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Child Case Study


The case study is based on a 4”6 guy, ZN, who lives at home with his parents and sister. Because ZN’s parents work full-time, he sees his maternal grandparents on a regular basis. Since the age of seven months, ZN has attended nursery three days a week. Next month, ZN will begin attending a local elementary school. Due to intrauterine growth limitation, he was delivered via caesarean section at 36 weeks (IUGR). ZN was placed under special care while an infant for 9 days suffering from jaundice and needing oxygen support. He has several food allergies and is suspected of having asthma but has no other medical issues. ZN is monolingual, and his weight is currently in the 25th percentile having crawled while 14 months and begun to walk at 18 months.

ZN’s speech and language were studied using a recording of a spontaneous speech sample made in an unfamiliar clinic environment. Because of the data, this may have an impact on dependability. A CDI report was also used to assess language development; however, there are two concerns with this method’s reliability. It should also be remembered that no established standards can measure ZN’s age, and the accuracy of the parental measurements of the report may not be reliable. The child’s case history was the most important tool utilised in data collecting for ZN. Finally, naturalistic observation, informal probing, informal observation a family approach to obtain access and consent for ZN were used.

A case study was used to collect data, which included in-depth descriptive information on specific aspects and situations. The information is subsequently compiled, processed, and presented to the appropriate authorities, usually in the form of a tale. In this situation, the child was closely monitored in order to ascertain the outcomes. The casual observation approach was the second way of data collecting. The objective is to monitor and observe the youngster in order to spot themes, trends, and patterns that may be used to make deductions. This is generally the case when the research team already knows something about the individual or group being studied. Even the tiniest of things may have a big impact. As a result, when taking notes, vigilance and subtle distinctions are crucial. When it comes to informal observation, people are always on the lookout for that one bit of information that may make all the difference. This was used when monitoring the youngster when he was playing and engaging with other children his age.

The naturalistic observation was the other method of data collecting. It is mostly used by psychologists and, to a lesser extent, other social sciences. The majority of this approach entails observing subjects in their native settings or habitats. This is done in the event that lab observation is considered ineffective. In our example, a speech and language therapist observed ZN who was our subject, in a clinical environment. These were the child’s two most common environments; thus, they were most adapted to produce the desired effects. In contrast to the lab, test subjects provide more accurate findings in their natural settings. Finally, we used a family method to gather data. Data gathering entailed questioning and engaging with family members in order to obtain the necessary information.

Child Development Section

Motor skills are essential in the day to day lives of most children. Santrock (2014) explains that the average child gains between 5 and 7 pounds a year and grows around 2.5 inches. However, there are variations in growth patterns for each individual child. Santrock (2014) also explains that a child’s gross and motor skills dramatically increase during childhood. Therefore, activity rather than meals should be the centre of a child’s life. I noticed that Z was capable of running, walking, kicking around, lifting and throwing objects easily using the naturalistic observation method. Furthermore, Z could easily tie his own shoelaces, alluding to the existence of self-help skills even at that tender age. Sheridan (2007) asserts that the development of awareness in a child is directly linked to the child’s ability to feel a variety of emotions. It should be noted that, akin to adults, children are subjected to a range of emotions, and they experience these throughout the day. Notably, it is such emotions that aid their emotional development and also help them to make sense of the emotions of others around them. Sheridan (2007) also explains that such emotional experiences allow children to control their emotions. Through informal observations of ZN, I discovered that the child does not perform well in the domain of accepting opinions different from his own. I also noticed that ZN’s language skills were developed because of the capacity to pass the intended message and maintain simple conversations through constructing simple two-word sentences.

1. Posture and Large Movements

I analysed Z’s posture and large movements based on the child’s capacity to display gross motor skills. For the most part, these skills involve the movement of larger muscles in the body. Sheridan (2007) explains that a child should have developed discernible gross motor skills by the age of two. In most cases, these gross motor skills are determined by the body awareness of a child, their balance, strength and reactions. For the most part, lifting, throwing, kicking, walking and running are characterised as gross motor skills. Using informal observation, I noticed that ZN’s posture and large movements were normal. ZN could run, walk, kick around, lift and throw objects effectively.

