Solution: Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

NRS 434 Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Solution: Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

Health Assessment during the Adolescent and Prenatal Periods

Teenagers are a special group due to their increased predisposition to health issues in their environments. Nurses play a critical role in ensuring the adoption of interventions that minimize their exposure to environmental risks that could cause them health problems. They also educate their families about the importance of promoting environmental health and safety for their health and wellbeing. Therefore, this assignment examines the contemporary issue of drug abuse among teenagers in the modern world.

The needs of the pediatric patient differ depending on age, as do the stages of development and the expected assessment findings for each stage. In a 500-750-word paper, examine the needs of a school-aged child between the ages of 5 and 12 years old and discuss the following:

  1. Compare the physical assessments among school-aged children. Describe how you would modify assessment techniques to match the age and developmental stage of the child.
  2. Choose a child between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. Identify the age of the child and describe the typical developmental stages of children that age.
  3. Applying developmental theory based on Erickson, Piaget, or Kohlberg, explain how you would developmentally assess the child. Include how you would offer explanations during the assessment, strategies you would use to gain cooperation, and potential findings from the assessment.

Selected Contemporary Issue

The selected contemporary issue is the use of drugs and substances among the teenagers. According to the data by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), drug and substance abuse among the teenagers is a critical public health concerns. The data shows that at least 1 in every 8 teenagers abused an illicit substance in the past year (NCDAS, 2021). The statistics also shows that there was a 61% increase in the use of drugs among eighth graders between the years 2016 and 2020. In addition, 62% of the teenagers abuse alcohol by the time they are 12th graders. At least 50% of the teenagers have abused a drug with 83% of them knowing someone that drinks, smokers, or abuses drugs during their school days (NCDAS, 2021). Drug and substance abuse among the teenagers have adverse effects on their health. The effects include increased risk for addiction, delayed growth and development, engagement in risky behaviors, and health problems such as heart disease, sleep disorders, and hypertension (McCabe et al., 2018). Therefore, it is important that interventions that minimize the predisposition of the teenagers to drugs and substance abuse be embraced.

External Stressors

A number of external stressors predispose the teenagers to drug and substance abuse. One of them is peer pressure. Pressure from other teenagers increases the risk of teenagers abusing drugs. The pressure could be from friends, which normalize the abuse of drugs (Wang et al., 2020). The other stressor is the family use of drugs. Children born to families with individuals that abuse drugs are increasingly predisposed abusing drugs. The other stressor is bullying in schools. Bullying among teenagers in schools increases their risk for drug abuse to overcome the negative effects of their experiences (Wang et al., 2020). Living in communities with high rate of drug and substance abuse also acts as a stressor that predisposes the teenagers to drugs and substance abuse.

Assessment Strategies

Accurate assessment of teenagers for substance abuse and its associated risk factors is important to facilitate the development of

Solution Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child
Solution Developmental Assessment and the School-Aged Child

appropriate treatment strategies. The assessment can be achieved by obtaining both subjective and objective data. Subjective data focuses on the experiences of the teenagers with drug and substance abuse. Non-judgmental questions such as those related to the frequency, quantity, and severity of effects of drug and substance abuse should be obtained (US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF], 2018). In addition, screening tools should be used to examine the existence of substance abuse problem and its severity. Some of the screening tools include the Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire and CRAFT tool. The other assessment strategy entails the acquisition of data from the client concerning the external stressors contributing to the problem (Jamal et al., 2017). A focus is placed on factors such as the effect of school, home, and community environment on their drug abuse behaviors. The additional questions that should be asked include those related to parental support, sexual behaviors and identity, and sources of the abused drugs by the teenagers (Jamal et al., 2017). Private and confidential information such as those related to sexual identity and illegal behaviors of the teenagers may not be shared with the guardian or parents.

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Support Options

A number of support options exist for adolescents experiencing external stressors such as drugs and substance abuse. One of the options is the implementation of public health programs targeting this vulnerable population. The programs should focus on creating awareness among the teenagers about the risk factors, causes, effects, and treatments available for those who abuse drugs. The programs will create awareness and strengthen the adoption of measures that minimize their vulnerability (USPSTF, 2018). The second intervention entails the provision of treatment to the affected teenagers. Treatment should aim at reducing dependency and assisting them to overcome their addiction problems (Wang et al., 2020). There is also the need to link the teenagers with the existing social support systems for substance and drug abuse. The social support systems will help them develop effective coping strategies for their addictive behaviors. They will also facilitate their reintegration to the society and acceptance. The last intervention entails promoting advocacy for social change (Wang et al., 2020). Nurses and other stakeholders should work in collaboration to increase the need for the creation of safe environments free from drug and substance abuse.


Overall, drug and substance abuse among the teenagers is a critical public health concern. Risk factors such as peer pressure, family use of drugs, and community prevalence of drug and substance abuse act as stressors for the problem among the teenagers. Accurate assessment and diagnosis are important to facilitate appropriate treatment interventions for the teenagers. Therefore, nurses should champion the implementation of strategies that prevent and minimize the exposure of teenagers to drugs and substances.




