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Ages and Stages Questionnaire is specially developed to provide accurate screening of a child aged from one to 66 months. The developmental areas that are screened include communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social, plus self-regulation, compliance, language, adaptive behaviors, autonomy, affect, and interaction with people. The questionnaire was applied to assess the development of C.G., a boy aged four years and two months. The following conclusions can be made by the results of the questionnaire.
As for communication, the child has average skills. The score of 40 is slightly above the cutoff, which means that the child is developing, but this aspect needs monitoring and additional learning activities. Gross motor skills of C.G. have the highest possible score and thus develop according to a schedule. Fine motor skills also scored significantly higher than the cutoff although not all tasks are performed without flaws. Still, problem-solving is a weak point of this child. The score of 20 points is below the cutoff, which means that there is a need for further assessment with a professional to define the scope of the problem and the possible causes. At the same time, C.G. has outstanding personal-social skills with the highest score according to questionnaire data.
On the whole, it can be concluded that the child is generally developing according to schedule. C.G.’s gross motor and personal-social areas are perfectly developed, and fine motor skills are above the average. The communication area of this boy is characterized by average development within the normal limits. Finally, the area that is worst developed is that of problem-solving. It demands careful control from parents and the involvement of a professional consultant.
The child has two areas of strength, which are the gross motor and personal-social one. Highly developed gross motor skills, which are responsible for movement or physical activity, also predetermine the intellectual growth of a child since it is influenced by outside impressions the child receives. Moreover, involvement in physical activity in childhood has an impact on developing a healthy and active adult. Personal-social skills determine a child’s ability to take care of oneself and interact with the surrounding people. Consequently, a well-developed personal-social area contributes to the general socializing of a child in different environments.
A barrier for this child is the risk of hearing impairment. Some hearing problems were revealed during the assessment when the boy asked to repeat the questions again or frequently said “what?” as if he did not hear or did not understand the task. The child has a genetic predisposition for hearing problems because his father and grandfather have experienced hearing loss. Currently, his father already needs the hearing aid, and his father will need it soon as well. Still, this possible problem needs consulting a specialist. Hearing impairment, if not diagnosed and managed, can negatively influence a child’s performance at school due to delayed speech and language skills (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.).
It is explained by the fact that a child does not hear well and can miss out on some sounds, which leads to problems in speaking, reading, and overall school success. Apart from learning problems, hearing impairment can result in deterioration of social skills because children who do not hear well can feel bad about themselves and face trouble with making friends and communication.
Based on this assessment, the following recommendations can be provided. First of all, it is necessary to refer to hearing screening to reveal the possible problem. An audiologist can make the necessary tests and explain the possible treatment options. For example, children with hearing impairment may need medical treatment, hearing aids, or language and speech therapy (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.).
Secondly, it is important to focus on the problem-solving area, which received a score below the cutoff by the results of the assessment. Attention to the problem-solving area is vital for further development because the lack of these skills is likely to lead to negative behaviors in adolescence and pre-adolescence periods. Therefore, addressing troubles in problem-solving skills will help to avoid challenges in emotions, social and relational, and functional spheres. Finally, it is advisable to monitor the communication area of the child, the score of which is close to the cutoff according to the assessment. Also, it is possible to provide some learning activities to stimulate the communicative skills of the boy.
Time and Timing
The development of a child takes place in the social environment and is influenced by diverse issues related to it. Thus, every individual is under the impact of time and adaptations, which predetermines the life of society on the whole and each of its members in particular. Still, before determining the impact of these concepts, it is necessary to define them. Thus, adaptation is a way of adjustment to changes in the environment of a biological organism (Ashford, LeCroy, & Williams, 2017).
Adjustment, in turn, presupposes the processes of coping with the demands and challenges of daily life. Changes in the social environment also belong to these challenges. Two important concepts influence the development of a child as a social being such as age effects and cohort effects. While both concepts are related to time, their meaning is different. Thus, age effects comprise the consequences of growing older. At the same time, cohort effects include the “influences on a group of individuals born around the same time who share common historical experiences” (Ashford et al., 2017, p. 3). Cohort effects are generally observed among the representatives of the same generation such as Millennials or Generation X.
