Case Of Child Observation: Four-year-old Boy

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For the child that I observed he was a four-year-old little boy. I observed him in my home while he was doing a few different things in his normal environment. His options on what things he could were limited since the day before I did the observation, he got in trouble for punching another kid in the stomach at school because he did not want to play with him. One of the first things I noticed that he was doing was cuddling with his mom since she was telling me that he was in trouble. He was sitting in her lap with his head on her chest. The child then proceeded to play fetch with a squeaky toy with my black lab Anna. As I was watching him play, it was funny to see how excited he was when she would actually bring the toy back to him and the way he would throw the toy for her to go and retrieve it. Upon the dog retrieving the toy he would jump up and down; I also noticed that when he would get really excited his language was a little more difficult to understand as he was giggling. At one point, he wanted to try to throw the toy further down the hallway but he decided in order to achieve that he was going to walk half way to where he was trying to throw it to and then walks back to where his mom is sitting in the chair. According to the child “dogs bark so they talk” was what he said at one point when the other dogs came into the house and started barking.

He would talk to Anna like she was another person that was playing with him instead of like a dog, he did get a little upset when one of the other dogs took the toy from the big dog that he was playing with; he thought that they should share the toy only the little dog just takes it to chew on it. When he would throw the toy, he would throw it then fall back into the chair with his legs up and wait for it to be brought back to him and laughed when she would try to give it to him. He played with the dog for about 30 minutes then randomly remembered that his shoes light up and was excited with that fact. Since the child is only four years old the lights in the shoes still fascinate him. I then was watching how after a while of standing and throwing the toy he was getting a little bored so after he threw the toy he would lay back in the chair and be kicking his legs around while he waited for the toy to be brought back to him. He would not just use his arms to throw the toy he used his whole body and would turn halfway during the throw. After they had finished cleaning up and ate dinner, we had gone back into the living room with him being in trouble he was not allowed to do much.

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The child went back to playing fetch with Anna. During this time, I focused more on how he threw the toy and the process he used in throwing the toy for the dog. The child would use his right arm to throw the ball even though when he was drawing, he was using his left hand, I found that interesting. After a while longer watching the child, I could see that his left-handedness was only when he was writing, colouring and drawing other than that he used his right hand for the throws while playing fetch with the dog. During this time, I was also listening to how he enunciated his words which for a four-year-old he was very clear unless he was getting excited when the dog would catch the toy. For most four-year-olds, they can still have the baby talk in their speech pattern with him you can tell that he does not get spoken to like a “baby” often. The “baby talk” does emerge when he gets shy or tired just like with any kid. Every time the dog would bring the toy back, he would throw with his right hand and lean more towards his right side while throwing the toy. Up until he started drawing, I assumed that he was right-handed since that was the arm he was utilizing to throw with. it is usually an assumption that is true for most people although he is different and not in a bad way. As I continued to watch the child play fetch with the toy you can see how throwing a ball with his right hand and writing with his left hand, he is using different parts of his brain. From my understanding, this child’s pathways between the hemispheres of his brain are different than most right-handed people. Although there have been different studies linked showing that even though a person may write with one hand and do other things with the other hand, there is no difference in the way that they think.

According to the study Gonzalez and Goodale, (2009) they found that right handed people showed favouritism towards their dominant hand. Gonzalez and Goodale (2007) found that left handed people did not always show the same favouritism that the right-handed people showed towards their dominant hand. This correlates to my observation due to the fact I found out that the child I observed did not show the favouritism towards his dominant hand. The child would use his right hand to throw the toy but his left hand to write or draw. The study’s findings showed that for precision most people used their right hand even if it was not their dominate hand and that there is some correlation between hand preference to hemispheric dominance for language. With the studies help it was easier to understand how at the beginning of the observation I was able to assume that the child would most likely be right handed when he did other task as well. There are some faults with just an observation of any child because they may see it as oh somebody is watching me let me change the way I act or behave. Then you also have the fact that even though you are observing children with the parents’ permission you are trying not to interact with them or guide them in any real way to see what they will do on their own. During an observation you cannot really prove the reason behind the child’s behaviour that you are observing. The observation under any circumstance will change a child’s behaviour and you never know if it will be a good or bad behaviour change so it is hard to link behaviours to certain patterns. During the observation, I realized that not all kids are alike and not all behaviours are the same. Differences are what make children a source of unlimited entertainment since you never know what one kid will do compared to another.

Reference Page

  1. Gonzalez, C. L., & Goodale, M. A. (2009). Hand preference for precision grasping predicts language lateralization. Neuropsychologia, 47(14), 3182–3189. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.07.019 


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