Foetal development- human life begins with conception. If sexual intercourse takes place while the egg is in the fallopian tube, there is a possibility of conception. Just one sperm may fertilise the egg. Fertilisation means that the genetic material in the egg to start a new life. Pregnancy then begins when a sperm penetrates an egg. One to one and a half days later, the single fertilised egg cell begins to divide. After two or three days there are enough new cells to make the fertilised egg the size of a pin head. This collection of cells travels to the lining of the uterus where is becomes anchored. The developing collection of cells is now called an embryo. After eight weeks, the embryo may have grown to between 3 and 4cm, has a recognisable heartbeat and the beginnings of eyes, ears, a mouth, legs and arms. At this stage the growing organism is called a foetus. During the remaining seven months before birth, the organs continue to develop. By 20 weeks, the foetus will have reached about half the length of the baby at birth. By 32 weeks, the foetus will be about half its birth weight. Infancy (0-3 years) – at about 9 months after conception the baby will be born. The new born baby has to take easily digestible food such as mothers milk in the first weeks in order to grow. A new born baby does not have a fully developed brain but can usually hear sounds, tell differences in the way things taste, and identify the smell of their own mother or carer. Infants are born with various temporary and primitive reflexes. The primitive reflexes that infants are born with include the following: A new born baby will turn their head towards any touch on the cheek. This reflex is called the rooting reflex and helps the baby to get the nipple into their mouth to feed. If you place your finger in the palm of baby’s hand, they will grasp your finger tightly. This reflex is called the grasp reflex. If a baby is startled by a loud noise for example, they will throw their hands and arms outwards, arching the back and straightening the legs. This is called the startle reflex. If a new born baby is held upright with their feet touching the ground, they will make movements as if trying to walk. This is called the walking reflex. Infants have the physical ability to recognise and interact with people. Babies prefer the sound of human voices to other sounds and soon learn to recognise their mother’s voice. Babies are helpless when it comes to muscle co-ordination and control. Babies cannot hold up their head, roll over, sit up or use their hands to move objects deliberately. Childhood (4-9 years) - children grow steadily at this time but less rapidly than during infancy. By the age of 6, a child’s head will be 90 per cent of adult size, even though the body still has a lot of growing to do. Reproductive organs remain small until the onset of puberty. Children’s practical abilities continue to develop; at the age of 2, children may be able to run and climb stairs one step at a time. By age 4, children may be able to kick and throw a large ball. By the age of 6 or 7, a child may be able to skip and ride a bicycle. Adolescence (10-18 years) – puberty in girls often starts between age 11 and 13, although it may begin earlier in some girls. Girls genuinely start puberty before 13 but boys genuinely start puberty later, often between 13 and 15 years of age. Puberty is a development stage which prepares the body for sexual reproduction. It is triggered by the action of hormones that control sexual development. Both boys and girls may experience a ‘growth spurt’ where they grow taller at a faster rate than before. Girls’ sexual development during puberty includes the enlargement of breast, the development of pubic hair, increased fat layers under the skin and the start of menstrual periods. Boys will experience the enlargement of their testes and penis, the development of pubic and facial hair and increased muscle strength. Boys’ voices also ‘break’ and become deeper in tone. These major changes mean that adolescents look and behave very differently from children. Adulthood (19-65 years) – young adults are often at the peak of their physical performance between the ages of 18 and 28. Most champions of highly active sport are ages between 16 and 30. Older adults genuinely tend to lose some strength and speed with age, although these changes are often unnoticed outside competitive sport. Exercise can help develop physical fitness and athletic skills. An older adult could easily achieve a personal peak of fitness at 40 or 50 if they take up exercise late in life. There are a number of age- related changes that slowly become apparent as we grow older. During their forties, many people find that they need to wear reading glasses. Some people cannot hear high – pitched sounds so well during late adulthood. Many adults show a thinning of hair, with hair loss being common in men. Older adulthood (65+) - Late adulthood is generally defined as the period from 65 on. Physical changes continue to occur at a rapid pace, and the brain also begins to lose neurons, resulting in memory loss and other changes. The average life expectancy of most individuals is around 80 years old - although accidents or disease may claim lives much earlier.
