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CHAPTER-2

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


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