Middle Childhood: Physical & Cognitive Development Chapter 9 Development Across the Lifespan
Physical Development in Middle Childhood: Slow but Steady ~Beginning at about age 6 and continuing to age 12, children go through middle childhood. This period is often referred to as the "school years". • In what ways do children grow during the school years, and what factors influence their growth?
Compared with the swift growth during the first 5 years, physical growth during middle childhood is slow but steady. • School-aged children grow, on average, 2 to 3 inches per year. • This is the only time during the life span when girls are, on average, taller than boys. • By age 11, the average girl is 4' 10". • The average 11-year-old boy is 4' 9 1/2 ".
(physical growth during middle childhood, continued) • During middle childhood, both boys and girls gain from 5 to 7 pounds a year. • Variations of a half a foot in children the same age are not uncommon. • Height and weight variations can be affected by poor nutrition and racial or ethnic background. • Smaller children in areas with poor nutrition (possibly related in part to racial/ethnic differences too)
Promoting Growth with Hormones: A controversy • Available only the last decade, prototropin and other artificial human growth hormones are being taken by over 20,000 abnormally short children. • Some developmentalists question whether shortness is serious enough to warrant drug intervention. • The drug is costly and may lead to premature puberty (which can restrict later growth). • These artificial hormones are effective adding over a foot of height
Nutrition is also linked to physical development during middle childhood • Proper nutrition is linked to positive personality traits • more alert • more energy • more persistent • more self confidence • More involved with peers • more positive emotions more often • less anxiety • more investigative
Nutritional Benefits Children with more nutritious diets had more energy & self confidence.
(Nutrition and physical development during middle childhood, continued) • Undernutrition & Malnutrition definitely lead to physical, social and cognitive difficulties for children in middle childhood • BUT, Overnutrition (the intake of too many calories) also presents problems!
(Nutrition and physical development during middle childhood, continued) • Obesity is defined as body weight that is more than 20 % above the average for a person of a given height and weight. • 10 % of all children are obese. • This proportion has risen 54 % since the 1960s
Balanced Diet? Recent studies have found that children’s diets are almost opposite the diet recommended by the US department of agriculture, which can lead to an increase in obesity.
(Nutrition and physical development during middle childhood, continued) • Despite growing rates of obesity, American society places a strong emphasis on thinness. • Concern about weight increasingly borders on obsession in the United States (especially for girls) • Research indicates that a substantial number of 6 year old girls worry about becoming “fat” • 40+% of 9 & 10 year olds are trying to lose weight! • WHY? Mostly due to our society’s preoccupation with being slim
Despite the focus on thinness in the U.S., the number of obese children is increasing. • Obesity can be caused by a combination of genetic and social characteristics. • School-age children tend to engage in little exercise and are not particularly fit. • The correlation between TV viewing and obesity is strong.
Even without regular exercise, however, children’s gross & fine motor skills develop substantially during the school years. • Fine Motor Skills • These continue to advance • Increased levels of myelin around the nerve cells raise the speed of messages traveling to muscles • Gross Motor Skills • Important advances, including muscle coordination • Gender differences likely the result of societal messages/expectations rather than motor skill
Gross Motor Skills Gross motor skills continue to develop and advance across the middle childhood years.
Physical in Middle Childhood: Motor Development Main Points • School-age children's gross and fine motor skills develop substantially over middle childhood. • An important improvement in gross motor skills is muscle coordination. • Fine motor skills advance because of increases in the amount of myelin insulating the brain neurons.
Health During Middle Childhood • For most children in the U.S., the common cold is about the most serious illness that occurs during middle childhood. • BUT colds are not uncommon during middle childhood • 1 in 9 has a chronic, persistent condition • Although life threatening illnesses have declined over the past 50 years, some chronic illnesses have become more prevalent
One illness that has increased in prevalence: Asthma ~ASTHMA,a chronic condition characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, has increased significantly in the last several decades. • Asthma attacks are triggered by a variety of factors. • respiratory infections • allergic reactions to airborne irritants • Stress • exercise
(asthma, continued) • Children can use an aerosol container with special mouthpiece to spray drugs into the lungs. • Some researchers believe the increase in asthma is due to pollution, dust due to better insulated buildings, and poverty
Rising Rates of Asthma Sine the 1980’s, the rate of asthma among children has almost doubled! Pollution, and better methods of detecting the disease are reasons this is so.
