Developmental observation assignment – apply the theoretical concepts of child development

Students will put together a report after completing an observation. The purpose of the developmental observation assignment is to synthesize and apply the theoretical concepts of child development to acquire an understanding of the developmental characteristics of a child or an adolescent in the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial domains of development. There are two components to this assignment:

Observation: Observe and/or interview a child or an adolescent (newborn – 18 years) for four weeks in a home, school or any other community organization serving children and adolescents. Record your observations based on the guidelines provided. If the child can talk, interview the child/adolescent asking age appropriate questions. In your interview, as appropriate, you may ask the child/adolescent about his or her likes, dislikes, interests or hobbies, role models, hopes and fears, attitude towards parents, teachers, school, friends, society, influence of the media, internet and the social media, and culture. Recognize atypical developmental characteristics, if any.

GUIDELINES FOR REPORT: A. Cover page: Your name; Title of the Assignment Age of the child; Gender of the child B. Introduction and formatting (3 page minimum not including cover and references): 10 points

a. Name of the child/adolescent, age and gender

b. Family characteristics: Social and cultural contexts

c. Siblings and their ages

d. Cultural background and socioeconomic status

e. APA style paragraph headings and citations for all sources

C. Developmental characteristics (depending on the age of the child or adolescent) 80 points total for this area 1. Biological Domain (Physical Development): 20 points Describe the child’s physical characteristics and motor abilities. Identify any problems or issues, if any. i. Physical appearance:

a. Child’s approximate height and weight

b. Does the child appear healthy or not? What makes you think so?

ii. Child’s nutritional habits and eating patterns

iii. Child’s sleeping patterns

iv. Child’s movement and activities:

a. For infants (newborn – 6 months), check for newborn reflexes.

b. How does the child move or how does the child use his/her body?

c. Does the child appear to be comfortable with his/her physical abilities? d. Does the child prefer mostly high energy activities or quiet activities?

e. Give examples of child’s gross motor skills – are they age appropriate? How do they compare with what the textbook identifies as age-typical?

f. Give examples of child’s fine motor skills – are they age appropriate? How do they compare with what the textbook identifies as age-typical?

2. Cognitive Domain (Cognitive Development) 20 points

i. According to Jean Piaget’s cognitive development stages, which stage would you place the child? Why? Give two examples to support/explain your answer.

ii. For children of ages four to eight years, verify Piaget’s conservation tasks. State the results and conclusion. If necessary, apply Vygotsky’s concepts to explain conservation.

iii. For school age children and adolescents (ages six years and above), apply Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences by identifying the child’s strengths.

Language Development: 20 points For children 3 – 5 years of age, ask three to five questions; For children 6 – 10 years of age, ask six to ten questions; For children 11 – 18 years of age, ask ten to fifteen questions.

i. Describe the child/adolescent’s language and thinking abilities.

ii. Ask age appropriate questions as applicable. Include the child’s responses.

iii. What is your conclusion about the child’s language development, or adolescent’s thoughts and ideas? Is the child/adolescent expressive or reserved?

3. Psychosocial Domain (Social and Emotional Development): 20 points Temperament and personality traits: Based on Thomas and Chess classification of infant temperament, describe the child’s temperament characteristics for children of ages – newborn to six years. For children older than six years, apply the concepts of higher-order personality traits.

Sociability: For infants only: Is the infant attached mainly to a parent or primary care giver, or is the infant attached to more than one parent or caregivers? Does the child make friends easily? Is the child shy or quiet; cooperative or prefers to be alone? How does the child communicate his/her wants or needs? How does the child relate and interact with other people? Give two examples of child’s interactions with family members/peers and friends/teacher/coach, or with you.

Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages: Which stage would this child be according to Erik Erikson? Give one reason for your answer. James Marcia’s identity statuses: For high school age adolescents only.Which identity status do you think the adolescent is in? Find out by asking relevant questions about career exploration and choices.

Gender: Does the child’s behavior reflect any specific gender characteristics? Give two examples to support your answer. Ethnic identity: For adolescents 12 – 18 years of age, and of other than Caucasian heritage, apply Phinney’s model of ethnic identity development and state the identity status. D. Conclusion: 10 points Write a brief conclusion about the child’s developmental characteristics. You may also ask parents/caregivers/teachers for their comments about the child/adolescent.

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