Developmental Assessment And The School-Aged Child

NRS 434 Developmental Assessment And The School-Aged Child

Developmental Assessment And The School-Aged Child

Growth is defined as the continuous changes in size in both internal and external aspects. On the other hand, development is defined as the continuous process of adaptation throughout an individual’s lifespan (Scharf, Scharf & Stroustrup, 2016). Development progresses in a systematic sequence; however, each child advances through the predictable stages within a specific timeframe. School-aged children include children aged 6 to 12 years old. This paper seeks to compare the physical assessments among school-aged children, explain the typical developmental stages of a 6-year-old, and apply Erickson’s developmental theory to assess the child.

Physical Assessments among School-Aged Children

The physical assessment of a school-aged child involves a complete head-to-toe exam. The assessment begins with assessing the general state to note the child’s hygiene and grooming and any signs of neglect or abuse (Srinath et al., 2019). The second step is taking vital signs, but different blood pressure cuffs are used based on the child’s age. Anthropometric measurements are taken to assess nutritional status (Srinath et al., 2019). The head-to-toe exam is performed using the four techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. Special screenings are performed, including Vision, Hearing, and Dental screening (Srinath et al., 2019). The vision screening is conducted using a Snellen’s chart to measure visual acuity. It also involves assessing for squint, strabismus, and nystagmus (Srinath et al., 2019). A hearing screening is conducted if the child presents with complaints of impaired hearing. In addition, a dental screening is done for all school-aged children to assess for common dental conditions such as tooth cavities and bleeding gums as well as shedding of primary teeth and eruption of secondary teeth.

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The school-aged child’s physical assessment would be modified to correspond to the age and developmental stage by beginning with the least discomforting or painful procedures and concluding with the discomforting ones (Srinath et al., 2019). I would also assess the parts associated with the chief complaint last. For example, in a child presenting with abdominal pain, I will examine the abdomen last to foster cooperation. Besides, for children from 6-8 years, I will conduct the exam in the caregiver’s presence to ensure cooperation (Srinath et al., 2019). However, for the older child, above eight years, I will provide privacy and promote autonomy. Furthermore, I will provide privacy for the older child by uncovering only the body parts being assessed to avoid discomfort from the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Typical Developmental Stages of 6-Year-Olds

Key physical developmental milestones include improved locomotor skills such as skipping, running, and jumping. The child should demonstrate strong hand-eye coordination, such as the ability to throw a ball at a target (Scharf et al., 2016). They begin losing the milk teeth, and permanent molars, medial and lateral incisors begin to erupt. Emotional development milestones include demonstrating self-control skills and maintaining emotional stability (Scharf et al., 2016). Cognitive developmental milestones include knowing their age, concept of time, particularly night, morning, and afternoon (Scharf et al., 2016). Most have about 2560 words and make comprehensible 6-7 word sentences. Besides, the child should associate words with their use (Scharf et al., 2016). Typical social developmental milestones include fear of the dark and big animals, sibling jealousy, exhibiting a sense of humor, and being peer-oriented.

Application of Erickson Theory in Developmental Assessment

A 6-year-old falls in the Industry versus Inferiority stage in the Erickson theory. In the Industry versus Inferiority stage, the child develops a sense of confidence by mastering tasks (Orenstein & Lewis, 2020). However, the sense of accomplishment can be offset by a sense of inferiority that arises from failing. I would apply the Erickson theory by assessing a child’s ability to perform tasks independently, such as homework and hygiene and grooming activities, and the ability to regulate social behavior (Orenstein & Lewis, 2020). Besides, I would give the child a task and ask them to do it independently. I would also assess whether the child develops a sense of inferiority, such as low self-esteem, when unable to perform the task.

I would offer explanations using simple and short sentences and inform the child of any painful procedures, to gain cooperation. I would also use polite, non-threatening language to relieve anxiety and promote cooperation (Srinath et al., 2019). Besides, I would ask the child to provide his demographic information and history of present illness to encourage a sense of autonomy. I would also inform the child of the assessment findings, any abnormalities found, and additional tests that will be required.


Growth and development are continuous from conception to death. The physical assessment of a school-aged child involves taking vital signs, anthropometric measurements, head-to-toe exam, visual, hearing, and dental screening. Assessment can be modified by beginning with the least painful procedures and assessing the systems associated with the complaints last. Developmental assessment of a 6-year-old entails assessing milestones in the motor, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects. The Erickson developmental theory can be applied to assess a child’s development by asking the school-aged child to independently perform a task and assess if they develop a sense of inferiority if they fail.




Orenstein, G. A., & Lewis, L. (2020). Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Scharf, R. J., Scharf, G. J., & Stroustrup, A. (2016). Developmental Milestones. Pediatrics in review37(1), 25.

Srinath, S., Jacob, P., Sharma, E., & Gautam, A. (2019). Clinical practice guidelines for the assessment of children and adolescents. Indian journal of psychiatry61(Suppl 2), 158.