Dr. Arnold L. Gesell was born in Alma, Wisconsin on June 21st, 1880. Though he was both a pediatrician and practicing physician, to this day he is best known for his works as a developmental theorist. Gesell was the first individual to ever document the growth stages of an infant and share the findings with the public. He did this through film which was considered a very new and sophisticated form of technology at the time.
Being the eldest of five children, Gesell was relied on to assist in the caring of his siblings and quickly found an interest in the various stages of their physical and mental development. With and interest to pursue a career as a teacher just like his mother, Gesell attended Clark University after graduating high school in 1896. He quickly became interested in the mind’s interworking and how psychology affected the world. Gesell briefly worked as a high school teacher but went back to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study phycology with greater depth. After learning about the body, Gesell soon became interested in becoming a physician. He transferred to the University of Wisconsin Medical School; there he developed the Clinic of Child Development and received in M.D. in 1915.
While teaching as a psychologist of the Connecticut State Board of Education, Gesell wrote many books about the growth and various functions of the human body. He quickly became aware of the importance and impacts both nature and nurture has on the growing of an infant. The Gesell Institute of Human Development is a nonprofit organization still functioning today; it is known for working to better understand and assist in the research of child development for children of ages 2 ½ to 9.
Throughout his research, Gesell observed patterns of development in children of all ages, genders, and races. He concluded that all children grow in the same predictable pattern, though some may grow slower than others. When others don’t develop as quickly or develop in a way unusual when compared to the average child, whether it is emotional or physical, this is called a disability. As Gesell studied the growing of children, he recognized developmental milestones in ten major areas with all patients:
1) Motor Characteristics,
2) Personal Hygiene,