Health during middle childhood: Psychological Disorders ~ It is important that psychological disorders not be ignored in school age children (which often occurs because symptoms are different than those of adults) ~ Childhood depression is one psychological issue often overlooked by teachers and parents. ~ 2-5% of school age children suffer from depression ~ For 1 % depression is severe (express suicidal ideas)
Health during middle childhood: Psychological Disorders • All kids are sad sometimes. This is different than depression (depth of sadness, length distinguish) • Childhood depression is also characterized by the expression of exaggerated fears, clinginess, or avoidance of everyday activities. • In older children it may produce sulking, school problems, and acts of delinquency. • It can be treated with a variety of approaches.
Approaches to treating childhood depression… • Psychological Counseling • Effective! • Drugs • Controversial! • About 200,000 Prozac prescriptions written in 1996 for kids aged 6-12 (a 300% increase over the previous year!) • Criticisms: not approved for use with children and teens; lack of long term effectiveness of the drug; consequences to developing brains; lead in for further drug use
Another psychological issue that surfaces during middle childhood: anxiety disorders (8-9% of children) • Intense, uncontrollable anxiety about situations that most people would not find bothersome • Specific stimuli (germs, school) • Generalized anxiety (source can not be pinpointed) It is important not to ignore psychological issues during childhood! • disruptive to the child’s life • children with psychological problems are at higher risk for future disorders during adulthood
More Impacts on Development: Children with Special Needs • One student in a thousand requires special education services relating to VISUAL IMPAIRMENT,legally defined as difficulties in seeing that may include blindness (less than or 20/200 after correction) or partial sightedness (20/70 after correction). • Visual impairments can also include the inability to see up-close and disabilities in color, depth, and light perception.
(Children with Special Needs, continued) • AUDITORY IMPAIRMENT, a special need that involves the loss of hearing or some aspect of hearing, affects one to two percent of school-age children and can vary across a number of dimensions. • The loss may be limited to certain frequencies. • Loss in infancy is more severe than after age 3. • Children who have little or no exposure to the sound of language are unable to understand or produce oral language themselves. • Abstract thinking may be affected.
(Children with Special Needs, continued) • Auditory impairments are sometimes accompanied by SPEECH IMPAIRMENTS,speech that is impaired when it deviates so much from the speech of others that it calls attention to itself, interferes with communication, or produces maladjustments in the speaker. • 3 to 5 %of school-age children have speech impairments. • STUTTERING, a substantial disruption in the rhythm and fluency of speech is the most common speech impairment.
(Children with Special Needs, continued) • Some 2.3 million school-age children in the U.S. are officially labeled as having LEARNING DISABILITIES,difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. • Some suffer from dyslexia, a reading disability that can result in the reversal of letters during reading and writing, confusion between left and right, and difficulties in spelling
(Children with Special Needs, continued) • ATTENTION-DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) is a learning disability marked by inattention, impulsiveness, a low tolerance for frustration, and generally a great deal of inappropriate activity. • 3 to 5 percent of school-age children are estimated to have ADHD (3.5 million Americans under age 18!). • Ritalin or Dexadrine are stimulants used to reduce hyperactivity levels in children with ADHD.
Overprescribing Ritalin? U.S. doctors prescribe Ritalin for ADHD more frequently. Some experts argue the drug is overprescribed.
If a child is suspected of having ADHD or a learning disability, it is important that she or he be evaluated by a specialist. • Teachers & parents should be alert to the possibility that speech, auditory, and visual problems may be impacting a child (grades, friendships, etc.)
