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Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years are expected to be school-going. Depending on age, their developmental needs and growth rates vary. The stages of growth and development of these children determine their emotional, physical, and cognitive needs. Various reasons could warrant a physical assessment of these children. It could be part of a routine assessment or when they are ill, and decisions regarding their care must be made. Regardless of the reason for the assessment, it is crucial to understand a child’s needs in light of their age and developmental stage. This paper discusses the different physical findings within school-aged children and how assessment techniques can be modified to match their age and stage of development. The paper also provides a case example of a school-aged child and the application of a developmental theory in the assessment of the child.

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Physical Characteristics/Findings Within School-Aged Children

Most children of school-going age have coordinated and powerful motor abilities. However, there are differences in their physical abilities, stamina, balance, and coordination. There may also be variations in these children’s fine motor skills, which can affect their capacity for precise writing, wearing suitable clothes, and performing certain household tasks. Their physical makeup, height, and weight may vary widely depending on their diet, genetics, and level of physical activity. For instance, secondary sexual characteristics may be seen in children aged 12 years. In girls, there can be the growth of pubic hair and breast development, while boys may experience growth of the penis and testicles. For children who engage in sedentary habits, obesity may be evident (Karki et al., 2019).

Modifying Assessment Techniques

Due to the wide variations in the physical characteristics of children aged 5 to 12 years, assessment techniques must be adjusted to align with their age and developmental stage. For instance, older children may require privacy during their assessment, unlike younger children. This is because older children, around 12 years old, are more conscious of their bodies. Moreover, younger children aged five years may not be able to express themselves, and information about them would mainly be obtained from their parents. Since older children can express themselves, an assessment requiring them to respond to some of the questions verbally would be more suitable.

Case Example of a School-Aged Child

Gehan is a 12-year-old girl who is currently doing her grade 7. By the age of 12, most children are proficient in language and communication. Physical, emotional, and social transformations are prevalent in children of this age. Puberty starts at this age, and there is a change in hormones. The majority of boys develop pubic hair as well as deeper voices. Most girls start their periods, acquire pubic hair, and develop breasts. They could be concerned about these transformations and how others will perceive them. A child may experience peer pressure during this time to use drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances and engage in sexual activity (Moldes et al., 2019). Depression and eating disorders can be additional issues. Children make more independent decisions concerning school, studying, sports, and friends at this age. Even though parents are still crucial, they become increasingly independent individuals with their interests and personalities.

Applying Developmental Theory

Based on Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the stages of development for school-aged children include the sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage (Sanghvi, 2020). Since Gehan is 12 years old, she is likely to be in the formal operational stage, during which children develop the ability to think about abstract situations and ideas. This implies that an assessment of Gehan would focus on her ability to think about hypothetical situations. Given that children of this age have developed logical thought processes, it would be necessary to offer simple logical explanations that she can understand. I would also use imaginary scenarios that match the assessment. One approach to gain cooperation would be asking the child about her friends and school. Since children of this age can make independent decisions about school and friends, asking such a question would make her interested in describing her past experiences. Potential findings would be her ability to think abstractly, her desire to describe her experiences in school and with friends, and her ability to use good communication skills.

Overall, the selection of appropriate techniques for the assessment of school-aged children should take into a child’s age and developmental stages. This helps in establishing developmental milestones that determine what to anticipate of a child of a specific age. If a child fails to reach the expected milestone, it signals healthcare professionals to modify the child’s care to meet their needs. One theory that can be used to assess a child’s developmental milestones is Piaget’s theory.


Karki, A., Shrestha, A., & Subedi, N. (2019). Prevalence and associated factors of childhood overweight/obesity among primary school children in urban Nepal. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1–12.

Moldes, V. M., L. Biton, C. L., Gonzaga, D. J., & Moneva, J. C. (2019). Students, Peer Pressure and their Academic Performance in School. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications (IJSRP), 9(1), p8541.

Sanghvi, P. (2020). Piaget’s theory of cognitive development : a review. Indian Journal of Mental Health, 7(2), 90.


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Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child
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Assessment Description
The needs of the pediatric patient differ depending on age, as do the stages of development and the expected assessment findings for each stage. In a 500-750-word paper, examine the needs of a school-aged child between the ages of 5 and 12 years old and discuss the following:

Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Describe the different physical characteristics/findings within the school-aged child. Explain how you would modify assessment techniques to match the age and developmental stage of this child.
Choose a child between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. Identify the age of the child and describe the typical developmental stages of children that age.
Applying developmental theory based on Erickson, Piaget, or Kohlberg, explain how you would developmentally assess the child. Include how you would offer explanations during the assessment, strategies you would use to gain cooperation, and potential findings from the assessment.
You are required to cite a minimum of three peer-reviewed sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years, appropriate for the assignment criteria, and relevant to nursing practice.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

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