Middle Childhood Intervention 6-12:

Category — 4.2 Ten to Twelve: Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development

Between ages 10 to 12 years, cognitive skills are in full bloom. Children are refining the skills that they’ve been developing since they were born. They are now able to perform mental operations, think in simple abstract terms and perform many tasks in an automatic manner. Children who continue to struggle with basic cognitive skills at this age should be seen by a specialist as soon as possible. Children who are slow to mature have had plenty of time to catch up with their peers. If they haven’t, caught up, they could be experiencing cognitive delay. A referral to a licensed psychologist  for a full psycho-educational assessment is highly recommended.

When it comes to cognitive skills, some warning signs a child might show are:

  • being unable to make simple inferences;
  • being unorganized both at school and at home;
  • struggling with attention; for example, finding it hard to engage, focus and/or complete in most activities he or she initiates;
  • being unable to understand simple cause and effect relations (“the reason the glass is broken is because I left it on the edge of the table and it fell”); (note added quotes)
  • struggling with class inclusion (see full Glossary), a basic concept in math;
  • struggling with the ability to classify objects based on three or more characteristics (for example: picking up objects that are big, red and square-shaped);
  • being unable to tell time, even with a digital watch or  clock;
  • being unable to access prior knowledge, if and when needed; for example, how to put the laundry clothes in the laundry machine and start the wash –even if he or she has done this several times with assistance;
  • being unable to use newly acquired information; for example, how to send an email;
  • being unable to get started with a task, and needing constant reminders to do so;
  • being unable to finish a task that was started;
  • struggling with advanced qualitative concepts (for example: “smooth”, even if understands a related  concept, like “soft”);
  • struggling with advanced spatial concepts (for example: underneath) (Fig. 1);
  • struggling with advanced quantitative concepts using comparisons(for example: “less than, even if understands a related concept like “less”);
  • struggling with figurative language (for example: thinking that someone is going to die because they said “my back is killing me”);
  • being unable to come with simple solutions to simple problems; for example, “My shirt got wet, I need to change it, and wear a dry shirt instead;”
  • being unable to come up with ideas on his or her own; for example, “I will make a card or buy some cookies for my friend’s party;”
  • getting caught up in the details and missing the “big picture”; for example, “I cannot wear a jacket with a small stain even if feeling cold because one does not wear “dirty” clothes;”
  • often forgetting what he or she was doing, or about to do;
  • complaining that he has nothing to do (all the time) but resisting suggestions of what he can do;
  • getting low grades in school for most of the term or the school year;
  • being unable to come up with the correct answer to a question, even though he or she knows the answer;
  • confusing the sequence of events (that is, not knowing what happens first and what happens last).

Figure 1. The cat is underneath the table
see References

May 6, 2012   No Comments