2. Vision and Fine Movements

Fine motor abilities, which entail the coordination and movement of tiny muscles, are the other type of growth. These abilities fluctuate based on the child’s everyday activities (Sheridan, 2007). They might involve academic abilities like scribbling, writing, drawing, and colouring with a pencil, or cutting with scissors. Fine motor abilities, according to Stoppard (1991), are more difficult and complex to monitor since they develop gradually. By sketching a diagram, ZN exhibited excellent fine motor abilities.

3. Play and Cognitive Development

Play Skills

Children are able to develop their creativity levels and partake in exercise when they play. (Sheridan, 2007). Fawcett (1996) explains that playing includes associative play or even unoccupied play. I observed Z in active play, and he demonstrated that he could practice play and even practise. For instance, ZN was actively playing until the bell rang, and he immediately stopped and picked up his backpack. In doing this, ZN displayed knowledge of time because he chose to end his playing and decided to head home. As Fawcett (1996) explains, playing is akin to a rite of passage that sees children garner the skills and knowledge to guide them in their later years. Also, play is closely linked to the innate spirit of curiosity found in most children. I observed ZN’s play patterns and deduced that they followed a normal pattern as established by Sheridan (2007). Using informal observation, I watched ZN take risks, show creativity during play.

Other Cognitive Skills

On the other hand, cognitive development entails sophisticated and advanced activities like making the right choices and problem-solving. These are essential when a child is roaming freely without the help of their parent or guardian as they exercise their innate curiosity (Sheridan, 2007). In other words, they are aided by the child’s brain and are generally bran-based. In watching ZN play, I managed to make out cognitive skills like attention, long-term memory, logic and reasoning, visual processing and auditory processing. Sheridan (2007) explains that such cognitive skills work in tandem to help the child to learn, read, remember, pay attention and solve problems. As ZN played, attention as a cognitive skill was noticed when the child picked up his bag to halt play once the bell rang. ZN also showed logic and reasoning by sticking to the predetermined area of play and not letting his curiosity take over.

4. Social Skills and Behaviour

Social Dimensions of Play

People often utilise social skills and behaviour in regular discussions. They differ based on the type of communication used, both verbal and nonverbal. Speech, facial expressions, gestures and even body language are examples. In most cases, these reactions preceded stimulant-like activity. Sheridan (2007) explains that socialisation in children starts at the age of three to four. Children start to share toys, ideas and follow predetermined rules and guidelines. Their dimensions of play gradually take a social dimension because they begin to award roles among themselves in their day-to-day play. In some cases, they operate as a collective to play a simple game or to build something. Sheridan (2007) explains that social play often involves interaction and same-aged children. Because of the existence of predetermined rules, children’s play is often structured (Sheridan, 2007). In most cases, a sense of imagination and pretence characterise the games.

Behaviour and Temperament

Personality is sometimes temperament, education, culture, and even how one socialises all have a role. Temperament is, for the most part, an intrinsic quality. It is there when a child is born, and it is enhanced by the child’s interactions and experiences with others in their surroundings. (Santrock, 2014). Using informal observation, I deduced that ZN’s behaviour and temperament are normal for his age. However, it was concerning that the child seemed intolerant of others’ opinions and feelings.

Theory of Mind

Theory of mind relates to having the mental capacity to understand that other people’s behaviour, beliefs, intentions and desires and emotions may be different to one’s own. In this case, it relates to the ability of a child to appreciate and discern diversity from a tender age. In the case of Z, it was difficult to make conclusions whether the child understood the concept of the theory of mind. For instance, it appears that Z was intolerant of other people’s opinions and views. However, the sample size for the observation is based on a single video and audio transcription. Exhaustive deductions about ZN’s capacity for relating and understanding others. Given the age’s family background and age, it is arguable that the child can be guided on a course of action, or they may feel guilty about their efforts. In Erikson’s six stages of development, Initiative versus Guilt is the third stage, and it is the child Z is (Sing, 2012). As ZN begins to take the initiative to carry out plans, guidance is pertinent to ensure that frustration does not cause him an identity crisis down the road.

