Human development involves different age related changes in different stages from birth until death. The aim of the assignment is to explore this wide area of interest. The main stages in the human resource development includes “prenatal development, infancy, childhood (early and middle), adolescent, adult (early, middle, and late) and old age (death and dying)”. At each stage a person, gain a capability to survive in life, to thrive, mature and become more competent (Feldman, 2016). Each stage of the development is necessary to understand as these changes takes place beyond the physical realm ad determine the cognitive and social capabilities. In this assignment, the focus is on mainly on the cognitive and social development of children. The essay highlights the factors influencing this development in children.
Different aspects related to brain is considered as cognitive development including information processing, perceptual skill, language learning and other brain development aspects. These aspects are important to increase the well being of children and help them grow as competent adult (Bjorklund & Causey, 2017). Jean Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory explained four stages of cognitive development. In the first stage called sensorimotor stage (0-2 years), a child collects the sensory data such as touch, smell, hearing, learning and learns the body movements. In the second stage or pre-operational stage (2-5 years), a child gains capability to think about objects symbolically and thinking remains egocentric. With memory, use of matured language, use of symbols the increase in intelligence is demonstrated at this stage. In the concrete operational stage, for 7-11 years, a child is capable of logical thinking and demonstrates reversible mental actions. A child at this age is capable of systematic manipulation of symbols related to objects. The formal operational stage beginning from 11 years onwards increases the capability in children to learn abstract concepts such love and engage in hypothesis testing (Modgil et al., 2013). Since Jack is 3 years old, he belongs to pre-operational stage.
Social development refers to learning of social and emotional skills. It occurs across the lifespan and particularly gives attention to childhood and adolescence. This, development is essential to gain capability of establishing positive relationship with society (with family, friends, and relatives). Social development according to Erikson involves eight stages (Serafica, 2015). This eight stages starts from birth and continues until 18 years. At each stage there are different psychological crisis faced by the child. The stages and crisis at each stage are infant-18 months (trust vs. mistrust), 18 months-3 years (autonomy vs. Shame), 3-5 years (initiative vs. Guilt), 5-13 years (industry vs. Inferiority), 13-21 years (identity vs. role confusion), 21-39 years (intimacy vs. isolation), 40-65 years (generativity vs stagnation), lastly 65, and older (Ego integrity vs. despair) (McAdams & Zapata-Gietl, 2015). Since Jack is three years old, the essay focuses on the second stage of development, which is autonomy vs. Shame. At this stage, children learn new concepts and feel guilt or shame on failure to demonstrate the ability. These activities may include self care habits such as eating or demonstrate emotional skills such as determination to win in game. These skills are to be applied in real life (Overton, 2013).
In the given case study, Jack is 3 years old child, thus he belongs to pre-operational stage. The normative cognitive development in children of this age is evident from rapid learning process. Language development and expression of interest symbolically is evident. For example a child may be quick in catching words such as “papa” or “grandpa” or the child may express interest in toys. Children may construct sentences of 250-500 words. This is the first step to thinking development. On the contrary, Jack shows non-normative development. He is only able to babble and speak one or two words. However, he may show other normative activities such as recognise himself in mirror (Bjorklund & Causey, 2017). The normative social development at this age includes intention to perform daily activities of life independently. For example, dressing or toilet training. Taking assistance or relying on others may cause feeling of shame and psychological crisis. Jack in the case study has poor toilet training, which is the sign of non-normative development. Other normative social development activities that he may demonstrate are taking turns in games or understand sharing of toys (Overton, 2013).
Cognitive and social development is influenced by several factors. Two of the main factors are biological and environmental. Biological factors can be intelligence, sense organs or hereditary factors. Children can learn concepts quickly if they can collect stimuli, for which they need to have good sense organs. Children cannot attain full mental capacities if they have low intelligence, which may also be the factor for Jack, influencing his cognitive development (Brown & Lan, 2013). Dual language can be other barrier causing speech delay in children. If the mother tongue and the language spoken in school or preschool is different, it can cause delay in speech development (Barac et al., 2014). Environmental factors such as parental support and learning opportunities in environment control the social and cognitive development. Parents can help a child get better cognitive capacity, by helping them to understand the environmental stimuli. By spending more time with parents and friends, children becomes expressive and learn social and emotional skills faster. Poor maternal support and attachment can lead to worry elaboration (Grist & Field, 2012). It can alter the temperament of children and ultimately the human development (Hong & Park, 2012).
Applying the cognitive development theory, delay in speech at this age is the non-normative development in Jack. Vanessa may need to consult physician to check if Jacks’ sense organs function normally. Jacks delay in speech development can also be due to low intelligence. Applying the social cognitive development theory, the poor toilet training is the non-normative development. In his case, parental and family support is lacking. Vanessa being working mother spends less time with Jack. He may not be getting enough learning opportunities that may delay his speech. At the day care centre, the caregiver may not have established strong relationship with the Jack. Children’s early development is also dependent on “Family–school connectedness” (Serpell & Mashburn, 2012). This may have hampered social and emotional skills. It may have hampered, his temperament and toilet training (Schoenmaker et al., 2015). Due to poor maternal support and interference, Jack may be lacking the virtue called will. These are the predictors of “adaptive and social development” in children with and without developmental delays (Green et al., 2014). Vanessa must modify Jack’s learning environment. She can improve his psychosocial development. By increasing maternal support, play and learning opportunities can be increased. It will improve the mother-infant communication and attachment (Beebe & Steele, 2013).
The social and cognitive developmental theories are essential for nursing and midwife practice. Child and family health nurse can design appropriate interventions for Jack by recognising the factors causing his speech delay and poor toilet training. The nurse can modify the learning environment for Jack by increasing play opportunities and interaction with peers. Nurse can educate Vanessa about factors that can influence the cognitive and social development in children so that she can invest time for Jack. It will help the nurse to identify the abnormalities in child at an early stage (Bierman et al., 2014).
The essay was helpful in understanding the human development across lifespan. Various biological and environmental factors influence the social and cognitive development in child. The theories explored in this regard are helpful for nursing practice. Nurses can maximise the wellbeing of child by using these concepts and improve emotional and social skills of children.
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