Marla, a Caucasian girl, was born in the year 1997, in Chicago, Illinois. While in the womb, 2 weeks after her being conceived, her heart started beating, and the fetus became robust and typically responsive to the environment. However, the fetus which was later baby Marla, had some complications with the brain, and a surgery was to be conducted, following the doctor’s advice. The -would be parents were hesitant about this but soon, they agreed to it. Inherently, the fetus problem was associated with the fact that, apart from the mother having had Restless Leg Syndrome, she was undergoing some psychological problems caused by her husband’s infidelity, as a result of which she suffered depression, which affected the child’s neuron system, prompting the surgery. In addition, while the fetus surgery was successful and brought about the would-be Marla’s fighting spirit; the birth came three weeks prematurely. Both Marla’s fighting spirit, slightly premature birth, and the nature of parenting she was exposed to, and the parents’ genetics, evidently affected to some degree, how she developed physically as well as her behavioral patterns, traits and relational characteristics. Restless Leg Syndrome (a genetic condition) is one of the conditions that Marla later developed in twenties.
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The prominent physical attributes that Marla inherited from the parents include eye color, long fingers, retreating eye from the father, and her eye sinking to the socket as her father`s. Further she’s physically attractive, and has taken the mother’s hair type. She, however, has a slopping forehead as both of them. Despite inheriting many physical and arguably behavioral traits from both the parents, she is not as short and stocky as them. Instead, she is slightly above 6 feet tall. This can be explained using nature versus nurture controversy in human growth and development. Shaffer (2008) notes that sometimes human beings` development is influenced by biological predispositions or the environment, where one grows or sometimes both (Shaffer, 2008). The immediate answer here is that, unlike her parents who may have grown up in poverty and must have probably suffered some form of ‘malnutrition’, Marla was exposed to a higher nutritional availability. Further, Marla’s mother was always apprehensive, always a go-getter, and a perfectionist. This is a trait which Marla took up, and a part took up in her eating habits, and influenced her faster growth to normalcy, regardless of the fact that she was born slightly prematurely. Her perfectionist nature and being self-opinionated are still seen today on the way she handles her domestic chores and behaves in school.
While there were a number of physical growth and behavioral orientation areas, which this paper may focus on, the happenings in the womb described above specifically affected Marla’s behavior (sleeping pattern when she was in her mid-thirties) and language acquisition based on some impediments in the brain development. This is what this paper focuses on at this point in the subsequent section to further explain the relationship that physicality and biological bases, and genetic-make up as well as the environment have on physical growth, and behavior.
Marla and Restless Leg Syndrome: Understanding Marla’s RLS in human physical growth and development lenses
As aforementioned earlier, Marla who has been suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome that she must have inherited from the mother and which can be associated to the surgery incidence, and heightened by her taking cocaine in high school. To say the least, this condition, has been affecting her behavior and performance in school. She is sleep deprived and goes through a lot of physical hurdles associated with RLS. She always feels jumpy and moving up her limps. The major symptom experienced by those suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome is the Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS).
Broadly, the understanding should be pegged on the fact that Marla is a biological being. And that the core of biological model is anchored on the fact that such behavior is caused by the malfunctioning in the structures of an organisms they develop, with the brain as the originator (Funda, 2002). Marla`s brain cells were probably affected, when she underwent a Neuron-surgery when in her mother’s womb. Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists have since discovered that there is a link between certain behavior, disorders and the problems experienced by the brain or its components as it develops (Funda, 2002). The other way to explain her situation is by looking at the connection between Genetics and abnormal psychology in human growth and physical development. There are those who suffer disorders (RLS), such as Marla’s which have genetic connection. This should be linked to biochemical reactions and bearing structures, that deviate from normalcy and can be the result of genetic inheritance.