Intellectual Development in Middle Childhood: Piagetian Approaches to Cognitive Advances • The school-age child enters the CONCRETE OPERATIONAL STAGE, the period of cognitive development between 7 and 12 years of age, • Characterized by the active, and appropriate use of logic. • Children at this stage can easily solve conservation problems—logic used over appearance. • (for example whether the amount of liquid stays the same although poured into different shaped containers)
(more about Piaget’s views of intellectual development) • Because they are less egocentric, they can take multiple aspects of a situation into account, a process known as DECENTERING • They attain the concept of reversibility, realizing that a stimulus can be reversed, returning to its original form.
Decentering & Reversibility
So, during middle childhood, cognitive advances continue and the development of concrete operational skills becomes more established. • Children at this stage can understand such concepts as relationships between time and speed…
At the beginning of the concrete operational stage, kids reason that the 2 cars on these routes are traveling the same speed even though they arrive at the same time. Later, they realize the correct relationship between speed & distance.
Despite the obvious advances that occur during the concrete operational stage, children still experience a big limitation in their thinking: They are still tied to concrete physical reality! (no understanding of abstract/hypothetical/logic)
A brief critique of Piaget’s views of intellectual development • Piaget is criticized for underestimating children's abilities and for exaggerating the universality of the progression through the stages. • Research suggest that Piaget was more right than wrong. • Cross-cultural research increasingly implies children universally achieve concrete operations, and that training with conservation tasks improves performance.
Conservation Training Rural Aborigine children trail their urban counterparts in the development of their understanding of conservation; with training,they catch up.
Information Processing in Middle Childhood • Children become increasingly able to handle information because their memories improve. • MEMORY is the process by which information is initially encoded, stored, and retrieved. • Encoding is the process by which information is initially recorded in a form usable to memory. • The information must be stored, or placed and maintained in the memory system. • Information must be retrieved, located and brought into awareness.
(Information Processing in Middle Childhood, continued ) • During middle childhood, short-term memory capacity improves significantly. • META-MEMORY, an understanding about the processes that underlie memory emerge and improve during middle childhood. • Children use control strategies, conscious, intentionally used tactics to improve cognitive functioning. • Children can be trained to use control strategies and improve memory.
Vygotsky's Approach to Cognitive Development & Classroom Instruction • Vygotsky's approach has been particularly influential in the development of several classroom practices. • Classrooms are seen as places where children should have the opportunity to try out new activities. • Specifically, Vygotsky suggests that children should focus on activities that involve interaction with others.
(Vygotsky's Approach, continued) • Cooperative learning is a strategy used in education that incorporates several aspects of Vygotsky's theory (kids work together to achieve goals). • Reciprocal teaching, a technique where students are taught to skim the content of a passage, raise questions about its central point, summarize the passage, and finally, predict what will happen next, help lead students through the zone of proximal development. • Significant success rates with raising reading comprehension levels
Language Development During Middle Childhood • Vocabulary continues to increase during the school years. • School-age children's mastery of grammar improves. • Children's understanding of syntax, the rules that indicate how words and phrases can be combined to form sentences, grows during childhood. • Certain phonemes, units of sound, remain troublesome (j, v, h, zh).
(Language Development During Middle Childhood, continued) • School-age children may have difficulty decoding sentences when the meaning depends on intonation, or tone of voice. • Children become more competent in their use of pragmatics, the rules governing the use of language to communicate in a social context. • Language helps children control their behavior. • One of the most significant developments in middle childhood is the increase in METALINGUISTIC AWARENESS, an understanding of one's own use of language.
(Language Development During Middle Childhood, continued) BILINGUALISM is the use of more than one language. • English is a second language for more than 32 million Americans. • Being bilingual may have cognitive advantages. • greater cognitive flexibility • greater metalinguistic awareness • may improve scores on IQ tests
The Voices of America The number of U.S. residents over the age of five who speak a language other than English at home.
(Language Development During Middle Childhood, continued) • The effectiveness of language immersionprograms where subjects are taught in a foreign language show mixed results. • All subjects in a school taught in a foreign language! ~Benefits include increased self esteem ~Negative results common when minority groups immersed in English only programs ~Positive results when children (especially majority group children) are learning languages not spoken by the dominant culture