple reflexes to coordinates motor abilities such as grasping and walking.
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The child’s sensory and perceptual ability develops rapidly. For example when the baby is 0 to 6 months their short- sightedness reduces and their eyes begin to focus more clearly. Another physical development would the brain responding to stimulation, such as a child copying an adult clapping. The intellectual development in birth and infancy is when basic structure of language is learned through baby talk with adults. This development would usually occur 0 to 6 months. Babies often use crying, cooing and babbling as their first communication.
Further language skills are developed by the age of 1, to constructing sentences by the age of 2. Children start to be aware of world progress through immediate sensory motor experiences such as hearing familiar voices and pointing. Lastly children start to think about the concept of objects, for example objects still exist when out of sight and awareness. This development occurs from 6 to 12 months when the child begins to pass objects between hands. It develops further at 18 to 24 months when children can throw a ball and use a crayon. By the end of birth and infancy children can build a tower of bricks and use scissors.
The social and emotional developments in birth and infancy are the following. The child’s emotional responses change from basic reactions to more complex. For instance the child may become self-conscious when playing with other children. Independent behaviours increase with parental encouragement around feeding, dressing and toilet training. By the age of 18 to 24 months the child can use a spoon and remove some clothing. The ability to relate to playmates emerges at the end of birth and infancy the child; this shows the child has developed confidence and basic social skills.
The fourth life stage is childhood; this is between the ages of 4 to 11 years old. One of the physical developments in the early ages of childhood is the brain; it attains 90% of adult weight by the age of 5 and develops faster than any other body part. Physical strength increase and body proportions become more adult like. Also athletic skills such as running and jumping dramatically improve in the early years of childhood. Fine motor skills involving the use of smaller muscles develop, allowing younger children to handle small objects with more accuracy such as pencils.
When a child reaches the middle of its childhood the growth of the brain slows down, this is from the age of 7 to 9. Physical growth also slows but height spurts occur. Expansion of the heart and lung capacities supports more physical endurance such as swimming and football. In late childhood puberty begins with rising hormone levels. This also shows a specific physical change in gender, girls producing breasts and boys testes enlarging. Girls’ growth spurt begins with gains in height, weight and musculature. The intellectual developments for children in their early childhood are the following.
Firstly social interactions with parents and play mates allow their knowledge about the world increase. Also language develops rapidly, resulting on average a 14,000 word vocabulary. In the middle stages of childhood a child’s memory capacity expands, as well as the ability to think about thought. As a result of this a child would be able to organise their own learning. In late childhood a child’s logical thought processes to abstract thinking. A child would have many language skills including synonyms, double meanings, metaphors and humour.
There are several social and emotional developments that occur in the early stages of childhood. Firstly a child playing alone or with others becomes increasingly complex and imaginative. Also children become aware of gender roles. When children are near to the age of 6, they have the desire for independence and control over environment increases. This makes parent’s supervisory role more challenging. In the middle stages of childhood peer groups become more significant as dependence shifts to friends for help. Children experience loyalty and share mutual interests.
The awareness of and involvement in outside world, increases awareness of family, economic and political conditions. In late childhood peer groups often divide into cliques due to many reasons, for example personality, style and beliefs. The awareness of gender stereotypes continues to increase. Issues increase around sibling rivalry and separation from family. The next stage in life is adolescence this is between the ages of 12 to 17 years old. The physical development in early adolescence is the body continues to grow in height and weight.
Early adolescence is between the ages of 12 to 15. Another physical development is that girl’s growth spurts peaks while boys typically begin. The physical development in late adolescence which is ages between 16 to 19 years, this is the stage during puberty. This is when there are changes in level of growth and sex hormones which cause the development of sex organs. It also develops sexual characteristics. Females continue the develop breasts, but experience broadening of the hips, onset of menstruation and first ovulation, growth of pubic and armpit hair.
Males experience growth of muscles, broadening of the shoulders, growth of the larynx, production of semen and body and pubic hair. Both genders have an increased activity of the sweat gland. One of the intellectual developments in adolescence is having the ability to grasp irony and sarcasm. The ongoing development of vocabulary expands to more abstract words. Also the understanding of complex grammar continues to improve. Lastly thinking becomes more self conscious and critical, this is usually influenced by the media. The ability to cope with new problems and situations is reached by the end of this period.
There are many social and emotional developments in adolescence; this is mainly due to hormones. In the early stages of adolescence sexual orientation begins to emerge. This stage in life is where most parent and child conflicts are likely to happen. Also peer pressure is likely to increase at this stage. This is because children are getting to the age where they want to try new things out like alcohol, smoking and shoplifting. In late adolescence sexual orientation continues to develop, whereas cliques decline in importance. The process of developing and maintaining intimate relationships begin.
At this stage your identity is greatly influenced by personal factors, including family and peer relationships, economic and political circumstances. Near the end of adolescence you are introduced to the world of work and career planning. Adulthood is between the ages of 18 to 65 years. The physical functioning increases through the 20’s and peaks around the age of 30, but can be maintained through exercise. In early adulthood, 20 to 40 years of age there is a gradual increase in weight and body fat and a decrease in lean muscle mass.
The efficiency of many organ systems begins to diminish at the rate of 1% a year. Sexual responsiveness remains high throughout this period, although some men start to slow down. Physical appearance changes by developing grey hair and wrinkles towards the end of early adulthood, this continues into the middle stages of adulthood. When aged 40 to 65 years, health and potential onset diseases affected by preventive behaviour could appear. For example smokers could suffer from lung cancer. Also in this life stage gradual changes in hearing and vision will occur.
Another main development in this life stage is menopause begins in women. In early adulthood the intellectual development of vocabulary and knowledge continues to grow through work interactions and every day problem solving. Wisdom begins to develop in early adulthood. In the middle of Adulthood reaction time and mental processing slows down due to old age. Another development in this life stage is short and long term memory remains relatively stable. The social and emotional developments in early adulthood are the following. Firstly the need of achievement is often met through satisfactory of work.
Secondly friendships become particularly important for people who are single. Also personalities are most likely to change up to the age of 30, with additional maturation continuing into the 40’s. In the middle of Adulthood this is where it’s most likely for a mid life crisis, this is due to self confidence and their relationship with the world. This stage in life will often experience facing age discrimination. However this time of your life could experience the greatest productivity at work. The last stage of life is older adulthood this from the age of 65 and onwards.
The physical development of this life stage is when the brain becomes smaller and functions more slowly. The body will weaken and this will affect organs and major body systems. A lot of older people suffer from arthritis because of muscle strength which causes stiffness of joints. In older adulthood short term memory may decline, but active exercise of mental abilities helps to maintain functioning. Intellectual developments in older adulthood include the decline of language abilities. In this stage of life there is a decrease in drivers due to the speed of processing information.
Another development is the ability to receive information, organise and interpret it declines. There are also social and emotional developments for the older adulthood. For example the retirement experience is shaped by social class and gender factors, including income, health and amount of previous planning. In this stage of life human beings have a sense of well being which tends to be higher than all previous periods. Also a lot of older adults are extremely satisfied with life, this is usually dependent on family involvement.
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