Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

1) Case Example

Sam is a four-year-old Native American boy who has been attending Head Start classes in his community, an urban town located several hundred miles from the reservation where he was born. Sam’s parents moved to this town shortly after Sam was born to look for better employment. Sam’s teacher asked a social worker from a mental health agency to come and observe Sam, because she noticed that his cognitive development seemed to lag behind that of the other children. For example, Sam has trouble remembering when to use the bathroom, has not developed a very large vocabulary, and seems overly withdrawn when other children try to engage him in play. The teacher has discussed her concerns with Sam’s parents, who state that they notice nothing unusual in his behavior at home. Sam’s mother states that Sam has no problem with toileting at home and is able to express his needs well to his parents. Sam has no siblings, but his mother states that Sam frequently plays with neighborhood children. Sam’s parents see no need for concern and are upset that the Head Start teacher would ask a social worker to observe Sam. (Rogers, 2016)

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If you were Sam’s social worker what aspects of his limitations would you assess and why? Please explain.
Would you assess this situation from a biopsychosocial or ecological approach and why? Please explain.
Include in your responses suggestions of strengths and limitations of each theory of discussion that is different than yours. Your posts should be well-developed, with clear answers and evidence of critical thinking.

2)The complex concept of temperament can be thought of as the consistent ways in which we respond, behaviorally and emotionally, to our environment. Significantly, temperament is generally thought to be present at birth and is considered to be a fairly stable trait throughout life, although it can be shaped by later experiences. Research suggests that temperament in infancy is associated with heredity; however, this association tends to lessen as infants grow older, further supporting the notion that environmental influences may play a part in temperament (Barry, Kochanska, & Philibert, 2008; Goldsmith, Buss, & Lemery, 1997; Goldsmith, Lemery, Buss, & Campos, 1999; Lemery, Goldsmith, Klinnert, & Mrazek, 1999). Indeed, many developmental researchers spend a great deal of time and effort studying infant temperament and how it impacts and interacts with the infant’s environment. Social scientists have created a variety of ways of classifying temperament. One classification scheme developed by Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas (1977), based on their research, conceptualizes three main temperament styles: • Easy child: These children generally display happy, positive moods and adapt easily to their environment. • Difficult child: These children are fussy, cry frequently, and have trouble adapting to changes in the environment. • Slow-to-warm-up child: These children tend to show low levels of activity, emotion, and adaptability and tend to be somewhat negative. Temperament theories have generated a lot of discussion and controversy. One of the biggest issues is whether the current classifications accurately capture the complete range of temperaments. This issue can be resolved only through further study. In the meantime, using these classifications as guidelines for understanding emotions and their effects on relationships can be useful in practice. More recently, research has suggested that much of the importance of temperament has to do with “goodness of fit” (e.g., Daniel, Grzywacz, Leerkes, Tucker, & Han, 2009; Pluess & Belsky, 2009). This concept relates to how well infants’ temperaments fit with their environmental context and what consequences might occur because of this fit. For example, an easy child exposed to a strange and intimidating situation may react by taking things in her stride and adapting readily to the context, limiting the amount of stress experienced by the infant and those in her environment. Conversely, a difficult child who is exposed to the same strange situation may react by crying and fussing and not adapting to the situation. This behavior will create stress not only for the infant but for those around her, as they will probably fail to console her and may blame themselves for her distress. This interaction between an infant’s temperament and the environment becomes an issue for parenting, which many social workers tackle in their work with clients. Specifically, social workers can help parents or caregivers better understand their infants’ temperament and possible reactions to their environment, which in turn can help parents alter their own reactions to their children when problems occur. Social workers can help parents become more flexible and adaptable to the unique characteristics of their children, which may help parents avoid unfairly or prematurely labeling their children in negative ways and responding to them based on these labels. Parents who understand temperament issues of their children are more likely to adapt their own parenting style and their environmental context to better fit the temperament of the child, which may alleviate some of the problems that the parents experience in dealing with their children. Some health care clinics offer computerized assessments of children’s temperaments that parents can use to learn more about their children’s behavior. These computer programs also offer suggestions about how to use certain parenting skills to adjust to particular temperament styles. In Sam’s case, you might want to assess his temperament style to ascertain whether some of the behaviors labeled as problematic by the teacher might be due to a problematic fit between his temperament and the school environment. It may be that Sam has trouble adjusting to the classroom, which may cause him to withdraw and display other behaviors that might not seem age-appropriate.

Include in your responses suggestions of strengths and limitations of each theory of discussion that is different
What are the three temperament styles identified by Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas?
What are some differences between the concepts?
How would a social worker’s approach be different in working with a child in each classification? Please explain.
Your responses should be well-developed, with clear answers and evidence of critical thinking.than yours. Your posts should be well-developed, with clear answers and evidence of critical thinking.

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