Normal Psychosocial Development
of the Child
Assessment of growth and psychosocial development
is the most powerful tool for early identification of children
who may not look obviously sick but who, nevertheless have
suboptimal health and nutrition and are suffering from latent
illness. Remedial measures undertaken at this stage are useful
for prevention of long term problem.
In this regard it is not only the motor development or the
physical growth which should be considered, instead a global
development should be emphasized, an important ingredient
of which is the psychosocial development.
From the birth of a child upto 2 years of age, this may be
called his babyhood. The just born baby starts his vocalization
with a cry. But normally cries in infancy are in response
to physiological condition of the infant like hunger, pain,
discomfort or fatigue. It is like a reflex because his awareness
of the environment is not clear. He starts babbling from 2nd
or 3rd month onwards and this reaches a peak in the 8th month.
It is more a playful activity than communication. He usually
uses gestures as a substitute for speech.
The baby's emotion may be divided into two groups -pleasant
or positive and unpleasant or negative. There is only crying
and screaming at birth. During babyhood, emotions are short
lived but very intense. They appear frequently but disappear
when the baby is distracted. The common emotions in babyhood
are anger and fear. Thwarting of a wish or interference in
his activities normally brings out anger. Too much of this
may later lead to aggressive behaviour. Fear reactions are
usually associated with the native fear of loud noises or
falling. At the end of babyhood fear of animals, dark places
and being alone appear. Sometimes the child adopts fear reactions
through imitation. The baby also experiences pleasure or joy
at his own activities and he smiles and sometimes even laughs.
At around 2 years his smile accompanies verbalization