Physical Development and Language System in Marla
Marla speaks English with native speaker competence. Marla’s language as a behavior should be tied to physical growth. The surgery experience before birth appears not to have affected the physical growth responsible for language acquisition and maturation in Marla, and like many cases her nerve cells must have been fully developed before birth. A number of scholars have observed that as language circuits mature in a child’s early years so as language acquisition is driven (Pinker, 2000). Pinker (2000) begins by indicating that human’s vocal tracks appear to have been modified to respond to the demands of evolution. In addition, this is the basis of speech. Pinker (2000) citing Lieberman (1984) argues that the larynx is at the base of the throats and that the vocal tracts have a sharp right angle bend that creates two independently modified cavities (Pinker , 2000)
SECTION 2: Marla’s Overall Physical Development (Timelines)
Infancy (0-2 Years)
l Physical change. During this period, Marla’s weight is between 4kg to 8kg, and increases systematically through. Her height is 20’’. During this time that her physical growth was intense, and as is the case in many young infants, her weight was 2 times more than her birth weight.
l Nervous system. It was also during this period that the thickness of the gray matter develops more rapidly, and Marla tends to use her senses: she notices objects, cries when she urinates and the diaper is not changed, among other developments.
Between 1 to 4 months
l Physical change. Marla’s height is at 20’’ and her weight 4kg. Her brain looks quite big, but in the first week, she loses some weight.
l Motor skill change. When her mother places the finger in her palm, she can immediately grasp the finger.
l Fine motor skill change (FMS). She begins grabbing objects. This is typical when she is being breast fed as she always touches the mother’s breast while sucking. Also,she’s very particular in touching her mom’s hair.
l Hearing change. When her mother watches TV in downstairs at high volume, it seems ok with her; she is still able to sleep. It looks like she is less sensitive to the pitch of a sound.
l Vision change. She sleeps most of the time, but when she’s awake, she starts looking for her mother. If her mother stands right there, Marla can see her mother.
l Gross motor skill change (GMS). At this point, Marla sits upright and plays with objects on her own.
l Further she is beginning to muster a few more words as her glottis
Between 8and 12 months
l Physical change. At this point she weighs 7 to 8kg.
l GMS. At 9 months, she started to stand with support such as parents’ hands, and later she used different objects around the house for support (e.g. wall, chair, table, etc). But she kept falling down and trying to stand up for a while.
l FMS. Around the time that she started to stand and walk, she attempted to grab everything she saw, and later on, she not only grabbed the objects but also threw away without sense of direction.
l GMS. She was able stand by leaning on the table.
l Nervous system change. Further, she begins saying her first words, and babbles words such as ‘mama’. At 12 months, her vocabulary has continued improving even though she appears a bit late compared to those born around the same time.
Between 12 to 18 months
l Physical change. Marla further records critically significant growth and development. Her height reaches 32’’, and she weighs 10kg.
l GMS. Marla is able to walk step by step even though not steadily. Additionally, she can follow a trajectory of where the ball or any other object ends when she throws it. She just kicks the ball predominantly anyhow at this period however.
l Nervous system change. The most remarkable development that occurs between age 18 to 24 months is that Marla now uses vocabulary to express herself more coherently than before.
Early Childhood (2-5 Years)
l Physical change. Broadly speaking this is the period when Marla records arguably slow physical growth, and typically thee brain synapses wither, and her weight and height increases at snail pace. There are also noticeable differences in her height and weight. She weighs 12kg, and her height stands at 34’’. She is arguably weighing more than her colleagues at birth, an aspect attributable to her mom’s genes and feeding patterns. Specifically, between age 2-3years, Marla is inquisitive and wants a lot of answers from her own experiences.
l Nervous system change. Right now she holds objects very tightly , but she is still not good at handwriting. For instance, when she writes number 2, it always looks like “ s “. That means that her myelination in the areas of the brain which related to hand –eye coordination is not complete.
l Physical change. At age of 5 years, she weighs 15kg and her height stands at 38.’’
l FMS. Marla has learned to coordinate her movements; she can to kick objects of play more easily. She joins the under-10 basketball team around her home.
l GMS. She showed her effort to wear cloths by herself around 5 years old. Even though she still struggled with some fine motor skills like buttoning, she wanted to do that without help.
l GMS. She can run without falling and stand on one foot, as well as ride a tricycle using pedals, unassisted by an adult. Marla also walks backward easily.