Jamal, A., Gentzke, A., Hu, S. S., Cullen, K. A., Apelberg, B. J., Homa, D. M., & King, B. A. (2017). Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2011–2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(23), 597–603.

McCabe, S. E., West, B. T., & McCabe, V. V. (2018). Associations Between Early Onset of E-cigarette Use and Cigarette Smoking and Other Substance Use Among US Adolescents: A National Study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 20(8), 923–930.

NCDAS. (2021). Teenage Drug Use Statistics [2021]: Data & Trends on Abuse. NCDAS.

US Preventive Services Task Force. (2018). Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA, 320(18), 1899–1909.

Wang, T. W., Neff, L. J., Park-Lee, E., Ren, C., Cullen, K. A., & King, B. A. (2020). E-cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(37), 1310–1312.

Child development is the constant but expected sequential biological, emotional, and psychological changes in human beings from birth to the end of adolescence. A developmental assessment is conducted for children at this period to evaluate various aspects of a child’s functioning, including motor, cognition, behavior, communication, sensory abilities, adaptive skills, and social interaction (Aylward, 2020). The purpose of this paper is to discuss physical assessments among school-aged children and the typical developmental stages of a 10-year-old.

Physical Assessments among School-Aged Children

School-aged children are those between 6-12 years. Physical assessment of school-aged children takes the same approach, but some aspects differ based on the child’s age. It starts with vital signs and nutritional assessment (height and weight) (Choo et al., 2019). However, the normal range of vital signs differs with age. The physical exam is the same using a head-to-toe approach and applying inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation techniques. Dental, visual, and hearing exams are also performed in school-aged children (Choo et al., 2019). Children from 10 years are assessed for physical changes from secondary sexual characteristics, including the growth of pubic hair and breast development.

The physical assessment can be modified to correspond to the school-age child’s age and development by giving simple instructions that the child understands as per their cognitive development. Besides, the examiner should begin with less-invasive and uncomfortable procedures and end with the most invasive and painful exams (Sheldrick et al., 2019). The examination can be done when the parent is present for children below eight years. However, children above eight years may feel uncomfortable having their caregivers around, and thus privacy should be upheld to promote comfort.

Typical Developmental Stages of 10-Year-Old

A ten-year-old undergoes physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Physically, they begin exhibiting growth patterns related to gender, and signs of puberty may start showing. They should demonstrate endurance and have more advanced fine motor skills (Misirliyan & Huynh, 2021). In the cognitive aspect, a 10-year-old should: Know the complete date; Name months of a year in order; Read books with chapters; Read and understand a paragraph with complex sentences; Have calculation skills in addition and subtraction; Write simple stories; Have speech patterns almost at an adult level (Misirliyan & Huynh, 2021). Typical development in the emotional and social aspects include: Enjoying interacting with their friends; Having friends of the same gender; Enjoying team and group activities; Being aware of the body.

Developmental Assessment Using Erickson’s Developmental Theory

In Erickson’s psychosocial developmental theory, a 10-year-old belongs to the Industry vs. Inferiority stage. Children in this developmental stage get encouraged and reinforced by their initiative (Maree, 2021). They become industrious and have a high confidence level in their capability to attain goals. However, if the initiative is discouraged or restricted, the child starts to feel inferior, doubting their abilities, and may not attain their potential. The Erickson theory would be employed in developmentally assessing a child by assigning them a task to do independently (Maree, 2021). I would then assess the sense of industry and inferiority by evaluating their feelings after succeeding or failing to complete the task.

Strategies to gain the child’s cooperation include explaining the exams that will be performed in simple terms, including the painful procedures. A non-threatening language will be used in giving instructions to foster cooperation. Besides, I would allow the child to play with some assessment tools, such as the stethoscope, to relieve anxiety during examination and foster cooperation (Choo et al., 2019). I would explain to the child in simple terms the assessment findings, including normal and abnormal findings, probable causes, and further examinations or treatments that will be ordered.


Physical assessment of school-aged children takes a similar approach, and the same exams are conducted in all children. However, different ranges determine the findings as normal or abnormal. The exam can be modified by having painful and invasive procedures last and using simple instructions during the assessment. Erickson’s developmental theory can be applied to assess a child by evaluating their attitude when they succeed or fail in completing a task.







Aylward, G. P. (2020). Conducting a Developmental Assessment in Young Children. Journal of Health Service Psychology46(3), 103-108.

Choo, Y. Y., Yeleswarapu, S. P., How, C. H., & Agarwal, P. (2019). Developmental assessment: practice tips for primary care physicians. Singapore medical journal60(2), 57–62.

Maree, J. G. (2021). The psychosocial development theory of Erik Erikson: a critical overview. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 1107–1121.

Misirliyan, S. S., & Huynh, A. P. (2021). Development Milestones. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Sheldrick, R. C., Schlichting, L. E., Berger, B., Clyne, A., Ni, P., Perrin, E. C., & Vivier, P. M. (2019). Establishing new norms for developmental milestones. Pediatrics144(6).