Human development is the process of becoming mature, both physically and emotionally. This process takes many years and a person goes through many different growth stages to reach adulthood, the final stage of development. Humans are complex beings and each stage of growth includes physical, social, emotion and cognitive developments.
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The National Library of Medicine defines an infant as a child under the age of 1 year. Infants are completely dependent upon another person, often a mother, to care for them. They cannot walk or talk and require help in eating. During this first year of life many drastic developmental progressions occur.
There are four main categories to infant development according to the American Pregnancy Association. Social development occurs as the baby begins to recognize and interact with other humans. Although infants cannot talk, they do begin to develop their language skills as they start to understand and express themselves. Infants make huge strides in large motor skills from learning to holding their own head and sitting, crawling and pulling up. Small motor skills also develop including reaching and grasping for objects.
Infants transition into toddlers, which include children between the ages of 1 and 2.5 to 3. Toddler is a fitting name since during this developmental stage they begin to walk, yet prove unsteady on their feet. Toddlers master many new skills including walking, talking, problem solving and social skills. The National Network for Childcare reports that one of the most important milestones a toddler reaches is finding their independence.
This stage often proves frustrating for parents, as toddlers exhibiting their independence often appear to be to misbehaving. It becomes important to remember that for a toddler who may not yet have the language skills to express their needs, it can become frustrating too.
The pre-school development stage includes children ages 4 and 5. This stage of growth focuses of learning and getting ready for school. This includes expanding their attention span and practicing discipline.
Those children between the ages of 5 and 13 fall into the stage of school age development. This large age span encompasses a wide range of skills and abilities. The years of puberty, or sexual development, begin during the later years of this stage.
This final stage before adulthood includes children between the ages of 13 and 18. That makes this stage particularly difficult for both the parent and the child especially as the adolescents begin to make their own decisions. Although adolescents begin to pull away from authority figures such as parents and teacher this proves a necessary step in their growth as they embark on the adventures of early adulthood.
In our society adulthood begins at age 18 and continues until death. Although fewer specific physical developmental milestones take place during this stage, adults continue to learn and grow emotionally and mentally throughout their lives.