- FMS. At late 4 and early 5, she started to prefer smaller dolls and other toys. She showed more interest in changing dolls’ clothes, for example. But she was still struggling a bit.
- Hearing change. When she hears her mother’s voice, she can recognize it. Moreover, she is more accurate in finding exact location of where the sound came from.
- Vision change. She can distinguish different colors.
- Hearing change. When her mother comes back and opens the door downstairs, she can still hear the sound (even though she plays upstairs).
Late Childhood (6-11years)
- Physical change. Typically as would be expected, this is the period when Marla records “Stagnation” in physical growth, and gains only2 inches and 5-7 lbs gained through every year up until she’s 11. However, growth is more muscle mass, and her bones become stronger, and coordination, and transition to more normal proportions. On average she weighs 35kg and her height is average is 52’’, with the 6-7 years standing at 30kg and 50’’, while the climax comes at 40kg and 54’’ when she’s 11.
- Nervous system change. At age 10, she’s put in French class but bows out due to difficulty in learning the language. The assumption can also be that these changes are the rationale behind the low ability to learn language overtime as people age over a lifespan.
- FMS. She learns how to play piano, but it looks like she has troubles coordinating her right and left hands and she still needs a lot of practice.
l Vision change. Marla’s hearing and vision are very good. She can see her mom easily from big distances.
- Hearing change, She has good hearing; she can hear everything clearly even if people are talking in a very quiet voice. Her mother sometimes gets annoyed because Marla can hear even the secrets her mother is telling to her friends.
- GMS. She can ride bicycle perfectly. She is quite active and likes climbing trees. Marla almost never falls down from them; she is very good at holding on to objects.
Adolescence (11-18 years)
- Physical change. During this period, Marla weighs an average of 50kg. At 11-12, she is 47kg, and 49kg, 52kg at 16, 17, and 18 respectively. Overall, she changes a lot in her physical appearance markedly.
- Nervous system change. She experiences her first menstrual period and is embarrassed and gets moody about it. However, she is told by her proud mother that it’s a positive experience because that means she will one day have children. Marla is however “tough-headed’’ and sometimes defies the mother. The increased activity of the amygdale in teens may be because of the lack of complete development of the regulatory rolee in their frontal lobes. That is part of the reason why young people have a hard time controlling their emotions.
- FMS. She plays piano very well. Her control of pencil and crayon while drawing is exceptional. She can complete large puzzles and copy various shapes.
- Nervous system change. Marla’s breast size increases and she experiences hormonal tendency to wanting sexual intercourse. The mother warns her against engaging in sex before marriage. She is also involved in drugs, a situation which heightens the onset of her experiencing Restless Leg Syndrome. Generally, this is a period of ‘storm and stress ‘for her.
- GMS. In PE class, she can jump higher compared to her peers, runs considerably faster than her classmates. Her coach advises her to enter into the athletic competition because of her great physical abilities. At this time she also likes dancing and swimming.
- Hearing change. She can hear clearly even soft sounds and her hearing is good at long distances. She is irritated by different sounds when she is studying because they interfere with her concentration on the particular task.
- Vision change. Her vision weakens around high school. This weakening seems to be early compared to other children at this age. Most of her classmates don’t wear glasses yet while Marla can’t distinguish letters on the board. Her mother attributed her vision problems to the increased level of work that requires reading or writing (like final exams at high school).
Early Adulthood (18-30)
- Physical change. At age 19, physical changes slow down. Her weight however decreases to 51kg due to stress and depression as a result of drugs and RLS. In the early 30s, she started to have a few grey hairs, but she thought that it was not big concern. This was an early onset compared to others.
