Human development may be affected by biological, psychological, social and emotional factors. As people grow, humans tend to undergo different stages of life which can be later determined and discussed after his full development. This paper will give an analysis of how certain development of human happens from the early development until the near end of his life.
There are certain factors as to why and how hearing impairment occurs which can be present at birth or later develop during his childhood or adulthood.
The study about gifted children is still on progress. Children who are gifted tend to develop asynchronously; wherein their minds developed first before their physical growth followed by his cognitive and emotional functions. A bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is something special. Although there are challenges in raising grandchildren, they still take the full time responsibility in taking care of their grandchildren, because older people becomes satisfied when they get closer to someone who are close to them Carstensen (1998) and tends to narrow their social networks (Santrock, 2007).
Having a stepfamily will definitely affect the behavior of a child, and here, his social and emotional being is affected as he grows up. People have different views about death and people have different styles on how to deal with it. Here, emotional development happens, where a certain person tends to find someone who will give attention and comfort to them.
It is therefore concluded that a number of theories can be applied when we talk about human development such as the Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin, Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory, Socio-emotional selectivity theory, Disengagement theory, Activity Theory and Reconstruction Theory. In the study of human development, significant changes takes place during infancy through the end of his life which can be caused by several factors which includes physical, emotional, social, and psychological effects. Being deaf, being a gifted child, being a grandparent who is willing to raise their grandchildren, living with stepfamily and the acceptance of death, are some examples of those instances which a person has to deal with critically because it is not the standard. There are advantages and disadvantages in being on those situations and state so there must be a proper knowledge on how to properly deal with those situation. This will be made possible with the help of the people concern in order to shape up the behavior of the person involved in the proper way.
Analysis I :
Hearing impairment is a disability that consists of either complete or partial ability of someone detecting or understanding sounds. Hearing impairment can be caused by various environmental and physical factors and it may happen to any individual or organism that perceives sound. Hearing impairment always exists when an individual is not sensitive to the sounds that are normally heard by same individuals of its kind. Hearing impairment can be categorized in terms of how much louder a sound can be made above the average levels for the individual to detect it. An individual is said to be in a condition of profound deafness when even the loudest noises that are produced by devices used to measure sound cannot be detected. Conductive hearing loss is a condition that occurs when conduction of the sound through the outer or middle ear is not carried out properly. This type of impairment is considered to be moderate to mild because sounds can still be heard by the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss is caused by; ear canal obstruction, inner ear abnormalities, middle ear abnormalities or due to otosclerosis. Sensor neural hearing loss is caused by lack of sensitivity in the inner ear or impairment of the auditory nervous system. It can be severe enough to a point of leading to total deafness. This kind of hearing loss may be caused by disorders in the hair cells of Corti which is found in the cochlea.
The major causes of deafness include long-term exposure to environmental noise; this is a caused by external noises, the U.S EPA has set a level of 70 dB (A) for a period of 24 hour exposure to be the level expected to protect the public from losing their hearing ability and suffering from other effects of noise like learning detriment and disturbance during sleep. Hearing loss may also be inherited by the existence of dominant and recessive genes that are able to cause mild or profound hearing impairment. In this case if a family is known to have a dominant gene for deafness, then this gene continues across generations because it manifests itself in the children of the following generations even if it is just from one parent. The other factor that may lead to deafness is diseases; some diseases like measles and meningitis can cause damage to the auditory nerve hence leading to deafness. Currently autoimmune disease has been identified as a cause of cochlear damage although it’s rare. (www.eeoc.gov). There are medications that are responsible for causing irreversible damage to the ear; an example of this is the amino glycosides and aspirin. Physical trauma may also cause hearing impairment, this may be as a result of; damage to the ear or the brain parts that process the information conveyed by the ears, head loss or exposure to very loud noise.
The severity of hearing loss is measured by determining the degree of loudness in decibels that a sound should attain before it is detected by an individual. The following are the levels of hearing loss and the corresponding ranges of decibel:
Mild, this ranges between 20 and 40 dB(decibels), moderate hearing loss ranges between 41 and 55 decibels, moderately severe is between 56 and 70 decibels, severe is between 71 and 90 decibels and profound hearing loss is 90decibels and above.