Use of Language Skills for Communication

For the most part, ZN tried to explain things using their hands in situations where articulation failed. ZN also attempted to mimic animal behaviours such as a purring cat. The sound was mostly inaccurate, but it did reflect ZN’s social skills and behaviour. Language has an essential influence on the development of this competence in a youngster (Santrock, 2014). Despite the fact that different animals have different ways of communicating, people have mastered the skill of communication through language. Such mastery has made it simpler to send and receive messages, as well as exchange ideas, thoughts, and feelings have made it simpler to send and receive messages, as well as exchange ideas, emotions, and thoughts.

5. Self Help Skills

Self-help skills are actions and behaviours that are a necessary step toward a child’s independence and are intended to assist a child in meeting their own needs. Clothing oneself, self-serving during eating, and even dressing oneself are examples of these skills. ZN’s self-help skills were discernible through the child’s ability to tie their own shoelaces. Lucker (2009) explains that an average child has four core self-help skills. The first skill is self-feeding, and it entails the possession of independent ability to show competence in all developmental stages of self-reading. The second self-help skill is independence in dressing and grooming. The third skill is the ability of a child to take an active role in their hygiene and toileting. The fourth and final self-help skill is the ability of a child to help with daily chores, including cleaning up after themselves by picking up toys and related activities. In the provided videos of Z, the possession of self-feeding skills cannot be exhaustively gauged because of the scarcity of data on the same. However, ZN showed the capacity to self-dress and groom by being able to tie their own shoelaces. On the other hand, Z’s toilet and hygiene self-help skills could not be discerned because of a lack of data on the child taking an active role in the same. Finally, Z showed self-help skills in the fourth category by picking up his school bag immediately after partaking in play.

Speech and Language Section

Speech development

ZN’s parents were given the Oxford CDI for completion because ZN could only complete up to 20 words. The Oxford CDI is a McArthur CDI adaption of British English that addresses word scale and gestures. Because ZN was beyond 37 months old, there were no standards with age that matched the peers for comparisons. Furthermore, the parent report that measured vocabulary was unavailable. As a result, informal observations, language samples, and the child’s case history were meant to be utilised to assess ZN’s vocabulary. Between the ages of 6 and 9 months, children commonly babble syllables and begin copying tones and various speech patterns. During the first 12 months, the child also begins to speak for the first time. Byford (2013, pp.212-241) claims that children begin to utilising utilise over 50 words and form sentences with two words by the time they are one and a half years old, or even two and a half years old. Between the ages of two and three, sentences begin to increase to four and five words (Byford 2013, pp.212-241). Transcription is the result of the listener’s perception of what was said, as well as the child’s speech and linguistic ability. To demonstrate this, two people can transcribe a sample of the same recording and compare their transcripts.

Language Development

Early production, intermediate fluency, preproduction, speech emergency, and advanced fluency are the five phases that children go through when learning a language (Buckley, 2003). Gestures and sounds are the first steps in the formation of language, followed by words and, finally, sentences. Buckley (2003) recommends that parents and guardians begin encouraging their children’s language development by speaking with them frequently and responding to their communication. Buckley (2003) also recommends exchanging stories and reading books to help children develop their linguistic skills. Language development is complex, according to Fletcher (1985), and includes cognitive, literacy, and social development. Language is an important instrument for a child’s growth. Language development benefits a child’s capacity to learn, think, solve issues, comprehend and express feelings, and maintain and create relationships, among other things. A three-month-old infant will be able to giggle and grin. As they become older, they start experimenting with new sounds and communicating with gestures such as waving and pointing.

