The Person as Patient: Psychosocial Perspectives for the Health Care Professional

By Elsa Ramsden | Go to book overview
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4
Normal Growth and Development in the
Infant and Young Child

Elsa Ramsden

Introduction

Normal Fetal Development

Developmental Tasks in the Young Child

Sensory, Perceptual, and Motor Functions

Psychosocial Agenda

Case I: Cindy Smith - Cerebral Palsy


Introduction

Getting to be me genetic
foundations

Each one of us at birth has a complex complement of genetic material with coded instructions for the developing human brain and body. The genes we received, half each from the male and female that produced us, are the basic components of heredity in all living things, made up of deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Every living cell contains DNA in its nucleus. The molecule of DNA looks like a twisted ladder with beads along its spirals. A specific gene pool has contributed to our genetic make-up, contributed by generations of those who have come before us. How those genes are expressed in our personhood is at least in part a function of the environment in which we live and grow.

The arrangement of the four chemical bases that make up the DNA molecule along its twisted ladder-like structure determines what and who we become. A gene is a piece of DNA that encodes a particular characteristic for the evolving individual. Twenty-three pairs of chromosomes together make up approximately fifty thousand genes that determine everything from skin and eye color to sex, bone structure, and certain aspects of temperament. How different are we from one another? Only six percent difference exists

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