The age at which deafness occurs is important in acquiring the spoken language. If the hearing loss occurs at an early age then acquiring spoken language and social skills may be a problem for the individual. Hearing aids that are meant to amplify the incoming sound can solve most of the problems caused by hearing impairment but are seen as insufficient and this has led to Cochlear implants that stimulate the hair cell nerves artificially through provision of an electric impulse responsible for the firing of the hair cells. This method is quite expensive and it also requires advanced programming for it to be effective. As part of the rehabilitation process to those people who have developed hearing problems it is necessary to give the support and technical adaptations (Marschark, 1997). The interview shows that implants are useful in treating mild to profound hearing loss when the defect came before the individual had acquired language and social skills.
The challenges facing deaf people who lose their hearing capacity later in life are that they may have to adapt the use of implants or hearing aids and also they are met with the challenge of having to develop reading and speaking skills. Another challenge is in the use of telephones; the affected person may need to use an interpreter or relay services to use a phone. Depression and loneliness is a problem for the deaf due to isolation and the difficult in accepting the disability. Hearing problems have also led to break up of many relationships due to lack of communication or miscommunication between family members. Loss of hearing ability is mainly associated with old age and therefore most people opt not to have the hearing aids for the fear that they might look old. The other challenge is that a deaf child must avoid sports which may cause head injury leading to a more serious problem. The other treatment of deafness is gene therapy. This is a research that has been done on mice and guinea pigs, it involves the re-growth of cochlear hair cells so as to attract neuronal processes that can restore the hearing ability, it is hoped that this will be possible one day on humans. (BBC, On-line news)
The interview indicated that most deaf people prefer eating meat, fruits and desserts. The interview indicated that most deaf people do not like eating a lot of vegetables as compared to the hearing community. Generally deaf people require a normal diet just like the hearing community. Nutritionists have argued that a deaf person has no difference with a hearing person apart from their hearing capacity and so deaf people deserve the same diet though with lots of protein to encourage the growth of their hair cells. People with hearing impairment face the following problems in their health; the doctors do not look at them when they are explaining their health status, some doctors generally refuse to accept that the patient cannot hear and other doctors refuse to write things down for the deaf patients. The life span of most deaf people was found to be lower than that of the hearing community; this could have been due to the kind of depression they live with due to isolation from the rest of the community. The eating behavior of the deaf people was found to have an impact on their health (Glickman and Sanjay, 2003).
What it means to be gifted has been debated for years, as well as how to define giftedness. Joseph Renzulli describes being gifted as having “three basic traits: above-average general and/or specific abilities, high levels of task commitment (motivation), and high levels of creativity” (NAGC, 2008, para.14). Despite disagreements on how to define this form of intelligence, the general consensus for testing a child is through a standard intelligence test where the score must show an I.Q. of 130 or higher to be considered gifted. Gifted children can be intense, impatient, and exhausting in their quest to know everything. They may challenge authority and traditions, not out of disrespect, but out of a need to know “why”.
A gifted child’s development is asynchronous, where the mind is developing at a faster rate than the physical and emotional aspects. A gifted child may have the intellect of one years older and the emotions of a younger child. Because of their intellectual capabilities, adults often expect gifted children to be emotionally mature for their age as well. Another misconception of gifted children is that their intelligence covers all areas. Gifted children may struggle in some subjects just like other children and can have learning disabilities like dyslexia (Distin, 2006, pg.33). Because of their ability to excel in some subjects, any difficulty or struggle for a gifted child can lower their self-esteem.
Language, cognition, and information processing seem to be higher or better in gifted children. Memory is a little more difficult as a gifted child may have excellent memory skills when it comes to past events, but cannot remember to turn in their homework. Attention is another aspect of gifted children that can be advanced in one way and seemingly non-existent in others. Gifted children can focus on a task that interests them for hours and in other situations may seem to have difficulty staying focused.
Gifted children have a sense of feeling different from others and are often in the minority with their peers. Their intellect and ability opens the door for these children to be mocked and teased. Due to large vocabularies and a need to voice everything they know, gifted children can be viewed as show-offs. Some gifted children are lonely and isolated, unable to relate to other children their age. Often times these children prefer the company of adults or older children more on their wavelength. Parents of gifted children need to encourage their children and help them fit into the world without compromising who they are. Home needs to be a haven for these children, where they are listened to and accepted for who they are.