Infancy (0-3 years) - The first year of a baby’s life is a period of incredible growth, and a baby’s brain goes through critical periods during which stimulation is needed for proper development. Through physical growth and encouragement from caregivers, babies become smarter, and you will see this intellectual development with the baby’s newfound abilities. An infant’s brain development is the gate key for his intellectual development. During the first years of life, input such as visual stimuli or verbal language is necessary for areas of the brain to grow; without this growth, a child’s vision or speaking abilities might be impaired. You might have noticed your infant has different cries for hunger or pain, and you probably love to hear her babble and coo. These abilities show your child is gaining communication and pre-language skills. Infants from birth to 6 months will forget about objects they cannot see, but they will explore objects they can see and grab by putting them in their mouths. They will also follow moving objects with their eyes and look around at nearby objects. Infants in this stage will turn to look at a source of sound. These developmental milestones show a baby’s brain is developing and she is gaining new skills. Childhood (4-9 years) - Between 3 and 4 years old, your child should be able to understand what counting is and know some numbers. She can name at least a few colours and remember some parts of stories that are read to her. Her vocabulary will reach about 1,500 words. By the time he's 5, your child will speak about 2,000 words, and will use hundreds of words in sentences that become increasingly longer, according to the Raising Children's Network. He'll start developing a feeling for time, such as how long something takes. He'll have more questions than ever; enjoy rhymes and silly sounds; and may begin to argue with his parents when they tell him what to do. Adolescence (10-18 years) - Between 13 and 16 your child's ways of thinking about him, others, and the world shift to a much more adult level. He enters middle adolescence with a focus on things he can experience here and now, and moves to being able to imagine the range of possibilities life holds. Expect the following changes as a progression of development rather than as age-based milestones: arguing skills improve, reasoning skills improve, begins with the ability to apply concepts to specific examples, learns to use deductive reasoning and make educated guesses, learns to reason through problems even in the absence of concrete events or examples, becomes able to construct hypothetical solutions to a problem and evaluate which is best, focus on the future develops, begins with a present focus, mixed with some fantasy Adulthood (19-65 years) - Young adult thinking, especially in a person's early 20s, resembles adolescent thinking in many ways. Many young people see life from an idealistic point of view. People in their 20s have not always had the benefit of multiple life experiences, so they may still view the world from a naively trusting and black‐or‐white perspective. This is not to say that young adults do not question their world, challenge rules, or handle conflicts. These, and more, are normal developmental tasks that lead to realistic thinking and recognition of life's uncertainties Many young adults—particularly those who have attended college—develop the ability to reason logically, solve theoretical problems, and think abstractly. They have reached Piaget's formal operations stage of cognitive development. During this stage, individuals can also classify and compare objects and ideas, systematically seek solutions to problems, and consider future possibilities. As young adults confront and work through the grey areas of life, some may go on to develop post formal thinking, or practical street smarts. Developing the wisdom associated with post formal thinking is a lifelong process, which begins in the teenage years and is fully realized in the older adult years. Older adulthood (65+) - Late adulthood (old age) is generally considered to begin at about age 65. Erik Erikson suggests that at this time it is important to find meaning and satisfaction in life rather than to become bitter and disillusioned. Intellectual changes in late adulthood do not always result in reduction of ability. EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Infancy (0-3 years) – Bowlby (1953) argued that infants have an inbuilt need to form an attachment with a carer. The quality of this attachment may affect emotional development for the rest of the child’s life. Ainsworth et al (1978) and Marris (1996) argue that the quality of our early attachment influences the assumptions we make about our self and others. Infants who are securely attached will grow up with the emotional resources needed to cope with uncertainty in life. Infants who are insecurely attached may have a reduced ability to cope with stress and major life events Childhood (4-9 years) – children using their imagination to begin to understand the social roles that other people play. Children begin to imagine a ‘me’ – an idea of self. Relationships with other family members may influence how a child feels valued – a sense of self-worth. The way a child gets on with teachers and friends may influence their self – confidence. The child might develop a permanent sense of confidence or a sense of failure and inferiority. Adolescence (10-18 years) – during adolescence this sense of self continues to develop. An adolescent needs to develop a secure sense of identity. Identity theory was first proposed by Erickson (1963). A person needs a clear understanding of identity in order to feel secure when working with other people or in order to make a loving sexual attachment. This may be a stressful time as self –esteem may depend on the development of identity Adulthood (19-65 years) – Erickson argued that the key task of early adulthood was learning to cope with emotional attachment to a sexual partner. This may involve not being too self- centred or defensive and not becoming emotionally isolated. Later on adults may face risk of emotional ‘stagnation’ when they lose interest in social issues. According to Erickson, the developmental task is to stay emotionally involved with social life. Older adulthood (65+) – Erickson argued that older people need to develop a secure sense of self that enables them to cope with the physical changed associated with ageing and death. People who fail to make sense of their life might experience emotional despair.
Infancy (0-3 years) – infants appear to have an inbuilt tendency to interact with carers. By 2 months they may start to smile at human faces. At 3 months they will respond when adults talk. At 5 months infants can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people. Infants make their first relationships as they form an emotional attachment to carers. In the later stages of infancy, infants will play alongside other children. Childhood (4-9 years) – young children are emotionally attached and dependant on the adults that care for them. Children begin to learn social roles and behaviour within their family context. This is called first or primary socialisation. A family environment might provide a ‘safe base’ from which to explore social relationships with other children through play. Children will learn to co-operate with other children. As children grow older they will become increasingly independent and begin to form friendships based on sense of mutual trust. Friendships become increasingly important as children grow towards adolescence. Children may begin to form social networks or ‘circles’ of friends who like and agree with each other. Adolescence (10-18 years) – during adolescence a person’s sense of self – worth may be more influenced by other adolescents than by the family. Adolescents will copy the styles of dress, beliefs, cultural values and behaviours of their own network of friends. Historically, adolescence was seen as a time of ‘storm and stress’. Adolescents have to cope with the development of their own sexuality and the social transition to full independence from the family. Recent research suggests that many adolescents experience a smooth transition to adult roles without serious conflict with parents. Adulthood (19-65 years) –during early adulthood, friendship networks continue to be very important. For most people, early adulthood is dominated by the formation of adult sexual partnerships and by the need to find employment/establish a career. For many people marriage and parenthood represent major social developments in their life. Many adults in their forties and fifties experience time pressures that may limit their social activity. Mature adults may have to split their time between work, care of parents, other family commitments and wider social activities. Some nature adults report a reduction in the amount of social activity due to these pressures. Older adulthood (65+) – following retirement, older adults have more free time. However, many older adults may choose to increase their involvement with close friends and family rather than extend their network of social contacts.