Social workers work with people at all stages of life, tackling a multitude of personal, social, health, welfare, legal and educational issues. As a result, all social work students need to understand human growth and development throughout the lifespan. This introductory text provides a knowledge base about human development from conception to death. It is designed to encourage understanding of a wide range of experiences, including some very difficult ones, such as child abuse, the developmental trajectories of children in care, mental distress, the experience of people with dementia, the experience of torture victims and untimely bereavements. Using engaging narratives to illustrate real-life situations, the author analyses them to demonstrate the link between theory, and different theoretical approaches, and practice. Packed with case studies, this student-friendly book includes overviews, summaries, questions and further reading in each chapter as well as a more formal academic section designed to challenge and intrigue students. A reference section contains a glossary and overviews of the principal theories discussed throughout the book. It is an essential read for all social work students.