Gifted adolescents go through the same trials and tribulations as “normal” adolescents but have the additional burden of dealing with their abilities. A need to fit in and conform may cause these adolescents to “dumb down” their intellect. Underachievement can also be a problem if the school is not challenging enough. The pressure from society and themselves to choose a career and get into a good college is greater for gifted children. It is not uncommon for a gifted freshman in high school to be touring MIT on spring break.
Once gifted children become adults, not much is known about them. Gifted children may not grow up to be gifted adults because they lose their motivation. Having been pushed too hard for too many years, they decide to quit trying to excel (Santrock, 2007, pg.315).
Social- Emotional and Personality Development Analysis
When thinking of how an individual develops his or her personality, the immediate factors in that individual’s life such as family, environment, and peer relations come to mind. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development also plays a major part. Depending on when things happen in one’s life and how far that individual is cognately developed, determines how it will affect that individual. Let’s take a look at blended or stepfamilies, in which more than half of American families live in today (Arnold, 1998). According to National Stepfamily Resource Center (2006), “A stepfamily is a family in which one or both of the adult partners bring children from a previous relationship.
If a child is placed in a stepfamily in the sensorimotor stage, which is the first stage of cognitive development and lasts form birth to about two years old, he or she has no real understanding of what a stepparent is. That child will only understand that there a how many people are in the household, including parents and other children if there are any. This is the stage where children become aware of object permanence. Object permanence is when a child gets an understanding that even if something is out of their sight, it still exists (Santrock, 2007). Therefore, if a family were to break apart, the child will know that the people who are no longer around everyday still exist and if verbally may continue to ask about them. However, the child will still not understand the situation.
The second stage of cognitive development called the preoperational stage which lasts from age two to seven, is when “children begin to represent the world, through words, images, and drawings” (Santrock, 2007). In this stage a child may be asked to discuss or draw a picture or his or her family. If the child happens to live in a stepfamily situation and has the other biological parent involved in his or her life, that child may discuss or draw all parents with no real definite identification of who is who. For example, a child may live with his or her biological mother and stepfather, but his or her biological father is heavily involved in the child’s life, that child may draw a picture with a mother and two fathers, and verbally call both males “daddy”. If the child only knows the stepfather, then that is who will be identified as the father. Therefore, the child has a concrete understanding of “mommy and daddy”, but not of the real situation. Of course, as children grow closer to the end of this stage, they will have a better understanding of their individual situation.
In the concrete operational stage, the Piaget’s third stage of cognitive development which lasts from about age seven to age eleven, children start to have a concrete and logical understanding of what is going on around them. If a child is brought into a stepfamily in this stage, that child may be a little resistant, because he or she has a clear understanding that the stepparent is not his or her biological parent and may use logic to understand that the stepparent is really there for his or her biological parent. This may create the feeling that the stepparent is trying to take the biological parent away from him or her. Also, if children of the stepparent are involved there is a high potential for stepsibling rivalry. Nevertheless, this is a complicated stage for anything going on in a child’s life.
The last and final stage, according to Piaget, is the formal operational stage. In the formal operational stage which happens between the age of eleven and fifteen, “individuals move beyond concrete experiences and think in more abstract and logical ways” (Santrock, 2007). Santrock (2007) also states, “Accompanying the abstract nature of formal operational thought is thought full of idealism and possibilities.” Therefore, when a child is placed in a stepfamily in this stage, that child is more prone to think of how he or she can use this to their advantage. Most likely, the stepparent will meet the child’s representative self as opposed to who they truly are. The child may even be soo convincing that he or she tricks their biological parent. This is a stage in which adolescents are trying to figure out who he or she really is, at the same time please others by being who he or she should be. This can be a stage of total confusion.
