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Over a lifespan, an individual goes through different stages, which are expressed, in aspects such as cognitive, physical and socio-emotional. Human cognitive and physical developments are universal while socio-emotional development domain is influenced by culture (Boyd, 2006).

Introduction

The process of human development begins at conception. The fetus appears from a cell and develops to an infant. Within the cells are genes that determine critical features such as height, weight and behavior. Besides genes, the world around the infant also has an impact on the child’s growth. At times, the world/environment that surrounds the infant can alter the genes (Rutter, 1992).

It is necessary for people to have some knowledge of human lifespan development since it helps in having self-understanding and awareness and, as a result, can help in planning life. Human lifespan development is particularly helpful in females since it can help them know that their years of childbearing are limited. Human lifespan development knowledge is also helpful in interpersonal communication, improving relations and resolving conflicts (Lacey, 2008).

Human beings go through stages of development which include Infancy (0-2 Years), Childhood (2-5 Years), Middle and Late Childhood (6-11 Years), Adolescence (11-18 Years), Early adulthood (20-30Years), Middle adulthood (40-60Years) and Late adulthood (60-80Years). Each stage involves cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development. Physical development refers to the human body development over a lifespan. The most complex and rapid development of humans take place while the child is in the womb (Bee, 2006).

Between infancy and early childhood, physical developments such as motor skills developments like learning to speak, talk, walk and use of tools like forks and spoons take place. During this stage, the child also grows in weight, height and mass and the emergence of the first set of teeth (Bee, 2006). Cognitive development refers to the way in which human beings experience and perceive the world around them. It involves aspects like thinking, memory, concept comprehension and process of decision making. Emotional-socio development refers to the way in which people are able to handle social situations, emotions, the numerous roles required of them by the society also the ability to deal and cope with relationships.

This essay will focus on summarizing the ever-changing life and the physical development of Agnes.

Lifespan Physical Development of Agnes

            Agnes was born in the town of Kailua in Hawaii on 26th February 1941. She was a daughter of a headmaster and wife to a tax inspector. She had inherited jewellery from her grandmother of which she was forced to sell after she faced economic problems. She was widowed after 26 years of marriage.

            While Agnes was in her mother’s womb, two unique things happened to her; she developed a musical talent and a passion for reading. Agnes mother had a passion of music, and, she used to turn the radio volume up so that Agnes would also hear.  A baby that is in the womb, is aware of sound, therefore, exposing a child to comforting and welcoming sounds will stimulate the babies’ senses and brain since it is proven that music stimulates babies (Lacey, 2008). After about five months when the baby is in the womb, it begins to learn about its external environment and it is, therefore, also capable of hearing external sounds. People especially parents and particularly mothers have influence to the external environment of a baby in the womb (Lacey, 2008). Agnes had a passion for reading. When she was in her mother’s womb, her father who was a headmaster read stories to her. After her birth, she loved hearing her father read her stories.

Agnes experiences of music and reading while in her mother’s womb impacted her future development and behavior.  When she began schooling, she was above average student and was highly intelligent. She was so bright that her school principal recommended her to skip the fourth grade. Her intelligence was attributed to her passion for reading. Many doctors and researchers believe that a baby’s intelligence while in the womb is increased by reading to the baby since the baby’s mind processes the language, shapes of words and sounds (Fowlkes, 1993). Reading to a baby in the womb not only increased the baby’s intelligence but also causes healthy emotions. Agnes loved music so much that she joined a music school and later became a music instructor in the University of Hawaii.

Agnes inherited/acquired high levels of intelligence, a tall height and a heavy weight from her parents. People can inherit weight, height and intelligence from their parents because a person’s cells have the ability to hold similar genes that originated from the egg and sperm of his/her parents during conception (Hollenberg, 2000). Agnes’s father was a headmaster and her late grandfather was one of the pioneers of University of Hawaii at Manoa and Agnes became a music instructor at University of Hawaii. Though environment determines Intelligent Quotient (IQ), intelligence is polygenically inherited. It is estimated that between 50 and 60% of the variance in Intelligent Quotient test scores is genetic (Reese, 1980). Agnes acquired a tall height from her father. Her father was 6 ft 1 inch tall, and Agnes was 5 ft 9 inch tall. Agnes inherited a heavy weight from her mother. Weight is one of the highly heritable traits and has a heritability which is slightly lower than that of height.

            Agnes early experience of a haven in home and the well attended birth care impacted her lifespan development. The early bond of attachment between Agnes and her parents served as a source of security and comfort to her. As a result of her secure and comforting early experience, Agnes developed a healthy self esteem. The well attended birth care did not affect her mind, and as a result, she was highly intelligent.

