Infant Toddler Observation Essay

In this observation essay, the data collected concluded the child possessed an interpersonal intelligence. The child demonstrated behaviors that lead to the identification of his stage of development, which was sensorimotor. Due to the child’s age and behaviors it was predicted that his moral reasoning is Preconventional. Throughout this essay data collected will be presented and analyzed to support the above claims, using three criteria; what intelligences are being used? What cognitive developmental stage is the subject in? and what is the child’s moral reasoning?

The subject that was observed was a 7 month old boy. For the purpose of privacy we will name the boy Johnny. Johnny has blue eyes, blonde hair and light skin. In the first session, Johnny exhibited the most data for the claim of his intelligence. He would often watch people as they went about their day to day lives. He would sit quietly and observe the actions of his peers and intently tune into their reactions to situations which often caused him to perform similar actions. For example, when they made a grimace or pretended to cry he would do the same. Johnny’s reaction and empathy for others emotion state was very apparent. The slightest discipline such as his mother saying “don’t touch” when he reached for something he wasn’t supposed to touch would cause him to look into her eyes and cry. The chance of him trying to reach for the same object again was very rare. He was also adequate in his communication with others.

The communication skills he exhibited were easily understood for the majority of the time. When asked questions or told to do something he would point at the object or perform the task desired. For example, after changing Johnny’s diaper his mother then requested that he throw the diaper away, he then proceeded to roll over, pick up the diaper and walk to the trash can. When he reached the trash can, he was puzzled as to how to use the foot pedal that lifted the lid. He stared for a moment, sat the diaper down walked to his mother grabbed her hand, pointed at the trash can and proceeded to pull her in the desired direction.

When they had reached the trash can he patted the lid with his free hand and looked up at her. His mother put her foot gently on the pedal causing the lid to pop open, Johnny watched intently the whole time. She then released the pedal and requested that he try. He stomped on the pedal popping the lid open. With a sense of accomplishment, he threw the diaper in and scurried away. Throughout these examples from the data collected, it is evident that Johnny displays an interpersonal intelligence. The next pending observation is Johnny’s stage of development.

Sensorimotor is a stage in which babies are discovering their relation of their bodies and the environment. They are using their abilities to carry out desires brought about by their senses. Johnny did many things throughout the observation sessions that provided evidence that he was in this stage of development. Most Infants and babies tend to like a source of security or comfort in their developing process, this could be sucking their thumb, a special blanket, a specific teething toy or any other object they have acquired due to attempts to satisfy their need or desire. For Johnny, the source of comfort he chose was sucking on the ends of a “very special” blue and white blanket. When Johnny felt he was in distress, sad or sleepy he would seek out his blanket for the comfort it provided. I can only image that he was not born sucking on the blanket, so somewhere in his developmental process, he acquired this habit because he discovered it to be pleasurable. Taste is another resource found in the data that made his sensorimotor state obvious.

Johnny portrayed sensorimotor in his desire of things that taste good to him and carried out specific functions to condone his desires. In one of our sessions Johnny was eating breakfast, he had some eggs, cheese, and potatoes. As he reached for a potato and put it in his mouth he gave a look of satisfaction. Then he tried some eggs and cheese. Upon doing this he discovered he liked the cheese that was sprinkled on the eggs the most. He then proceeded to only eat the cheese. The cheese was grated so it took him some coordination to be able to grab the cheese with his pudgy little hands.

The act of grabbing the cheese was very tedious for him. Once he was able to obtain a piece of cheese, he would rush it to his mouth and often drop it in the process of his hurry. When his hand reached his mouth without the cheese, he would look at his hand, then search the plate below for the cheese that had escaped his grasp. He repeated these acts until he was no longer hungry, leaving remnants of the undesired food. Through the process of observing several settings of breakfast, it became more evident that he performed actions based on his desired sense of taste. This is not the only example in the data that we can draw from to conclude he is in the sensorimotor stage.

Attempting to jump and falling caused by an excitement was also one of the many sensorimotor actions Johnny displayed. His father would throw him into the air causing him to giggle with the thrill of the action. When his father placed him on the ground because he grew tired after several throws. Johnny would react by pointing in the air, babble noises and attempt to jump on his own. Jumping often left him collapsed on his bottom, due to his lack of neuromotor ability. Johnny’s parents would then laugh at the silliness of the action, seeing the happiness on their face he started intentionally falling to his bottom. Looking at his father and mother as he giggled in hopes of their approval. This example demonstrates the repeat of an action due to the pleasure Johnny found in his parents happiness. Now last but not least, let’s go take a journey into the data for Johnny’s moral reasoning.

The moral state assumed for johnny is preconventional. This is partially due to the fact he is so young (7 months) because the preconventional stage consists of a lack of awareness of the social conventions at hand and is usually the stage for younger children, he most likely falls into this category. However, the data collected also helps to drive this point home. In the Preconventional stage, the individual is usually concerned with avoiding punishment. This results in obedience oriented actions.

The stage is also one of self-interest. The focus is on self benefits and rewards. As already mentioned, Johnny possesses an interpersonal intelligence, being of this nature he already desires to be obedient due to the sensitivity he has towards discipline. Stated previously in this essay, he is unlikely to repeat an action that he has been punished for. This can tie in the fact that he doesn’t find the negative actions that result in punishment worth the benefit or reward he might possess by doing them.

An example of this can be drawn from one of the observation sessions. In this particular session he was playing with his sister and as he played he began to pull her hair, laughing as he did it. Johnny’s mother frowned and sternly told him “Johnny don’t pull your sisters hair.” Looking up with one hand on his sisters head he paused, he looked back down and then at his mother again. Locking eyes with his mother and holding her gaze he started to pull his sisters hair again and laugh. In this example it is clear that he weighed the benefits of pulling her hair versus the punishment and made a poor choice to continue to pull her hair. These lessons learned will give Johnny experience to draw from in the future when he faces similiar situations and help him decide the cost and benefit of his choices. This example helps to support his form of moral reasoning, through the patterns and choices he made in the above exmple. This brings us to our conclusion.

Data has been presented to suport the claims that Johnny has an interpersonal intellegence, he is in the sensorimotor stage of developement and that he possesses a preconventional moral reasoning. The data was used as example to support these claims through detail of his actions and reactions to situations. Throughout this observation it was intriguing to see the developemental process unfold and bring about the above conclusions. The developemental process is vast and there were so many things at play in each and every observation session, to narrrow his actions into a few questions (stated in the introduction) is a small insight on the depth of this process. There is so much to explore and understand in the process. Hopefully this essay provides some insight on some behaviors and spurs curiosity to futher undertsand the developemental process.