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12 – HSC CM2: Human Growth and Development

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1.1 Identify the life stages of human development.

This progression from child to adult is known as human development, and it can be easily observed because of the uniformity with which human beings mature. There are six distinct ages that people go through:

  • Infancy (0 – age 2)
  • Childhood (age 3 to age 10)
  • Adolescence (age 11 to age 17)
  • Early adulthood (age 18 to age 29)
  • Middle adulthood (age 30 – age 60)
  • Late adulthood (age 60+)


Infants are especially vulnerable because they are still developing at the earliest stages of life. Since an infant’s immunity isn’t fully established at birth, he or she must rely on the mother and possibly other adults to stay alive. From birth up to around the age of two is usually regarded to be the infancy duration. Babies go through a period of rapid development and growth known as infancy. The infant’s cognitive abilities are expanding, and the infant is beginning to gain motor control. The infant is also beginning to understand the importance of social interaction and is learning to cultivate friendships.


During this second phase of growth and development, a child becomes increasingly self-reliant and curious about the world around them. At this age, kids start to grasp the concept of cause and effect. The caretaker’s job is to help the child develop a healthy sense of self-identity and confidence, which will serve the child well in later life. Learn what not to do now.


For humans, this is the third developmental phase. At this point, the youngster has taken on an increasingly mature appearance. It’s a time of exploring one’s own identity and coming to terms with the world around them. Developmental changes manifest themselves physically and emotionally throughout this period. The caregiver’s love and attention are especially important during this time, as the child is under a great deal of stress. Concerns about one’s appearance, a sudden growth spurt, feelings of pressure from peers, etc., fall into this category. In an effort to find who they are, the child may go through various transformations in terms of appearance, interests, and even social circles.


This period can be further subdivided into three distinct phases: early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood.

Early adulthood is a time when a person’s priorities shift to things like career plans, higher education, and family. Physical changes are minimal, but there is significant development in the realm of the emotions. It’s a deciding point when you realise you have a plan for your life beyond graduation, university, or starting a family.

Middle Adulthood: In the middle years of adulthood, instead of continuing to grow in size, the body begins to recede. The emergence of health problems is a telltale sign of ageing, and the stress problem in old age is distinct from the stress problem in young adulthood. They may now be juggling the demands of parenting teenagers, working full-time, taking care of elderly parents, etc. A mature adult here would be mentally and emotionally prepared to take on these difficulties.

Late adulthood: By the time a person reaches late adulthood, they are 60 years old and may have reached a point in their life where they require constant medical attention and assistance with even the simplest of tasks. It’s a good time to think back on their lives and reflect on what they’ve accomplished and whether or not that’s left them feeling satisfied and happy, or downtrodden and guilty.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2. Describe social, emotional, cognitive and physical developments within each life stage.
  • 2.1. Describe theories of human growth and development.
  • 3.1. Explain significant life events that can occur within each stage of human development.
  • 3.2. Analyse the impact that significant life events have on individuals.

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