Health and Social Care Life Stages

Life stages and aspects of Human Growth and Development.

Chronological age boundaries for life stages

Infancy: 0-2

Childhood: 2-8

Adolescence: 9-18

Early adulthood: 18-45

Middle adulthood: 46-65

Late adulthood: 65+

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Infancy and Early Childhood

  • Learning to take solid foods
  • Learning to walk
  • Learning to talk
  • Learning bowel and bladder control
  • Learning sex differences and sexual modesty
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Middle Childhood

  • Learning physical skills necessary for ordinary games
  • Learning to get along with peers
  • Learning appropriate gender role
  • Developing basic skills in reading, writing and numeracy 
  • Developing concepts necessary for daily living
  • Developing conscience, morality and a scale of values
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  • Achieving new and more mature relationships with peers and both sexes
  • Achieving a masculine or feminine role
  • Achieving one's physique and using the body effectively
  • Achieving emotional independance of parents and other adults
  • Preparing for marriage and family life
  • Preparing for an economic career 
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Early Adulthood

  • Selecting a mate
  • Learning to live with a marriage partner
  • Starting a family
  • Rearing children
  • Managing a home
  • Getting started in an occupation
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Middle age

  • Assisting teenage children to become happy and responsible adults
  • Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one's occupation/career
  • Relating to one's spouse as a person
  • Accepting and adjusting to the physiological changes of middle age
  • Adjusting to ageing parents
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Later maturity

  • Adjusting to decreasing physical strength
  • Adjusting to retirement and reduced income
  • Adjusting to the death of one's spouse
  • Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangement 
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Infancy Reflexes

Name of Reflex    Stimulus                   Response

Rooting                            Touch on cheek               Turn heads towards breast and ******

Suckling                           Touch on the mouth         Starts to ****

Moro (startle)                    Sudden noise or               Arms flung outwards and legs                                                     movement                       straightened, often with a cry.                                                                                           Limbs bend inwards as if trying to                                                                                     catch hold of something

Grasp                              Object placed in palm       Strong grasp of object

Walking                           When held upright with       Forward movement by legs,                                                      feet                                   mimicking walking

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Characteristic traits of later adulthood

Skin: Thinner and less elastic so more wrinkled in appearence and acquires blemishes; less sensitive to temperature fluctutations so more likely to develop hypothermia in cold weather

Bones: Less dense therefore more likely to fracture, particulary in females

Muscles: Weaker therefore less power

Joints:  Stiffer, reduced range of movements; may be painful; ligaments weaker

Height: Shrinks due to disc compression; spine may become rounded

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Adolescence in females

  • Breasts starts to enlarge becoming glandular after ovulation has started
  • Body hair grows on the underarm (axillary) hair and pubic hair
  • Primary genital organs grow and become reproductive, the ovaries get larger and ovulation starts
  • Secondary sexual organs grow, the urterus, vagina and associated glands enlarge, menstruation becomes established
  • Skeleton, growth spurt in height and weight, hips widen causing body shape to alter and a different walk with swinging gait
  • The voice becomes less shrill, but not usuaslly considered a signifcant change
  • Fat is depostied under the skin around the breasts which leads to a curvaceous shape
  • Tonsils, adenoids, thymus and other lympatic tissues have grown rapidly during childhood so they begin to shrink
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Adolescence in males

  • Body hair starts to grow, underarm (axillary) hair, public hair, chest hair and facial hair
  • Primary genital organs grow and become productive, testes and sctrotum enlarge and begin to produce sperm
  • Secondary sexual organs grow, penis and accessory glands grow and start to secrete, giving rise to 'wet dreams'
  • Skeleton, growth spurt in height and weight, shoulders widen, hips remain slim
  • Voice changes, a rapid growth  of voice box or larynx causes voice to change and become deeper in pitch
  • Significant muscle development
  • Tonsils, adenoids, thymuc and other lymphatic tissues have grown rapidly during childshood, they begin to shrink
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Characteristic traits of later adulthood

Balance: Impaired, particularly when turning around

Heart: less efficient at delivering and drainging blood from tisssues, so functions less well

Blood Pressure: Rises with age due to reduced elasticity of vesselswalls and calcium deposits; more risk of stroke or harmorrhage, particularly in brain

Breathing: Less efficient as muscles are weaker; gaseous exchange affected due to decline of elasticity in alverolar walls

Hormone production: Reduces due to ageing cells and resistance; lack of insulin gives rise to diabetes; lack of thyroxine leads to lowered metabloism

Alimentary canal: muscles controlling peristalsis are weaker so constpation more likely; nutrients in food not absorbed so well, so anamia and other deficiency diseases occur more often

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Gross and Fine motor skills

Gross Motor Skills:

Using large muscle groups to accomplish tasks is called developing gross motor skills. Crawling or walking are good examples.

Fine Motor Skills:

These involve the more precise control of small muscles as those found in the fingers when picking up a small object like a pea. Fine motor skills are more difficult to acquire and take longer to develop.

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Development of language

Stage                 Nature of stage                               Example

First (2  years)      Two word statements                       John comed

Second                Short phrases                                  John come play

Third                    Being able to ask questions              Where John go?

Fourth                  Using sentences                              John come play and Sally come                                                                                       play

Fifth (5-6 years)     Adult sentences and fair vocabulary   John and Sally have come to play                                                                                      with me

Sixth (8+)             Understanding and use of speech       John and Sally have come to play                               together with increasing vocab            with me today and I will be                                                                                                 delighted to go to their house                                                                                            tomorrow

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Development of Infants

Language Development: Between the age of 6-9 months, infants respond to certain vocal instructions such as 'wave bye' and 'cap hands' although they cannot yet say words. Nearly all two year olds will be able to put two words together such as 'Sam milk'. 

Emotional Development: Infants have an ability to attract attention and build emotioinal attachments with their parents and carers. By one years old, infants can recognise and react to emotions of happiness, distress an anger, and can be influenced by the emotions of their parents.

Social Skills: Babies are able to learn from others because they are able to; follow a moving a moving person with their eyes for the first month of their life, begin to smile at humans and may recognise their mother at two months old, at three months can smile and make noise when someone goes past, at five months can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar people 

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Development in Early childhood

Thinking Skills: Children in this stage still tend to base their thinking on what things look like rather than the logic of newly aquired counting skills. They also learn to weigh things but may believe that a large pile of feathers will weigh more than one iron bar. Piaget called this stage the 'pre-operational' period, meaning pre logical. Children may begin to use logic before eight years of age providing that they can see things to help them. 

Emotional Development: Children who have been able to bond well not start to feel safe getting to know other children and adults. Young infants will not have a sense of being 'individual' but by 2 years old, but they have an awareness of 'self' with a fixed gender. During the first 18 months of the infants life, they will form a loving bond with their parents. There is a theory that if the bonding process fails to develop, then a childs social and emotional development will be impaired. 

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