- Vision change. She needs to wear reading glasses regularly when reading a book or trying to distinguish small objects.
- Hearing change. Her hearing worsened abruptly after the last years in college after she has caught a severe cold and had some complications after that. The hearing loss progressed and the tinnitus became a persistent sensation of varying pitch.
- Hearing change. From late 30s, she started to work in the very busy restaurant. At first, she had no difficulty to hear customers’ talking. But as time went on, she had some difficulty hearing what people said. She had to make sure frequently. The noisy environment contributed to the decline of her hearing.
- GMS. She found out that she cannot jump as high or run as fast as she could in high school.
- FMS. She likes to do paper craft, and can do that very well, but it now takes slightly more time than before, small parts require a bit more concentration.
- Nervous system change. When the people tell her something, she usually responds more slowly than before. Marla experiences some slight decreases in memory. This happens because of the natural changes of brain and nervous system that happen as the person ages. The brain and spinal cord lose nerve cells and weight. Nerve cells may begin to transmit messages more slowly than in the past. Marla is quite similar to other people in her age group in this regard.
Middle adulthood (40-60)
- Physical change. Marla’s weigh continues to be stable throughout this time, being in the range of 50-53 kg. She starts working out because of the growing concern for her health, which helps her to improve her physical condition and health. Her hair continues to get grey, but as the majority of women in her age group, Marla dyes her hair regularly. Her height is stable almost to the end of her middle adulthood; it starts declining a bit closer to her 60s.
- FMS. At around fifty Marla starts to experience decline in fine motor skill ability. For instance, she often asks her children to help her put a thread into a needle or help her lace her shoes.
l GMS. At 40 and 50 Marla has no trouble with gross motor skills. Beginning at 55, however, she walks slower and is afraid of falling down. She often avoids high steps and experiences pain in her knees when getting on the bus.
l Vision change. Cannot distinguish the exact location of the object from long distances, needs a long time to adapt to dark places when coming from the bright ones. Marla needs a very well-lit room in order to read or do other work.
l Hearing change. She cannot hear clearly and has to quit her job at a restaurant.
l Nervous system change. After quitting the restaurant Marla decided to write a memoir. Her brain functions seem to be in good condition and her memory is quite strong as well. Marla shows better understanding and logical skills compared to people at similar age. She is able to recollect details of her earlier life as well the things she’s done just a couple days ago.
Late adulthood (60-death)
l Physical change. At her 60s Marla starts to lose weight and gradually in a while (at around age of 70) she weights 46kg. She looks quite fragile and develops a strong fear of falling sown. Marla also develops some problems with her kidneys and has to take medications regularly. Her hair is grey earlier than generally expected.
l GMS. She walks at a considerably slower pace. At the age of 75 and on she has to use a walking stick. However, she shows a strong spirit by going for a walk every day.
l FMS. Cannot successfully button her clothes or zip her pants starting from about 75 years of age. She tends to east by herself, but can sometimes spill the food on the table.
l Vision change. Cannot see clearly, small objects are seen vaguely. Her eyes cannot focus sometimes. Marla goes through a natural aging process that is quite similar for people at this age.
l Hearing change. Marla’s hearing is very poor; she always hears wrong things and gives wrong responses. That is why she has a hearing implant that helps her communicate with other people more easily.
l Nervous system change. Unlike the majority of her peers, Marla shows a remarkable comprehension and thinking abilities. Marla is able to recognize people around her till the very death and can communicate her thought in a logical manner. Her memory is somewhat declined. As people in her age group usually do. Marla remembers better the things from her childhood than her actions a day ago. But she is able to recollect things if reminded or if the memory is triggered by some object. Her memoir book is very appreciated by her relatives.
Marla dies at the age of 81 years after having an abrupt heart attack.