a. Vocabulary

Between the fourth and sixth months, Buckley (2003) explains that the child starts babbling and begins to make a single syllable such as ba before repeatedly saying ba baba. Babbling is followed by the jargon phase, whereby the child will mimic actual words and conversations. For the most part, the jargon is not recognisable. According to Buckley (2003), children do not begin to speak meaningful words until they are approximately a year old. Many youngsters begin to create meaningful sentences by combining known words between the ages of 18 months and two years. Both the parent and the child can comprehend each other at this point. However, others who are inexperienced with the youngster may find it difficult to comprehend the child. Children can create complete sentences of three to four words after three years, according to Buckley (2003). Children are also more likely to pronounce the words correctly. (Buckley, 2003). At the age of three to five years, children begin to form more complex and longer sentences and conversations. Also, at this stage, they become inquisitive and ask about different places, things and people.

b. language (syntax and morphology)

(i). Quantitative analysis

Linguistics is divided into two sections: morphology and syntax. Morphology is the study of word structures, whereas syntax is the study of sentence structures. Using the same word classes, children should be able to mix word stems with grammatical morphemes (Klee, 1992a). The word clean, for example, is a verb, whereas the term cleaning is a noun. Compounding and combining distinct word stems should also be possible for children.

In order to explain behaviours, the following study employs statistical and mathematical measures and modelling.

To compare the following, a report from MIMO was used.

1. MLU: Utterance in morphemes mean length

2. HDD: a measure typically related to the Type/Token Ration which measures vocabulary diversity/richness

3. Number of utterances per speaker

4. Number of different words

I also used the results of other developing children to make comparisons to those of ZN. To discern the norms of MLU, I also used different textbooks.

The child’s score and percentile rank were revealed in the CDI report. However, from this, Butric data is not available and returned NOT APPLICABLE. Children who are learning a language must master the sounds, word forms, interpretations, and other abilities required for language use and comprehension. Estimates of effect sizes are used to develop common languages for comparing various phenomena. The use of common languages enables students to explore the connection between a variety of phenomena in the realm of language acquisition (Klee, 1992b). It is possible to comprehend the trajectories of a certain phenomenon, including word learning, through cross phenomenon comparisons and how each phenomenon’s trajectory connects to other skills, such and learning and gazes following.

The explanation of how impact sizes fluctuate as a function age can help one comprehend the elements that may influence trajectories, such as a child’s development and experience. The approaches described above are critical in giving a detailed and quantitative picture of individual developmental paths. Because language systems are interactive, it is feasible to utilise the data to create quantitative models for understanding how different parts of experiences, such as vocabulary acquisition, interact (Klee, 1992b). In this scenario, the child does not wait until the sounds of the language are learned before beginning to acquire distinct meanings of the words. Word learning issues are frequently solved in connection to other language abilities by children. There is research to show that learning a word assists the acquisition of lower-level information, including phonemes. (Buckley, 2003). Also, evidence shows that information skills in the higher-level category, like learning words, can be acquired before the mastery of lower levels.

(ii). Qualitative analysis

English is the most widely spoken language in Europe and its surroundings. With a surge in research across Europe, fuelled by national governments and European organisations, linguistic variety has remained a key component of research in general. Certain discrepancies across languages may have unintended repercussions, such as misunderstanding of information in other languages (Klee & Stokes, 2007). This is especially true in qualitative research since it primarily acts and based research on language. Every step of the process, from gathering data to analysing it and eventually presenting the results, requires the use of language. Language barriers may emerge as early as the initial stage of qualitative research when material must be translated into the researcher’s native tongue. This may be tainted by hyperbole or even hatred in order to meet their underlying desires or demands. Although linguistic variations are significant on all fronts, they are essential in the later phases when data needs to be presented. Validity is very important in the later phases of qualitative research, as well as any other relevant study. In qualitative research, language and subjective abilities are nearly inextricably linked. While language is employed to convey meaning, it also has an impact on the meaning’s consequence. The focus here is on your own power of observation, not on a collection of pre-packaged assessments.