In conclusion, no matter when a child is placed in a stepfamily the transition will differ in each and every individual situation. Some children will take it well regardless of the age or stage of cognitive development, others not so well. Other factors may also play a major part in how well a child handles the situation such as gender, ethnicity, and cultural differences. However, it is ultimately up to the adults to act like adults and do their best to try ease the child into the new situation as opposed to force something on the child or children involved.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Grand parenting is not necessarily planned, it depends on when our children decide to become parents, and hopefully they have the opportunity to enjoy them and see them grow up. Having a grandchild usually allows grandparents to enjoy their grandchildren without having to worry about being too restrictive, and they feel more relaxed because not all the responsibility has to be taken by them. Grand parents seem to have feelings of satisfaction due to the emotional rewards of companionship and the chance to see the prolongation of their family. (Santrock, 2007).
The role of grandparents has become more complex nowadays due to the increasing number of grandchildren living with them. Some circumstances like divorce or unplanned pregnancies on adolescents force grandparents to assume more responsibilities where they become much more involved with their grandchildren than regular grandparents. (Santrock, 2007). “In 1980, 2.3 million grandchildren lived with their grandparents, but in 2000 that figure had reached 5.6 million according with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2001.”
According to the interview, raising grandchildren is a rewarding experience in several aspects, one of them is that it has created a special bond with the new member of the family, which helps them not feel lonely and useless. Santrock, 2007, stated that older adults will be more satisfied with their lives if they keep themselves active. Being able to see the fruit of their next generation was another important reward because grandparents can feel proud to witness the extension of the family and can be pleased if they find physical or personality similarities with them.
Raising grandchildren has many advantages but also has some challenges. One of the advantages is that they have had the experience of raising children and will try not to make the same mistakes they did with them. Grandparents have more time to dedicate to their grandchildren since they may have already retired and makes them have something to do with their time. According with the interview, raising a grandchild has brought the couple closer because both of them are working towards the same goal. At the same time their social life has improved because more friends and family get together to visit and have news about the baby. Therefore is less likely to encounter feelings of depression and loneliness that seem to be more common at old age.(Santrock, 2007).
Grand parenting can help build a strong attachment with the grandchild which brings feelings of joy and happiness. Grandparents might encounter challenges, one of them is that they get tired easily and have less physical energy. The subject of the interview who is 70 years old stated that it was difficult getting up several times in the middle of the night to feed and change the baby, and also trying to keep up with him when he started walking. Another challenge is that older adults are most likely to have medical problems which limits the quality of care for the grandchild. Although the subject does not have any serious health conditions, it has been hard to carry the baby due to back problems and arthritis. Grandparents might be more limited financially since they could be retired and not receive a substantial income. “Grandparents who take in grandchildren are in better health, better educated, are more likely to be working outside the home and are younger than grandparents who move in with their children.”(Santrock, 2007).
It is very hard for older adults raising grandchildren to face and accept the reality that they are not going to live that much longer to see their grandchildren grow up as an adults. Grandparents that are very attached to their grandchildren have difficulty getting used to this thought and wish they had many more years to come.
Despite the challenges the subject has had, raising her grandchild has brought unlimited satisfactions to her life. It is a role that was not expected but came as a gift from God and would do it all over again. It has enhanced her life in a way she never imagined. Grandparents that have the opportunity to raise grandchildren seem to receive with open arms the new family member and their lives take a fulfilled positive direction.
End of Life Analysis
End-of-Life is a term that refers to a certain period of time in one’s life that is filled with disabilities and diseases, which can no longer be treated, until the time of death. In other words, it is the final stage of life. For those who are fortunate, there will be time to plan for in-home care, preparation and/or finalization of important business (i.e. finances, wills, burial, insurance, etc), and family members will hopefully make themselves more available to spend quality time and create more memories. However, for some in this stage, and those who have to endure experiencing their loves one at this stage, these plans cannot be done. There is a saying that the only thing guaranteed in life or death and taxes. However, true the saying, no one ever knows the date or hour that death shall appear. It is very important that people learn to come to terms with end-of-life issues, because a lot of the time people do not understand or cannot cope with death.
There are many factors that can determine how one can view death. For example, in the developmental state, a child may watch television and begin to believe that death is reversible, which means that her dead cat may comeback to life. Some cultures believe that death is a way to postpone a war with enemies, or look upon it as a spiritual transformation; others view death as a cause (i.e. dying of HIV for being homosexual). Not only do people view death differently, but they also cope with death in many different ways.
