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The difference Between the Sequence and Rate of Development Children’s development generally follows a predictable sequence of stages known as milestones. However, occasionally a child may skip a stage or go through a stage very quickly e. g. a child may miss out crawling and move straight from sitting to walking. An example of a sequence is the physical development of a baby where movement begins with their head and then downwards and from the centre of their body outwards.
The time of a child’s development milestone isn’t as consistent as the sequence because children’s stages of development happen over different rates rather than particular ages. An example of this is that children don’t begin walking all at the same time. Some children are learning to walk before their first birthdays whereas others may learn to walk many months later. However, it is important to understand that although a child may be developing slower in certain aspects of development, they maybe excelling in others and that all children are generally following the same sequence.
2. 1 Personal Factors Affecting Children’s Development
Early childhood development can be affected by a number of factors. A child’s health plays a crucial role in their development and can be determined by factors including the genetics they inherit from their families, malnutrition from a poor diet and poor conditions in their environment. Unhealthy children may find they are less equipped to tackle problems in comparison to healthy children. They may also be restricted in participating in activities which can have a detrimental effect on building relationships with others, access to creating an understanding of their environment and their progression in motor development.
Disability can have a profound effect on a child’s development. The three core areas of disability are physical disability, learning disability and sensory impairment. Normal development involves children to be able to interact with their environment, and to understand their findings. Children with physical disabilities will often be restricted in their ability to effectively interact with their environment which can then have a detrimental effect on their ability to develop cognitively and emotionally. The limitation of exploring their environment can also impact on their motor skills due to lack of mobility.
Furthermore, children who spend time away in hospital may have limited opportunities to develop age appropriate social skills, language skills and speech. Learning disabilities can affect children’s ability to grasp, process and analyse information. Disabled children often show an uneven pattern of development e. g. language development and physical development which can have some effect on their ability to interact with others. Inadequate interaction with others may have a negative influence on a child’s personal skills, their self esteem and often causes a reluctance to face problems.
Children with sensory problems such as visual or hearing impairments may experience difficulties including mobility, language development and communication skills. Visually impaired children often suffer with mobility issues hindering their physical development which reduces their ability to explore their surroundings. It also interferes with engaging in imaginative play limiting the child’s ability to develop imitative skills. Hearing impaired children commonly lack language and communication skills as they have a reduced opportunity to take advantage of the critical early period of language development by hearing people’s voices.
The lack of communication skills can impact on the child’s ability to engage with other children. 2. 2 External Factors Affecting Children’s Development Poverty can create a lasting disadvantage in children’s development. The areas of poverty to take into account are housing, diet, education and leisure activities. Children who are underprivileged in these areas are more likely to face challenges with their social and emotional development leading to behavioural problems. This can leave them at risk of developing negative relationships affecting social skills, academic skills and self esteem.
Poverty can also influence a child’s health where poor housing and diet and a lack of leisure opportunities often lead to obesity, malnutrition and a likelihood of becoming ill. This can affect a child’s ability to join in activities with other children hindering many areas of development. The family environment can have a profound effect on a child’s development in both a positive or negative nature. Children living in a positive family environment often develop good social interaction with others as a result of positive relations with family members.
Therefore this may impact on a child’s development in learning areas such as personal, social and emotional skills and communication, language and literacy skills. Similarly to poverty factors, family factors can also influence a child’s academic pathway. A child with underdeveloped social skills may express themselves with inappropriate behaviour, a lack of interest to learn and an inability to create positive relationships thus reducing the chance to progress and succeed in a predominantly social environment as is education.
Personal choices are another major influence regarding normal development. As children grow, they develop a greater independence and are presented with more choices to which can impact on many areas of development. A prominent area of development in which a child’s personal choices impacts on is their relationship with food and physical activity. In recent times and partly influenced by the media, children’s eating habits have become increasingly unhealthy and in addition, children’s physical activity has declined. This has resulted in many children becoming overweight or obese and even diabetes.
The consequences of this is likely to impact on physical development as children who are suffering from the above are more likely to be restricted in participating in all areas of physical activity in contrast to their peers who have a healthy lifestyle. The development of a child may also be impacted upon if they are in care of the local authority. An unstable living environment may affect children in many negative ways as often the child may move to various care settings on a regular basis. With this in mind, a child may develop issues with regards to their emotions.