Timeline for Agnes’ Physical Lifespan Development

Lifespan

Agnes Physical Development

Infancy (0-2 Years)

When Agnes was an infant, her body grew more rapidly than any other time in her lifespan. At birth, her height was 23 inches, her weight was 9lbs. Within one year, Agnes height was 1’2 and, by age 2, her height was 2’8. By 6 months of age, her weight was 32lbs, and after her first year, her weight was 23lbs. When Agnes was six months old, she was used to breast feeding and sucking on pacifiers. She enjoyed sleeping on her mother’s arms of which she found a sense of security. As a result, of sleeping on her mother’s arms, she developed the ability to distinguish her mother’s voice from other voices and, she was often awakened by her voice when asleep. Between age 6 months and one year, Agnes had learnt to crawl and grasp things and whatever she grasped, she put into her mouth. She was also able to grasp and throw a ball. Agnes was also able to recognize her name and follow people with her sight. When she was 14 months, she could stand alone without support and she liked feeding herself though she often could dirty herself with food. She was also able to call her mum and dad. At age two, she was able to run and, she liked to climb on tables and step on her toys. She liked listening to music and dancing and, she could yell when asked to share her toys.

Childhood (2-5 Years)

At the age of two years, she could take about fifteen minutes to wash her hands. She liked wearing beautiful dresses and shoes and, as a result, she loved seeing herself from the mirror. When she was three years, she liked dressing herself without help from her mother. At the age of four, her height increased to 2’9 and, at the age of five years her height increased to 3’2. Her gross and fine motor skills of developed, she was able to write and ride a tricycle. Her hearing improved and had the ability to understand and communicate verbally. Her bones became strong and she was involved in a lot of play and as a result, her gross and fine motor skill improved. She loved singing while standing on the table and loved it more when her parents could applause. At age four, six months, she always wanted to be the winner when involved in a task with other children. Her parents enrolled her in a music class since they recognized her talent for music and dancing. Although Agnes loved dancing and singing, she was not able to read and understand musical notation at age four, and her body posture was stiff.

Middle and Late Childhood (6-11 years)

Agnes primary teeth fell at age six, and permanent teeth appeared. After a long day, at school, Agnes was rebellious against authority at home, and she bossed younger children around. She was able to write and draw using a pencil. The pictures that she drew she cut with a scissors.  She was also able to dress herself without adult assistance. At the age of seven, although it was very tedious and cumbersome for each student in the class to remember the music notation, Agnes was more patient than her peers. Because of her patience, she was able to understand music symbols and, as a result, she could sing and dance beautifully.  Her height increased, and she was 4’9 at age 11. Her weight also increased to 49lbs. She was able to write and read and, her IQ was so high that she was recommended to skip grade four. She was secure emotionally as a result of strong self esteem. Due to exercise, she had strong bones and a huge appetite and she always seemed to be hungry. 

Adolescence (11-18 Years)

Agnes experienced her first menstruation, and her body had changes such as breast enlargement and enlarged hips. She was scared of experiencing her first menstruation though her mother patiently explained the reason and taught her how to use the period pads. Her height increased and at age 18, she was 5’9 inches tall. Her weight increased to 85lbs. She also had strong bones as a result of participating in sports and a healthful diet. She also experienced a change in the nervous system and had improved brain performance for she received a scholarship to study music. She became at ease in the world of music. At times, she was rebellious and she did not follow the teacher’s instructions without a reason and she also sometimes quarreled with professors because of disagreement.

Early adulthood (20-30Years)

Agnes height has no change and remains to be 5’9. Her weight increases to 96lbs and her nervous system is now well developed. Her voice became slightly richer. At age 23, she was mature and she met with her husband. After she was married, she gave birth to a child and as a result gained some weight and her breast developed fully. She becomes a music instructor while her husband becomes a tax inspector.  Her music and dance skill reaches its peak. She not only taught music but also wrote lyrics and choreography by herself. She led her students to perform in various countries and received a lot of trophies.

Middle adulthood (40-60Years)

She is now settled in her career. Her height is still 5’9 and her weight increases to 98lbs. Since her nervous system is strong, she becomes a counselor to her students. Though her motor skills were strong she experiencedacute pain in her joints because ofteaching her students how to dance. She experienced acute pain in her body joints because before her body was exposed to a lot of movements as a result of teaching music dances. Although she is still engaged in teaching music and dance, she shifts her focus on imparting knowledge because her physical strength has decreased significantly and can easily get injury when involved in the difficult moves.

Wrinkles came out, especially in the face. At age 50, she was menopause, a period when women usually experience hormonal changes and lose the ability to reproduce. Her hair became gray.

Late adulthood (60-80Years)

 

Agnes had a problem with her back and walking. She also had eye sight problems and had to read with the help of glasses. She is also not able to hear well and therefore a person has to shout or draw close to her so that she can hear. Her height decreased to 5’7 while her weight increased to 105lbs. At age 74, her skin was much wrinkled and had a little hump on her back.  Although she had a wealth of musical and dance knowledge, she was not able to teach because her hands and feet were not in harmony and her body was no longer flexible. At age 78, she died of diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

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