Dealing with death, or grief, can be a shock to some; others can be preoccupied with ways that death could have been avoided (i.e. change in medication, more doctors appointments, change in diet, etc); some become depressed or angry and withdraw from normal social activities; many just accept it and allow time to heal the pain of losing a loved one. Everyone has different coping mechanisms, however there will be times when these mechanisms will simply not be enough, especially when there is a loss of a child.
Jermy and Hollie were a very happy newlywed couple. Kaden would be the first child for both, and also the second grandchild for her parents. Overall, Kaden’s arrival was very highly anticipated. It was only 2 weeks before his actual due date when Hollie went in for her routine ultrasound. There was no heartbeat so the doctor was paged and she was ultimately rushed upstairs in the prenatal unit. After everything was checked and re-checked the dreadful news was given that the baby had no heartbeat and was dead. Of course it was devastating to them to have their child gone before he was actually born, but even more devastating was the fact that Hollie had to go through a natural deliver. It had to have been horrible to lose your baby twice- once in the womb and then again after deliver. Their families and friends were very supportive and Kaden was given a full burial service at church, with the gravesite ceremony as well. Both parents really broke down at the graveyard, but tried as hard as they could to be strong for each other in the days following. Jermy made sure that Hollie was never left alone, and he kept busy by spending time with his parents and sisters. He tried his best to spend as much time with his wife as possible but it was easier to deal with the baby’s demise by not spending enough time around each other to discuss- Hollie blamed herself and Jermy felt that he could have made it to her appointment sooner. Eventually they plan to have more children, but it is hard to move on because neither has the strength to take down all of the room decorations and put away all of the baby clothes. Both opted to try a little counseling but neither has made the effort to actually go forward with the idea. After interviewing the couple, it was evident that both really miss Kaden but will not allow the birth of the next child to forget how wonderful it was to have him, even if it was just in the mother’s womb.
Summary of All Areas
I. Biological and Psychological Development
According to (Santrock, 2007) although Darwin introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859, his ideas only recently have become a popular framework for explaining behavior. Psychology’s newest approach, evolutionary psychology, emphasizes the importance of adaptation, reproduction, and “survival of the fittest” in shaping behavior (Santrock, 2007). “Fit” in this sense refers to the ability to bear offspring that survive long enough to bear offspring of their own (Santrock, 2007). In this view, the evolutionary process of natural selection has favored behaviors that increase our reproductive success, our ability to pass our genes to the next generation (Durrant & Ellis, 2003; Kenrick, Lee, & Butler, 2003).
II. Development of Cognitive Process
Piaget’s theory is a general, unifying story of how biology and experience sculpt the infant’s cognitive development (Santrock, 2007). Piaget’s theory is a major developmental theory (Santrock, 2007). Another developmental theory that focuses on children’s cognition is Vygotsky’s theory (Santrock, 2007). Like Piaget, Vygotsky emphasized that children actively construct their knowledge and understanding (Santrock, 2007). In Piaget’s theory, children develop ways of thinking and understanding by their actions and interactions with the physical world (Santrock, 2007). They develop their ways of thinking and understanding primarily through social interaction (Berninger & others, 2004). Their cognitive development depends on the tools provided by society, and their minds are shaped by the cultural context in which they live (Elkind, 2004; Kozulin & others, 2003; Stetsenko & Arievitch, 2004).According to (Santrock) Zone of proximal development (ZPD) is Vygotsky’s term for the range of tasks that are too difficult for the child to master alone but that can be learned with guidance and assistance of adults or more-skilled children. According to (Santrock) Scaffolding in cognitive development, Vygotsky used this term to describe the changing support over the course of a teaching session, with the more-skilled person adjusting guidance to fit the child’s current performance level (Santrock, 2007).
