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Case Study Child Development Project Essay


After an extended period watching and observing Adrian, the bystander is able to see where Adrian is developmentally. He is growing physically, mentally, and emotionally as a child his age, four years old, should be maturing according to many theorists. While he has not mastered all the required steps for his age group he is achieving more and more of them each day. The following case study will discuss where Adrian is excelling and where he still needs a little work.

A Case Study about Child Development

Adrian is almost four years old and lives with his parents and older sister in an apartment. His father is a financial advisor in a bank, allowing him to spend time with the family on the weekends, while his mother stays at home as a housewife. They have a lot of neighbors and no pets. Adrian loves trains, cars, dinosaurs, animals, juice, and being inside and outside of his house. His favorite movie is Cars. He does not like the word “No” and often ignores something when it doesn’t interest him. Adrian has fun, loving, goofy, energetic personality. Throughout this study, the observation of Adrian will take place at two places: his house, inside and out and his grandmother’s house.

Physical Development

Adrian developed normally through the prenatal, infancy, and toddler stages. He was born on August twenty eighth in 2010 by natural birth after a full term, normal pregnancy. At birth, he weighed eight pounds eleven ounces and measured twenty-two inches long, which according to the Center for Disease Control (2000), put him in the seventy-fifth percentile for weight and ninetieth percentile for length. As an infant Adrian’s mother, chose not to breast feed and instead gave him formula. As a toddler, Adrian hit all the important milestones, according to his mother, included learning to walk which occurred around fifteen months. As Adrian progressed from a toddler to preschooler, he continued to progress as he should according to the normal growth and developmental process. At four years, he is forty-two inches tall and weights around forty-six pounds, keeping him in the same percentiles as birth, again according to the CDC (2000). Most of this growth occurred, as it should, during the toddler years.

Even though Adrian just turned four he had accomplished many of the required gross and fine motor skills according Berger (Chapter 8), he can run, hop, jump, walk up and down stairs alone, dress and undress, use the bathroom on his own. I have witnessed Adrian running or jumping many times whether it be running to tackle someone for a hug or a warm welcome, jumping on the bed/couch usually when he gets excited about a movie or favorite cartoon, or when he is playing with his cousin who is just a few months older. Going up and down the stairs at his grandmother’s house, this is not a problem problem because Adrian gets plenty of practice due to must of the time he’s visiting his gradmother’s house. Using the bathroom is a big accomplishment for him, because it took him a long time and has only mastered it within the last few months. However, he still needs practice skipping and being comfortable using scissors. Adrian is right where he should be with his physical development.

Cognitive Development

Similarly to Adrian’s physical development his cognitive develop is also maturing at what theorist would say is a normal rate. Piaget and Vygotsky writes that upon reaching the age of four a child should be rapidly expanding his vocabulary, beginning to think intuitively but still thinking almost entirely on himself. He progressed through the building blocks of language beginning with babbling and moving through his first word around fifteen months and first sentence a little while later. While his mother does not know the exact time when he started babbling and spoke his first sentence, she does recall this never being a concerned about the development. Currently, he is speaking in full sentences that vary in lengths and purposes. He enjoys watching television shows about super heroes and if given the chance, he will spend large amounts of time, sometimes up to twenty minutes, telling his listener all about them.

Adrian’s cognitive development in the area of language has a lot to do with the fact he is inquisitive and seems to enjoy learning. According to many theories and developmental checklist a four year old should be able to count and should be drawn to letters and sounds. Adrian demonstrates an inclination to want to read and will often ask someone around him to read him his favorite book or play with the magnetic letters his mom bought him. Additionally, by playing games like Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders where he can count the required spaces indicating a beginning understanding of numbers. Another example a time when I noticed Adrian genuinely wanting to learn and wanting things to be perfect, he spent a few seconds growing more and more frustrated as he angrily smashed the top and bottom boxes together.

Eventually, he got the two pieces together but not before tearing the corners of them. However, when someone stepped in and showed him how to correctly put the two pieces together he welcomed the advice and was then able to properly close the box. Like Vygotsky mentioned the mentor provide scaffolding, or temporary sensitive support, to help the developmental zone. After getting the box together, he started to think of ways to fix the box. He suggested taping it, and was excited when that idea was welcomed and put to use. This not only demonstrated intuitive thought but helped Adrian feel intelligent and begin to learn that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to ask for help when needed. Adrian is developing cognitively a little more everyday and seems to be on his way to accomplishing all the key milestones. His language skills are growing each day and he is learning to try new things on his own with the idea that he can always ask for help.

Emotional/Social Development

As with physical and cognitive development, observer is able to see that Adrian is attaining the social developmental milestones as he progresses to the preschool age. While Adrian hit all the important points through in infancy and toddlerhood. For example, he was always able to show a wide range of emotions, classified as a key achievement by Freud and Erikson. He was quick to show observers his happiness, sadness, confusion, or frightfulness. He also quickly established a secure attachment to his mother, another one of Ainsworth’s milestones. Adrian was child who needed and wanted to be with his mother and would cry or search for her as soon as she left his sight. By achieving both of these Adrian was able to understand that he could trust people, which allowed him to make the transition from toddlerhood to the pre-school period successfully. As an energetic and, for the most part, easy going four year old, Adrian is accomplishing many of the expected landmarks yet needs more time to complete other.

Observers can watch Adrian feeling safe and comfortable in areas other than those he is familiar too. Similarly, however, he can/will lose complete control of his temper and lash out violently to those around him. Other noticeable developments for Adrian are his ability to play with others, cooperatively and the idea that he is beginning to get a sense of gender. He enjoys playing games with his cousin who is just a few months older and they will play with cars or whatever suits their mood that day. He will also play board games, such as Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, with the understanding that it is not always possible to win.

Presently, he is fascinated with Wonder Woman and when asked why he likes her so much his response was because she is a girl and has boobs, as reported by Adrian’s mother. He is getting to the point also, where he understands that there are boys clothes and girls clothes, last year for example he enjoyed trying on the clothes his cousin received for Christmas. Yet this year, when his family went shopping and glanced through the area with all the children’s clothes he had no problem telling everyone which ones were for boys and which ones where not. Over all, Adrian is where he needs to be given he still has two years left in the preschool stage to improve and grow socially and emotionally developmental wise.


This experience has taught me a lot about how preschoolers act and why they do the things they do. I truly enjoyed watching Adrian in a different, more professional light during the past few weeks. I cannot say I am thrilled with how I did everything throughout the project but for the most part, I am happy. By observing Adrian for specific characteristics in the areas of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth I was able to bring the lectures and information from class to life and am thrilled to be able to say I am leaving this class with the understanding of how a preschool-aged child operates.

While I am happy about learning the Adrian is on target with his developments, I wish I could have observed him at different times and places. Also, it would have been interesting to see how he reacted at different locations but that did not work like I had hoped it would have at the beginning, instead, I primarily just watched him inside his house: inside because it always seemed to be either too hot or rainy when I would visit. By completing this case study, I was able to accomplish a lot. I now have a much better idea of where a preschool-aged child is cognitively, emotionally, and physically and if that is the age. I really enjoyed being able to step out of my family role and see how Adrian is from a different, more professional standpoint.

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