MiMo can be used when grammatical morphemes are used by the child as listed in the handbook. MiMo can also help an individual to describe whether verb occurrences “be” is used as copulas or auxiliaries. One can also learn whether “s” has been used in the third person or singular, plural, auxiliary or genitive. These findings can be related to the MLU of the child and the child’s expected morphemes. One should identify if and when questions and negatives are being used by the child. The examiner can relate these findings to the acquisition pattern of the question and any negative constructions. It is important to note any other patterns so that the findings can be related to typical; acquisition patterns. Caution should also be taken to note any uses of the irregular past tense of complex sentences and plurals. At this stage, one may choose an aspect that interests them, for instance, the child’s use of pronouns, lexicon, use of deictic forms, turn-taking abilities and the like. Such information can be used to analyse and describe this area with certain references to typical language acquisition forms.

(c) Area of interest

Child Early Stages Language Development Encouragement

One approach to encourage a child’s language development is to converse with them about things that interest them. Parents and guardians can achieve this by mimicking what the children do, whether it’s chattering, gesturing, or even speaking words. Buckley (2003) recommends that parents and guardians treat their children as talkers and communicate with them from the beginning. The essential aspect is to use various terms in different situations. For example, engaging the child in a conversation about an orange knife and asking them to use the knife to cut an orange helps them the functionality and application of the words. It is critical to respond to the children’s attempts at communication as soon as they begin to wave, gurgle, point, or coo. When they begin to gurgle and coo, for example, the parent might coo and gurgle in return (Buckley, 2003). When a youngster asks for an apple, the guardian might react by elaborating on what the child says and reiterating it. Also, as they begin to form sentences, one may support and reply to them in order to help them broaden their words. For instance, if a child says they went to a store, the guardian may answer by asking the child what they did at the store. It is important for parents to encourage and pay attention when responding to their children to develop their communication and language skills.

3. Reflection on reliability: Comparison of Transcripts

One of the aims of the child case research is to master the concept of measuring reliability and validity problems. Quantifying these characteristics is imperative when delivering tests, as well as other types of measures like language analysis and sample (MacWhinney, 2015). Transcription is the outcome of the listener’s perception of what was said, as well as the child’s own speech and language ability. The easiest and most reliable means of transcription is having two people transcribe a similar recorded sample and then comparing their transcripts after the exercise. In most cases, errors, themes and trends emerge in the transcription because of the duality of input and output.

I, therefore, solicited the help of one of the students in transcribing 5 minutes of the recording. Thereafter I concurrently ran my own transcription and that of my colleague and compared the two. I gauged the transcriptions qualitatively to discern the location of the actual words and noted the segmentation of the utterances. I then scanned for differences and similarities in both transcripts. As expected, the transcripts were not identical because of differences in language development and speech patterns in children. Notably, the mean length of the utterance of morphemes between both transcripts was different. I noticed that ZN’s utterances per speaker were lower than those of other students. I also closely measured the token ratio and type to gauge the richness of ZN’s vocabulary and how diverse it was. I used MiMo to compute these measures, although there was an issue with their reliability.

Reference List

Buckley, B. (2003). Children’s communication skills from birth to five years. New York: Routledge.

Fletcher, P. (1985). A child’s learning of English. Oxford: Blackwell. (a detailed case study of one child; now out-of-print, but Robinson Library has a copy)

Klee, T. (1992a). Measuring children’s conversational language. In S.F. Warren & J. Reichle (Eds.), Causes and effects in communication and language intervention (pp. 315330). Baltimore: Brookes (issues in language sample analysis; summary of utterance-segmentation procedure)

Klee, T. (1992b). Developmental and diagnostic characteristics of quantitative measures of children’s language production. Topics in Language Disorders, 12, 2841. (Psychometric study of various quantitative language sample measures)

Lucker, K.D. (2009). A Review of Self-Help Skills for People with Autism: A Systematic Teaching Approach. Behaviour Analysis in Practice, [online] 2(1), pp.65–67. Available at: [Accessed 26 Jul. 2019].

MacWhinney, B. (2015). The CHILDES project: Tools for analysing talk. (3rd ed. Vol. 2: The Database). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (Downloadable from the CHILDES website;

Santrock, J.W. (2014). Child development. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill Humanities.

Sing, P. (2012). Child development theories including ecological systems theory, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, cultural-historical psychology, attachment theory, and Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. United States: Webster’s Digital Services.‌

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