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Cognitive and Psychosocial Development Case Study

Wayland is a beautiful eight-year old Caucasian male. He has blonde hair, blue eyes, and an engaging smile. Wayland is similar to his peers in height, but he has an unusual degree of muscularity for a child his age. There are no known medical problems except for the typical colds and sore throats that most children experience on occasion.

Cognitive and Psychosocial Development Case Study

Currently a third-grader in a public elementary school, Wayland lives in a small town with a population of approximately 14 thousand. The socioeconomic status of his family might be described as “working class,” as both his mother and stepfather are employed with a discount department store as warehouse attendants. The mother behaves kindly toward her son, but she seems overwhelmed by life circumstances much of the time. She and Wayland’s stepfather, Jimmy, have two additional children, both toddlers. Jimmy appears somewhat detached from his stepson. The man’s primary interest, according to Wayland, is continuing to build his collection of Star Trek memorabilia. Though this might seem atypical of most men in their late twenties, Wayland apparently views it as a positive attribute in Jimmy since he shares the man’s fascination with the Star Trek phenomenon.

Wayland’s birth father was an abusive alcoholic, and the birth parents were divorced when their son was 3 years of age. Wayland claims to remember domestic disputes during which his father punched holes in the walls of their small home and tore the phone from the wall. Given his young age at the time, one wonders if perhaps he has been told about such episodes and has assimilated them as “memories.” Wayland and his older sister currently have minimal contact with their birth father.

Though Wayland has been diagnosed with reading disabilities, he appears on-track with regard to general cognitive development. According to Jean Piaget, a child evidencing typical cognitive development would be in the Concrete Operations stage at Wayland’s age . This stage is characterized by logical, flexible, organized thought. Conceptualizing cognition as comprised of many interactive processes that lead to “knowing,” “knowing more,” and “knowing differently,” this researcher presented Wayland with several developmental tasks related to this particular stage. Since concrete connotes understanding and manipulation of tangibles, the tasks related to physical objects and properties rather than abstract concepts.

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