Growth Patterns The Middle Childhood years: age 7-12 Both boys and girls average about 2 inches in height per year until the adolescent growth spurt. Both boys and girls average about 5-7 lbs of weight gain in middle childhood years. In middle childhood, the average child’s body weight doubles. Overall children become less stocky and grow more slender.
Figure 11.1 – Growth Curves for Height and Weight
Growth Patterns Nutrition and Growth –Children in these middle years spend a great deal of energy in physical activity and play. –School children burn more calories than preschoolers. 4-6 year olds: 1,400 - 1,800 calories per day 7-10 year olds: 2,000 calories per day –Nutrition is more than calories. Healthy: fruit, veggies, fish, poultry (no skin), whole grains Not healthy: fats, sugars, starches –Most school cafeterias: fast food restaurants have food high in sugar, animal fats, and salt –Portion sizes have also become much larger over the past few decades.
Growth Patterns Similarities and Difference in Physical Growth –Both boys and girls at this age experience steady gains in height and weight and see an increase in muscle strength. Boys: –Are slightly heavier and taller than girls from 9-10 yrs –Around age 11 yrs, boys will develop more muscle. Girls: –At 9-10 will begin their rapid adolescent growth and surpass boys in height and weight until about 13-14 yrs. –Around age 11, girls will develop more fat.
Overweight in Children Between 16-25% of children and teens in U.S. are overweight. Parents often assume heavy children will outgrown the “baby fat” but most overweight children become overweight adults. Overweight children are often ridiculed and rejected by peers. They are less athletic and considered less attractive in adolescent years. They also are at greater risk for health problems throughout life.
Overweight in Children Childhood is the optimal time to prevent or reverse obesity and promote a lifetime pattern of healthy habits. Cognitive methods help by: –Improving nutritional knowledge; reducing calories; introducing exercise; modifying behavior Behavioral methods involve: –Tracking calories and weight; keeping child from temptations; setting good examples; using reinforcers The most successful weight loss programs for children combine: –Exercise; decreased caloric intake; behavior modifications; emotional support from parents
Motor Development Gross Motor Skills –Throughout middle childhood, muscles grow stronger and neural pathways connecting the cerebellum to the cortex become more myelinated. –Experience refines sensorimotor abilities but there are also individual inborn differences.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Definition-Statistics –ADHD is characterized by excessive inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. –Not to be confused with normal active behaviors –Typically occurs around age 7 yrs –1-5% of school age children are diagnosed; more commonly in boys, sometimes “over-diagnosed” to encourage more acceptable behavior Causes –Genetic component: brain chemical dopamine –Lack of executive control of the brain over motor and more primitive functions –Not caused by artificial food additives Treatment & Outcomes –Stimulants such as Ritalin are most used treatment –They promote activity of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain that stimulate the “executive center.” –Some children “outgrow” ADHD; others persist with problems into adolescence or adult years.
Learning Disabilities Learning Disabilities: disorders characterized by inadequate development of specific academic, language, and speech skills Learning disabled children may show problems in some of the following areas: –Math, writing, or reading –Speaking or understanding spoken language –Motor coordination
Learning Disabilities Performing below the expected level for their age and level of intelligence with no evidence of other handicaps (vision-hearing-retardation- etc) usually leads to a diagnosis of Learning Disability. Disability may persist through entire life but early remediation can help many to compensate.
Table 11.2 – Symptoms of Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Source: Adapted from American Psychiatric Association (2000).
Learning Disabilities, cont. Origins of Dyslexia –Genetic Factors 25-65% of dyslexic children have one dyslexic parent. 40% of siblings of children with dyslexia are dyslexic. Left brain hemisphere circulation problems causing oxygen deficiency. Problems in the angular gyrus of the brain may cause difficulty for readers to associate letters with sounds. Some research points to similarities in brain abnormalities between schizophrenia and dyslexia. –Phonological Processing Dyslexic children may not discriminate sounds as accurately as others, creating confusion and impairing reading ability.
Learning Disabilities, cont. Educating Children with Disabilities –Special Education: Programs created to meet the needs of schoolchildren with mild to moderate disabilities including: –Emotional disturbance, mild mental retardation, physical disabilities (i.e., blindness, deafness, paralysis) Evidence is mixed on whether placing disabled children in separate classes can stigmatize and further segregate them from other children –Mainstreaming: Placement of disabled children in regular classrooms adapted to meet their needs
Learning Disabilities, cont. Dyslexia –A reading disorder characterized by letter reversals, mirror reading, slow reading, and reduced comprehension.