Lifespan Development – Essay Sample

Lifespan Development – Essay Sample

The person that I have chosen for this project is a forty-two-year-old Caucasian male. He was the first of three children born to a young couple in their early 20s in the late 1960s. His brother was born two years later. His sister was born five years after that.

During infancy stage of his development, he was easy going and easy to pacify. He seemed very interested and curious about the world around him during this stage. During the early childhood stage of his development, he was very quiet and very adventurous.

He grew up in a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town at that time had abundant jobs. Even though most of the homes at that time in the area did not have running water, the quality of life was still great relative to other areas at the time because the people there helped one another in time of need. Also, the crime rate was very low.

In the 1960s in the area where the interviewee and his family lived, there was no adequate education about the proper steps needed to prepare for birth. Therefore, the mother of the child relied on folklore to prepare for the birth of her baby. According to the interviewee’s parents, there was no viable means of birth control at that time. Because of the lack of education and awareness on the topic of pregnancy, most people during that time did not go to the doctor when they suspected a pregnancy. For example, when the interviewee’s mother was one or two months pregnant (and before she realized she was pregnant) she took medicine for a stomach virus, when she actually was experiencing morning sickens. She was two or three months pregnant before she and the doctor finally determined that she was pregnant. However, the family of the interviewee did take the initiative to move into a home with running water in preparation for the birth.

In the area they lived in during the 1960s, there were no readily available prenatal vitamins to take. There were also no Lamaze classes that help promote good nutrition and a safe pregnancy during that time where they lived (About Lamaze International, 2010).

The classification of the five basic food groups were not developed at that time, it was 1992 before the first food pyramid came out (Greene, 2002). Thus, information on the required daily intake of nutrition and vitamins were not readily available to the general public. Still, when it came to nutrition the mother did try to stay healthy by eating what she believed to be a healthy diet. The interviewee’s mother tried to ensure her health by not taking anything with teratogens in it. She also made sure she ate a well balanced prenatal diet once she realized her pregnancy. In the early part of 1960s, shortly before her pregnancy, teratogens were found to cause birth defects, particularly if taken during the first trimester (Gormly, 1997).

During the pregnancy, the mother did not experience any abnormal stress or anxiety. The fact that the mother did not experience stress or anxiety was a very good thing because recent studies have shown that abnormal stress and or anxiety can have adverse effects on the unborn child (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008).
The mother’s water broke two weeks prior to her expected due date. She is reported to have been playing cards and eating a bag of potato chips when she went into labor. She recalled going into labor and starting to vomit, then rushing to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital her blood pressure was dangerously high, so they gave her general anesthetic (gas) to help her relax in an attempt to lower her blood pressure. She had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and went into a semi-coma. Because she was not conscious, she was not able to push the baby out naturally, thus resulting in the need for doctors to use forceps to pull the baby out for a safe delivery. The use of the forceps caused bruises on his face and head. It also pinched some nerves around the fontal cortex of his brain.

The labor was particularly short for a first baby. From labor to birth was only six hours. At birth, the subject was 19” long and weighed 7lbs. 9 ½ oz., and he had full head of hair. He also was born with one eye brown and one eye blue. This is a healthy weight and length for a newborn (Your pregnancy, 2010).
According to research, relaxation is the key to having a baby without having to use any type of anesthetic for the pain during labor (Relaxation Techniques, 2007). Even though complications using anesthetics are rare, there are several risks involved. One of the problems with using anesthetics is that the mother has difficulty or cannot push the baby out of the birth canal because the anesthetic numbs the muscles that are needed to push the baby along (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008). Using mechanical devices such as forceps may involve other issues with the safety of the baby and the mother. For the mother, issues may include excessive loss of blood or bleeding from the cuts in the cervix or vagina; these could lead to infection. For the baby, issues with using forceps may include bruises on the face and head, bone fractures, brain damage, and even possibly loss of life.

During the interviewee’s first year, his parents stimulated cognitive activity by reading to him, taking him out for walks and rocking him in their arms. Research has proven that infants may not seem to respond much to things occurring around them, although they absorb everything like a sponge (Gormly, 1997). Parents and caregivers today are encouraged to increase a child’s cognitive abilities by shaking a rattle or speaking to their babies and wait for responses. Speaking to babies not only increases cognitive activity, it also formulates attachments.

The interviewee started walking and crawling around the same age his siblings did, which was around nine months old. This is in accordance with Piaget’s theory which specifies a sensorimotor period phase of childhood development within the first two years of life (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008). At that time he could walk about five or six meters. However, the interviewee said he took longer to learn how to talk compared to his siblings. He started speaking well past the age of two years, and they believed that it might have been because he had hearing problems. Hearing tests at the time showed he only had selective hearing. The cause and extent of his selective hearing issue have not been identified. The interviewee now claims no problems with his hearing, nor did hearing issues hinder his childhood development, therefore it may just have been a minor impediment. Piaget’s theory of childhood development generally would expect speech development to begin at around 18 months as part of the sensorimotor period of development. For this part of the sensorimotor period phase to be delayed past 2 years is unusual (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008). Since Piaget’s theory insists that children must traverse the development phases in order (i.e., sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational), this would imply that the interviewee’s entry to the preoperational period of development may have been somewhat delayed (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008).





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