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Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

All individuals perform better when their needs are met as they are in their optimal form to do their tasks and lead a healthy life in general. The same is true for children especially those aged between 5 and 12 years as this is the school-going age. At this stage, proper attention to the fulfillment of their every need is extremely important for their physical and mental development. This paper will explore the needs of these children while discussing assessment modification according to each age group’s needs and providing further explanation on the subject using Erikson’s Developmental Theory.

Comparison and Modification of Assessment Techniques

One of the most basic assessment techniques used in the United States of America since 1977 is the use of growth charts, however, over the years it has been observed that children’s needs are more complex and a simple chart cannot present such complexities efficiently. At each age, a child develops certain needs and behaves in a certain manner, for instance from age 3 to 6 children start to ask questions and from age 6 onwards they start to develop an identity, need for privacy, etc. These traits help in determining their mental development, however, to measure their physical development it is wise for the caretaker to consult the parents about the child’s level of activity. This can help in determining if the child is lagging behind others, is at the same level, or physically exceptional (Kamphaus & Frick, 1996). Other factors to consider in the physical assessment are genetics, nutrition, environment, etc. Children are also at high risk of obesity and contracting other diseases based on their family’s health history so modifying the assessment method to cater to each pediatric patient’s needs will be extremely helpful and important. Special needs children’s physical and mental development should be assessed diligently to make sure they remain healthy and any signs of an illness can be detected early. This can help prevent negative outcomes for the child (Layton & Lock, 2007).

Development of a 12-year-old Pediatric Patient

Zoey, now a 12-year-old female was born to a diabetic mother and was kept in intensive care for eight days after her birth. Now she is a creative and intelligent child however, she is underweight as compared to her peers but is extremely active. She maintains her child-like curiosity and imagination. Children, at the age of 12, start growing pubic hair, some girls may also be starting their menstrual cycles and also start developing breasts. They become conscious of the clothes they wear, the group they associate with and start to develop more meaningful friendships. A strong sense of self starts to develop at this age and children also make their own decisions. Early signs of rebellion start to emerge from this age as well (CDC, 2021).

Erikson’s Developmental Theory

Erik Erikson developed eight stages of development from infancy to adulthood and stated that if individuals’ needs are met according to these stages then they will develop as strong and high functioning humans but if not then they will frequently face identity crises (Munley, 1977).

According to Erikson’s stages of development, Zoey falls in stage 4 (Industry vs. Inferiority School age) and Stage 5 (Identity vs. Confusion Adolescence). Based on this theory Zoey’s caretaker should start to take notice of the people she likes to associate with, whom she dislikes, her fashion choices, and her hobbies. Based on this information, positive reinforcement should be employed to nourish her talents and her concerns should be addressed so that she develops confidence in herself and becomes a mentally strong person. Based on her family health history special attention should be given to her diet as well. If given the required attention and care, a child, like Zoey can grow up to be a vital part of society.

At this age, the caretaker and the parents of the child should communicate clearly for the benefit of the child. Theories like that of Erikson’s can be useful in the assessment of the child’s development but the caretaker should be able to modify these theories based on the needs of the child.


CDC. (2021, February 4). Child Development: Young Teens (12-14 years old) | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kamphaus, R. W., & Frick, P. J. (1996). Clinical assessment of child and adolescent personality and behavior (pp. xiii, 444). Allyn & Bacon.

Layton, C. A., & Lock, R. H. (2007). Use Authentic Assessment Techniques to Fulfill the Promise of No Child Left Behind. Intervention in School and Clinic, 42(3), 169–173.

Munley, P. H. (1977). Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development and career development. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 10(3), 261–269.



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