I will offer a written assessment and evaluation of my observations of a six year old female child. Firstly, I will outline what observation is, why it is important to social work and how it is used. I will discuss how this child was chosen, who chose the child and how permission to observe the child was gained; I will further give a brief description of the child. In analysing the observations my assessment will include theoretical understanding and will be considered in relation to social work values, ethics and reflective practice. Finally, I will conclude by summarising the assessment offered. Fawcett (1999:3) recognises observation as '..a kind of perceptive watching, an informed way of looking that raises awareness and sharpens understanding'. She recognises that whilst people perceive the world around them all the time, the information they absorb is limited and selective. Therefore, observation can be viewed as a skill that involves looking past what is directly explicit and examining the more implicit actions of others around us.
[...] And how can I ensure that, if this child was a service user, I would work in her best interests? Judy Gahagan (1984, cited in Gross 1992: 465) suggests that when we perceive people as ‘physical objects' we form impressions based upon the way they look and act. However, when we further perceive others as ‘psychological entities' we form impressions of what kind of individuals they are, based upon their motives and traits, it is here that we are most likely to stereotype individuals and place them in to particular groups. [...]
[...] (1990) Introduction to Child Development', Collins, London Davies, M. (2002) Blackwell Companion to Social Work', Blackwell Publishing, Oxford DoH (1999) ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children', The Stationary Office, London DoH (2000) ‘Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families', The Stationary Office, London Fawcett, M. (1999) ‘Learning through Child Observation', Jessica Kingsley, London Flanagan, C. (1999) Early Socialisation', Routledge, London Gross, R. (1992) ‘Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour', Hodder & Stoughton, London Hobart, C. and Frankel, J. (1995) A Practical [...]
[...] The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DoH 2000: 1.39 ) stipulates that; An understanding of a child must be located within the context of the child's family (parents or caregivers and the wider family) and of the community and culture in which he or she is growing up.' Therefore, in practice, my observations would not be so narrowly focused. This observation provided a valuable learning experience and invoked some deep reflection of my childhood experiences and the values I hold in relation to this. [...]
[...] I mentioned to her the requirement for me to observe a child and she requested to know more; following further discussion the mother ‘offered' her child to me for observation purposes. I explained to the mother that the information I was to gather would not be shared or discussed with her or any other person and would be used only for the purpose of an academic assignment, which would remain anonymous. I offered to discuss my intention with the child and seek her permission; the mother clearly suggested that she thought it better that her child was not aware for fear that she may ‘play up' and that this may affect her behaviour in school. [...]
[...] Some consideration should be given when evaluating why child observation and development is important to social work to the possible negative impact of assessment. Without observation and an understanding of child development theories we would have no understanding of how children grow and develop, therefore, we would be unable to assist them. Bentzen (2005:4) notes that without this knowledge we, as practitioners ‘would be ineffective in our roles' and would be unable to protect children from harm. However, child development theories suggest that there are age appropriate milestones children should reach and The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000:101) states that ‘Children have a range of different and complex developmental needs, which must be met during different stages of childhood if optimal outcomes are to be achieved'. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee