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MEM 505: CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT 1

PHYSICAL AND MOTOR DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN AND


ADOLESCENTS

PHYSICAL AND MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

Early Childhood
Age range: 2 to 6 years
Known to us as preschool age

Physical Development during Early Childhood
Physical development in children follows a directional pattern.
1. The rapid increase in body size of the rst two years tapers off into a
slower growth pattern. On average, children add 2 to 3 inches in height
and about 5 pounds in weight each year. Boys continue to be slightly
larger than girls.
2. Large muscles develop before small muscles. Muscles in the body's core,
legs and arms develop before those in the fingers and hands. Children
learn how to perform gross (or large) motor skills such as walking before
they learn to perform fine (or small) motor skills such as drawing.
3. The center of the body develops before the outer regions. Muscles located
at the core of the body become stronger and develop sooner than those in
the feet and hands.
4. Development goes from the top down, from the head to the toes. This is
why babies learn to hold their heads up before they learn how to crawl.

Motor Development during Early Childhood
As child grows, his nervous system becomes more mature. As this happens,
the child becomes more and more capable of performing increasing complex actions.
Motor development may vary somewhat. However, nearly all children begin to
exhibit these motor skills at a fairly consistent rate unless some type of disability is
present (Bayley, 1993). When a child is healthy, he strengthens all his muscles,
establishes his coordination, acquires equilibrium, fine tunes movement of his small
muscles, and learns to move for specific purposes progressively (Gines, et al., 1998).
There are two types of motor skills:
Gross (or large) motor skills involve the larger muscles including the arms and
legs. Actions requiring gross motor skills include walking, running, balance and
coordination. When evaluating gross motor skills, the factors that experts
look at include strength, muscle tone, movement quality and the range of
movement.
Fine (or small) motor skills involve the smaller muscles in the fingers, toes, eyes
and other areas. The actions that require fine motor skills tend to be more
intricate, such as drawing, writing, grasping objects, throwing, waving and
catching.
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Brain Development during Early Childhood
Between ages 2 and 6, the brain increases from 70 percent of its adults weight
to 70 percent. At the same time, children improves in a wide variety of skills- these
are physical coordination, perception, attention, memory, language, logical thinking,
and imagination. Aside to increasing in weight, the brain undergoes much reshaping
and refining. By age 4, many parts of the cortex have overproduced synapses. In
some regions, such as the frontal lobes, the number of synapses is nearly double the
adult value. Together, synaptic growth and myelination of neural fibers result in a
high energy level.
Further, language skills, typically housed in the left hemisphere of the brain,
increase at an astonishing pace in early childhood, and they support childrens
increasing control over behaviour, also mediated by the frontal lobes. In contrast,
spatial skills, usually located in the right hemisphere, such as giving directions,
drawing pictures, and recognizing geometric shapes, develop gradually over
childhood and adolescence (Berke, 2008).

HANDEDNESS
Handedness is established between 3 to 6 years. During this period, children
abandon the tendency to shift from the use of one hand to the use of the other hand.
They begin to concentrate on learning skills with one hand as the dominant hand and
the other as auxiliary hand.
Parents and teachers are advised to train and encourage the child to use his
right hand because he is born into a right-handed world. (Gines, et al., 1998)

Middle Childhood
Age range: 6 to 12 years
Known as Grade 1 to 6 pupils

Physical Development during Middle Childhood
Childrens bodies change a lot during this development. Bones broaden and
lengthen dramatically. In general, children will grow an average of 2-3 inches taller
each year throughout this stage. As young children enter to this period, boys are
generally taller than girls, but at the end of middle childhood, the growth trend in
height will reverse. Furthermore, both boys and girls are building muscle. Generally,
children will gain 6 to 7 pounds a year each during the period. Girls tend to retain
more fatty tissue than boys in preparation for puberty.

Motor Development during Middle Childhood
Gross Motor Skills Development
During middle childhood, children can do large-scale body movements.
Typically, boys develop these skills slightly faster than do girls, except for skills
involving balance and precise movements such as skipping, jumping and hopping.
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Children in this stage also refine their control over gross motor skills. They are
able to gain this improved control and coordination due to increases in their
flexibility, equilibrium, and agility. They also learn how to synchronize the movement
of their body's various parts, allowing for the development of smoother, more
coordinated whole-body movement routines such as are needed for participating in
organized sports.
Fine Motor Skills Development
Children in middle childhood also continue to hone their fine motor skills.
Contrary to gross motor skills development, girls tend to develop fine motor skills
slightly faster than do boys.
Specifically, middle-childhood-aged children show dramatic improvements
with their penmanship. Their artistic ability can truly begin to shine during this period
as they also develop the ability to draw complex and detailed pictures incorporating
depth cues and 3D elements and they become more imaginative.
During this stage, children also learn how to use their hands to successfully
complete manual activities other than drawing or writing. For example, they become
capable of executing complex detail-oriented craft projects involving beading,
sewing, scrap booking, building models, and good at using simple tools.

Brain Development during Middle Childhood
1. The frontal lobes of the cortex show a slight increase in surface area between
ages 5 and 7 due to continuing myelinization.
2. The corpus callosum thickens, leading to improved communication between
the two cortical hemispheres.
3. Synaptic pruning continues, and lateralization of the cerebral hemispheres
increases over the school years.
4. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that permit neurons to communicate across
synapses. Secretions of particular neurotransmitters are related to cognitive
performance.
5. Brain functioning may also change because of an increase in androgens that
occurs in both boys and girls around age 7 to 8.

Adolescence
Physical Development during Adolescence
During this developmental stage, adolescents experience two significant
changes in physical development. These are:
1. Adolescent or Pubertal Growth Spurt. This refers to the rapid acceleration in
height and weight. Girls enter the rapid growth earlier than boys. Girls may
begin as early as age 9 or as late as age 12, while boys may begin as early as 12
or as late as 16. Typically, the spurt for girls occurs two years earlier than boys.
Aside from growing taller and heavier, the body assumes an adult-like
appearance.
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2. Puberty. This is the emergent of primary and secondary sex characteristics,
and the point which the individual becomes physically capable of sexual
reproduction.
Primary sex characteristics include development of gonads (testes for
boys and ovaries for girls), and production of sex hormones.
Secondary sex characteristics include development of body form
(triangular for boys and hourglass for girls), growth of pubic hairs, and
menarche (first menstrual period for girls) and penis growth for boys.
(Gines, et al., 1998)

Motor Development during Adolescence
Gross Motor Skills Development & Fine Motor Skills Development
Gross and fine motor skills improve continuously during adolescence.
Adolescents can do more complex and strenuous activities compare when they were
in their middle childhood.

Brain Development during Adolescence
1. Frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and problem solving, develop.
2. Synaptic growth spurts most in temporal and parietal lobes.
3. Synaptic pruning occurs mostly in frontal lobes, and adolescent loses three
percent matter in frontal lobes.

ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE ON BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Life Experience
Increased Stimulation

FACTORS AFFECTING DEVELOPMENT
Maternal Nutrition
Maternal Nutrition during Pregnancy
Womens nutrient needs increase during pregnancy and lactation. It is
essential to increase the nutrient requirements to protect maternal and infant
health. Otherwise, it may lead to serious problem for women and infants.
During pregnancy, all women need more food, a varied diet and
micronutrient supplements as prescribed by doctor. When energy and other
nutrient intake do not increase, the womans body own reserves are used,
leaving her weakened. In the second and particularly the third trimester,
energy needs increase. Energy boosters can be found in whole-wheat bread,
ginger bread and other wheat products. Banana is also a good source of
energy and fiber. Inadequate weight gain during pregnancy often results in
low birth weight, which increases an infants risk of dying. Pregnant women
also require taking more nutrients such as foliate, protein, iron, iodine, and
vitamin A. A sufficient amount of these nutrients will prevent maternal
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complication and death, birth defects, and increased physical and mental
potential of the child (Linkages & CORE, 2004).
It is good to eat food that is rich in foliate especially during the first
trimester. Foliate is good for the development of babys nervous system and it
is one of the B complex group vitamins which has important role in normal
development of the fetus. Good sources of foliate are found in fortified
cereals, citrus fruits, dried beans and peas, and green and leaf vegetables.
It is highly recommended to eat food that is rich in calcium and vitamin
D during the onset of second trimester. They help for babys development of
strong bones and teeth. Calcium may also help in mother's nervous,
circulatory, and muscular system. Foods which contain omega 3 fatty acids are
also essential for babys brain development.
Maternal Nutrition during Lactation
Lactation places high demands on maternal stores of energy, protein,
and other nutrients. Eating foods which provide energy and rich in protein
and other nutrients help to produce adequate amount of breast milk and
sustain milk production. Mothers who do not get ample energy and nutrients
in their diets risk maternal depletion.
Brest milk is best for baby because it contains all the vitamins and
nutrients that baby needs for growth and development during the first six
months of life. It is filled with disease-fighting substances that protect the
baby from having illness. Garlic, oatmeal, spinach, sweet potato, and
garbanzo beans are foods that promote breath health and milk production.
Oatmeal helps to produce the hormone oxytocin which is essential for milk
production and helps mother to bond with her child and sweet potatoes are
rich in beta-carotene which helps to increase milk supply.
Child Nutrition

Malnutrition remains a major health issue in the Philippines and it
seriously affects the physical and mental development of children nowadays.
Poverty is the chief reason why Filipino children do not get nutrients and
energy required for their growth and development.

Child nutrition does not mean allowing your children to eat what they
want but it should be a balance between nutrients and energy as required in
their developmental stage. Childs diet should be focused on natural, fresh of
nutrient and energy that are found in milk, fruits, and vegetables. Parents
should encourage their children to have a positive attitude towards healthy
eating and should also avoid fad foods and drastic dieting for their children.

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Pre-school childrens diet must be high in vitamins and minerals, and at
this stage, an adequate supply of calcium, iron, protein and vitamins A and B is
essential. Calcium helps children to have healthy bones and teeth. Good
sources of calcium are found in dairy products, fortified cereals, dark leafy
vegetables and white bread. Iron-rich foods such as red meat help to prevent
delay in development, poor weight gain, and anemia.

Pre-school children are required to have food that provides high in
energy along with foods that give vitamins and minerals because in this
period, children grow fast and become more active. Parents should remember
that children should have small and frequent meals to sustain their energy
level.

Schoolchildrens diet should include a good supply of vitamins,
minerals, and protein the same nutritional and energy requirements as
required for pre-schoolers. But during this developmental period, children are
prone to obesity or overweight. Parents should encourage their children to
have a healthy lifestyle.

Early Sensory Stimulation

FACTORS AFFECTING GROWTH
Genetic History
Nutrition
Exercise
Sleep
Emotional Well-Being

EXCEPTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Physical Disability
This is any impairment which hinders or limits gross or fine motor ability.
Examples of physical abilities are:
1. Cerebral palsy
2. Muscular dystrophy
3. Paraplegia (acquired spinal injury)
4. Arthritis
Sensory Impairment
This means impairment of one of the senses. Examples of sensory
impairment:
1. Visual Impairment: e.g. myopia- nearsighted and hyperopia- farsighted
2. Auditory Impairment e.g. presbycusis (age-related hearing loss)
3. Olfactory Impairment e.g. anosmia (inability to smell) and dysosmia
(things smell different than they should be)
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4. Somatosensory Impairment e.g. insensitivity to stimuli such as pain,
heat, or cold
5. Gustatory Impairment e.g. ageusia (complete loss of taste) and
dysgeusis (distortion in sense of taste)
Learning Disability
This refers to learning challenges characterized by inadequate
development of specific academic, language, and speech abilities. Among
these are:
1. Dyslexia- reading disability
2. Dysgraphia- writing disability
3. Dyscalculia- math disability.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
It is neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a persons ability to pay
attention.

Works Cited
Bayley, N., 1993. Bayley Scales of Infant Development. 2nd ed. New York: Psychological
Corporation.
Berke, L., 2008. Infants and Children: Prenatal Through Middle Childhood. 6th ed. Illinois:
Person-Longman.
Gines, A. C. et al., 1998. Developmental Psychology: A Textbook for College Students in
Pschology and Teacher Education. Manila: Rex Bookstore, Inc..
Linkages & CORE, 2004. Maternal Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation. [Online]
Available at:
http://www.coregroup.org/storage/documents/Workingpapers/MaternalNutritionDietaryGuide
_AED.pdf
[Accessed 4 September 2013].