St. Josephs College
Running Head: OBSERVATION ASSIGNMENT ! 1
A very important young girl and boy in my life, had let me into their lives in order to complete this assignment, allowing me to understand the small and major differences between a healthy child and an autistic child. This observation assignment concerns the physical domain, but more specifically the development of gross motor skills. The purpose of this observation is to determine the differences in gross motor skills between a special needs child of age two, versus the healthy child of age three, while comparing these results to the descriptions of gross motor skills as found in Infants and Children by Laura Berk (2008) and the consistency between them. Of course there is an enormous gap of differences mentally, however the development between the two children physically concerning gross motor skills was somewhat slim and surprised me with how much the special needs child almost excelled in specific parts of the observation assignment. To come to a conclusion for this purpose with valid answers and results, I used the table in Berk’s Infants and Children (2008) to base my assignment on. I asked both of the children to perform each of the skills Berk discusses on the chart and then compared the kid’s results to each other and then the healthy child’s results to Berk’s results. The domain I am observing specifically is physical development. My subjects were tested on gross motor skills and specifically performed certain tasks to see if Berk’s descriptions of motor skills are similar to theirs. The physical gross motor skills include flexibility, balance, agility, and force. To break down each of these components of gross motor skills more specifically can be found in Laura Berk’s Infants and Children (2008). “Flexibility progresses from the two year old to three year old kids by being more pliable and elastic, a difference that is evident as they executed routines such as walking and crawling. Balance improves in many athletic skills, including running, hopping, skipping, throwing, kicking, and the rapid changes of direction required in many team sports. Agility becomes more accurate and quicker movements allowing kids to advance in fancy footwork of dance and cheerleading and in the forward, backward and sideways motions used to dodge opponents in tag and soccer. Lastly, there is force and this involved older children being able to throw and kick a ball harder and propel themselves farther off the ground when running and jumping than they could at an earlier age.” (2008) Along with body growth, the physical development allows children to be much more efficient with processing information in motor performance. During middle childhood, ages six to eleven, the flow of movements and responses become much more apparent and the child improves in all of these areas. In this research, there is only data collected from healthy children, but in autistic children things are slightly different. Children with autism exhibit a slower development of motor skills. Autistic children lack the abilities a typical child obtains in terms of motor skills including poor coordination, poor tool use, and delayed learning of complex motor skills like riding a tricycle. This effects things like flexibility, agility, balance, and force which are the four components that make up the proper development of gross motor skills found in a normal child. “A study found that 30% of autistic children have moderate to severe loss of muscle tone, and this can limit their gross and fine motor skills.”(2012) The reason for this investigation is to discover the minor and major differences between an autistic child’s gross motor skills and a typical child’s gross motor skills, then to compare their results with the results found in Infants and Children by Laura Berk (2008). It is in my interest to find out whether the typical child of the two subjects varies much...