Cohort effects can be observed in diverse aspects of life. For example, research by Keyes et al. (2014) provides evidence of the impact that cohort effects have on depression and anxiety prevalence. Still, cohort effects have significantly broader influence. Thus, belonging to a certain cohort or generation determine formative experiences, attitudes towards career and technology, preferences in communication media, and decision-making processes. Applying the concept of cohort effects to the child in the focus of this assessment, the following conclusions and predictions can be made. First of all, since the child was born in 2014, he belongs to Generation Alpha, which comprises individuals born after 2010 (Vargason, 2017). This cohort comprises individuals who are born in a digital age and have always lived in a world with i-pads, smartphones, and other digital devices. Thus, technology is integral to their daily life and is used in studies and work.
Technology will have a significant impact on the development of C.G. For example, Generation Alpha children tend to be dependent on diverse devices and spend more time in front of screens than it is healthy for them. It is common to use a gadget even before a child can talk for Generation Alpha children. Consequently, children observe such problems as delays in speech development and impeded social development (Vargason, 2017).
Currently, C.G. does not have problems with speech or social development, but his communicative skills are average. Therefore, both parents and teachers should monitor the communication area to avoid possible troubles in the future. At the same time, some reports provide data that many parents believe that screen time has a positive impact on their children and helps them to learn as well as to develop coordination and obtain quick reaction skills. As a representative of Generation Alpha, C.G. has a chance to become a successful learner and develop other useful skills due to the carefully dosed screen time. Still, Generation Alpha children are only in primary school now, and there is no relevant research that provides evidence of the impacts that belonging to this generation has on children.
The in-depth understanding of a child’s development is crucial for social workers because of many reasons. For example, both knowledge and practical application of child development knowledge empowers the promotion of positive outcomes for children and their families and helps to safeguard children in case of necessity. Therefore, direct observation of children and interaction with them is a significant component of social work since these interventions allow assessing the development of a child. Also, awareness of a child’s development peculiarities provides an opportunity to plan and implement further actions to help a child and his or her parents in case some development peculiarities are revealed.
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Ages and Stages Questionnaire was a new experience for me. I believe that this questionnaire is a powerful tool that allows assessing diverse areas of a child’s development such as communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal-social. The obvious benefit of the questionnaire is that it is adapted for different ages and thus can be used more than once to trace the child’s progress. In the beginning, I was not very confident about the scoring, but the system used in the questionnaire scoring excludes the possibility of subjectivity or bias. Thus, the scoring algorithm is easy to follow.
Moreover, it reflects the development of a child in five different areas and empowers score interpretation as well as recommendations for follow-up. One of the challenges that I can admit was planning the follow-up actions. On the one hand, the child in the focus of this questionnaire does not have critical developmental problems. Still, on the other hand, some issues should be addressed as early as possible to avoid problems in the future.
I believe this experience became a useful contribution to my social work skills. First of all, my organization skills were necessary to find a participant and complete the questionnaire. Secondly, I needed critical thinking skills to interpret the scores obtained in the questionnaire and explain their meaning. Also, I have improved my communicative skills, which are crucial for a social worker because they allow finding an approach to every person disregarding age and gender.
I suppose I will use the Ages and Stages Questionnaire in my future practice because it is a well-developed tool that reveals different aspects of a child’s development. Finally, I have trained my analytical skills to evaluate the results of the questionnaire and suggest further actions for parents of the boy that can improve the existing situation.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.) Effects of hearing loss on development. Web.
Ashford, J.B., LeCroy, C.W., & Williams, L. R. (2017). Human behavior in the social environment: A multidimensional perspective (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Keyes, K., Nicholson, R., Kinley, J., Raposo, S., Stein, M., Goldner, E., & Sareen, J. (2014). Age, period, and cohort effects in psychological distress in the United States and Canada. American Journal of Epidemiology, 179(10), 1216-1227. Web.
Vargason, D. (2017). Meet Generation Alpha: 3 things educators should know. Web.