Describe the Main Developmental Tasks and Milestones Associated with Each Stage in Human Development over the Lifespan. Then Choose One Phase Only of Human Development and Discuss the Developmental Needs of People in This Stage. Discuss Various Sp...

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  • Topic: Theory of cognitive development, Jean Piaget, Adolescence
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The lifespan of a person is an awesome thing to behold. From birth completely dependent on others to later life where you care and look after your own children and grandchildren and watch them develop as your parents and grandparents watched you. From birth to death there are miraculous changes in each stage of development. Starting at the beginning is the newborn.

The Newborn (birth to 1 month) and Infant (1month to 1 year)

Developmental stages:
•Erikson's trust versus mistrust (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:16) •Piaget's sensorimotor stage (2004:19)
•Parent-infant bonding
•Foundation of language
•Foundation of locomotion

Many factors ensure the health of a newborn and infant, including the mother's health and age when pregnant, exposure to teratogens, genetic disorders and birth weight. The Apgar scale at birth determines a newborn baby's physical well being. (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:52,65-67)

The healthy newborn has several reflexes or unlearned skills that they have from birth. These include the Babinski reflex, blinking, Moro reflex, Palmar reflex, Rooting reflex, Stepping reflex, Sucking reflex and Withdrawal reflex. (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:87) Except for the blinking and withdrawal reflex, the developmental duration of these reflexes may last less than a year unless practised. (Kaplan 1991:187)

The Newborn spends its time in four stages, alert inactivity, waking activity, crying and sleeping. However, sleeping is what newborn and infants do most of. However, when they are awake, they seem to have a preference for human faces over any other stimuli (Kaplan 1991:183) Newborns can learn in several ways, classical conditioning, operant conditioning and imitation. (1991:191)

The beginning of movement or locomotion, in infants has several stages. Sitting with support is around 4 months, walking when begin led is around 11 months, sitting alone at around 7 months and standing and walking at around 14 and 15 months. Fine motor skills such as grasping at objects occur around 4-6 months. Perception occurs around 15 months, as infants of 1 year look in a mirror and respond to the infant in the mirror, but do not appear to recognise themselves. Toddlers at 14 months however show greater perception than a 1 year old as they respond in a way that shows that they are recognising themselves. By the age of 2 most children do this. (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:121)

Toddlers (1 year to 2 years)

Developmental tasks:
•Erikson's trust versus mistrust (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:16) •Erikson's autonomy versus shame and doubt
•Piaget's concrete operational stage (2004:19)
•Elaboration of locomotion,
•Fantasy and play,
•Language development,
•Self-control and awareness
•Toilet training

Between the ages of 1 and 2 toddlers begin to develop self-awareness and, consequently, become much more attentive to the reactions of others. However, they only seem to describe themselves by mentioning physical characteristic such as hair or eye colour. This highlight's Piaget's theory, that they are only thinking of themselves in ways that are observable and concrete. (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:121) Toilet training is one of the most notable developmental tasks for a parent. Toilet training is difficult, and each child will learn when it when ready. A study on early toilet training showed that children that learn later quickly catch up to the children who started toilet training early. (Kaplan 1991:223)

Preschoolers (2 years to 6 years)

Developmental tasks:
•Erikson's autonomy versus doubt and shame (Kail & Cavanaugh 2004:16) •Erikson's Initiative versus Guilt
•Piaget's Preoperational thinking (2004:19)
•Kohlberg's PreConventional Level (2004:323)
•Elaboration of locomotion
•Group play, solitary play, fantasy play
•Recognition of gender roles and identity (2004:190-191)

Preschoolers become increasingly able to use mental representation and symbols, such as words, to "figure things out." However, the...
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