III. Development of Social-Emotional Identity and Personality
Socioemotional selectivity theory states that older adults become more selective about their social networks. Because they place a high value on emotional satisfaction, older adults often spend more time with familiar individuals with whom they have had rewarding relationships. Socioemotional selectivity theory also focuses on the types of goals that individuals are motivated to achieve (Carstensen, Mikels, & Mather, 2006, in press; Carstensen & others, 2003; Charles & Carstensen, 2004; Fung & Carstensen, 2004; Kennedy, Mather, & Carstensen, 2004). According to the theory, motivation for knowledge-related goals starts relatively high in the early years of life, peaks in adolescence and early adulthood, then declines in middle and late adulthood (Santrock, 2007). According to (Santrock, 2007) most personality psychologists believe that personality is a product of trait-situation interaction. In other words, both traits and situational (context) factors must be considered to understand personality (Ackerman, Kyllonen, & Roberts, 1999; Cervone & Mischel, 2002; Mischel, 2004). Identity versus identity confusion Erikson’s fifth stage of development, which occurs during the adolescent years; adolescents are faced with finding out who they are, what they are all about, and where they are going in life.
IV. DEVELOPMENTAL COMPETENCIES AND CHALLENGES FOR LATE ADULTHOOD
Friends play an important role in the support systems of older adults (Troll, 1999).
According to (Santrock, 2007) older adults tend to narrow their social networks. Aging expert Laura Carstensen (1998) concluded that people choose close friends over new friends as they grow older.
Gender differences in friendship continue among older adults. In one recent study of 128 married older adults, women were more depressed than men if they did not have a best friend, but women who did have a friend reported lower levels of depression (Antonucci, Lansford, & Akiyama, 2001).
Disengagement theory states that to cope effectively, older adults should gradually withdraw from society (Santrock, 2007). This theory was proposed almost half a century ago (Cumming & Henry, 1961). Activity theory states that the more active and involved older adults are, the more likely they will be satisfied with their lives (Santrock, 2007). Activity theory suggests that many individuals will achieve greater life satisfaction if they continue their middle adulthood roles into late adulthood (Santrock, 2007). A third social theory of aging is social breakdown–reconstructtion theory (Kuypers & Bengtson, 1973). This theory argues that aging is promoted through negative psychological functioning brought about by negative views of older adults and inadequate services for them (Santrock, 2007).
V. End of Life Issues
In most societies, death is not viewed as the end of existence— though the biological body has died, the spiritual body is believed to live on (Emmons, 2003; Morgan, 2003). This religious perspective is favored by most Americans as well (Gowan, 2003). Cultural variations in attitudes toward death include belief in reincarnation, which is an important aspect of the Hindu and Buddhist religions (Dillon, 2003; Truitner & Truitner, 1993). In the Gond culture of India, death is believed to be caused by magic and demons. The members of the Gond culture react angrily to death. In the Tanala culture of Madagascar, death is believed to be caused by natural forces. The members of the Tanala culture show a much more peaceful reaction to death than their counterparts in the Gond culture. Denial and isolation is Kübler-Ross’ first stage of dying, in which the person denies that death is really going to take place (Santrock, 2007). According to (Santrock, 2007) the person may say, “No, it can’t be me or it’s not possible.” This is a common reaction to terminal illness (Santrock, 2007).
Anger is Kübler-Ross’ second stage of dying, in which the dying person recognizes that denial can no longer be maintained (Santrock, 2007). Denial often gives way to anger, resentment, rage, and envy (Santrock, 2007).
Bargaining is Kübler-Ross’ third stage of dying, in which the person develops the hope that death can somehow be postponed or delayed (Santrock, 2007).
Depression is Kübler-Ross’ fourth stage of dying, in which the dying person comes to accept the certainty of death (Santrock, 2007). At this point, a period of depression or preparatory grief may appear (Santrock, 2007).
Acceptance is Kübler-Ross’ fifth stage of dying, in which the person develops a sense of peace, an acceptance of one’s fate, and in many cases, a desire to be left alone (Santrock, 2007).
Most psychologists believe that it is best for dying individuals to know that they are dying and that significant others know they are dying so they can interact and communicate with each other on the basis of this mutual knowledge (Banja, 2005).
According to (Santrock, 2007) dimensions of grieving grief is the emotional numbness, disbelief, separation anxiety, despair, sadness, and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone we love. Grief is not a simple emotional state but rather a complex, evolving process with multiple dimensions (Adams, 2003; Bonanno & others, 2005; Davies, 2004; Langner & Maercker, 2005; Levin, 2004; Shear & others, 2005).
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