A lack of confidence and self-esteem may arise resulting in anti-social behaviour thus impacting on social skills. Academic ability may also be diminished through the inability to socialize effectively as well as many other areas of development in which social skills are essential. Education is an important area of a child’s development as it determines children’s academic ability through their education pathway. In particular, this influential area impacts on a child’s cognitive development in which they gain skills in reasoning, understanding and the ability to solve problems.
Education is not only acquired through schooling, it is also gained in the family environment via social activity and family life in general. Educating through schooling can develop a child’s confidence in their ability, encourages positive social behaviour and helps children to understand the norms and values which are appropriate in society. 2. 3 How Theories of Development and Frameworks to Support Development Influence Current Practice. There are many theories which were created in order to understand children’s development. These theories are very important as they often have and influence on current practice.
Piaget’s psychological theory of development was of the role of maturation, that by growing older a child would have increased capacity to understand new and differing concepts. This though was not a smooth learning curve but one which was transitional. These stages occurred at specific age ranges; 18 months, 7 years and 11 or 12 years. This appears to have impacted the school curriculum as a basis of when children are capable of understanding new concepts and ideas. The way in which a child adapts to these new changes or differences to their perceptions of the world is through assimilation and accommodation which work in unison.
Assimilation refers to the inclusion of new concepts into existing schemas whilst accommodation refers to the challenges to the existing schema and accommodating ones thought processes around the differences. Only at the specific stages of maturation will a child be able to assimilate and accommodate for these new concepts. This approach can be perceived as rigid as although a child may not learn in a smooth learning curve, they may progress at different rates at a lesser staggered approach. Vygotsky’s theory of development differs to that of Piaget in that development was ‘proximal’.
The ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) promotes the notion that children develop through their engagement with adults and activities alongside their peers rather than through teaching or by working through concepts and challenges alone. It was the development of language and articulation of ideas that would govern a child’s development and may be seen as an enabling approach that will allow a child to solve challenges and develop in a way that they will as a final result be able to perform the task alone.
This approach has proved to be influential with regards to early years education particularly in the frameworks of England and Scotland in that there is an emphasis placed on building positive relationships with adults and other children in the setting. Furthermore, children are encouraged to work together during activities thus promoting teamwork in order to conquer challenges and in addition play an active role in their learning. Skinner, who adopted a behaviourist approach to learning developed the theory of operant conditioning.
This theory suggests that a child’s behaves and learns via creating an understanding based on consequences and reinforcements. These reinforcements are divided into three sub-groups described as positive reinforcers, negative reinforcers and punishers. Positive reinforcers are a form of reward in response to being presented with a desired outcome for example, if a child has created a nice piece of work they may be given praise or a sticker as a reward. This then reinforces an understanding that they have done something good to which they will aim to continually reproduce.
Negative reinforcers also produce repetition in behaviour in that they are used to stop something from happening for example, a child may try to avoid one of their peers due to the fear of having their favourite toy being taken away from the understanding of previous experiences. In contrast to the above, punishers are believed to weaken the repetition of behaviour such as if a child hurts a member of their peers they may be put in a reflective corner to recognise their inappropriate behaviour and if this process is repeated, the child will understand and aim to avoid this consequence.
This theory links in with practice today in that children are often rewarded with positive reinforcements when behaving appropriately for example sharing during activities, comforting a peer who is unhappy or following a task with good results. Furthermore, punishers are also used in todays practice when a child is behaving inappropriately in which tactics such as the reflective corner as well as a telling off are effective in breaking the repetition. 3. 1 How to Monitor Children’s Development using Different Methods.
A child’s development is monitored in a number of ways which includes observations, parent – practitioner meetings and standard measurements. Observations can be carried out in a variety ways and provide valuable information in terms of a child’s development. Narrative observations involve watching a child or children during an activity and making notes to what has been seen including all areas of behaviour. In this form of observation it is important that the practitioner who is observing remains unnoticed in order to avoid a change in behaviour of the child or children.
Time sampling observations involve making a record at regular intervals of what a child is doing which focuses on a specific behaviour for that particular time. An example of this maybe during outdoor play time in which a child’s social interaction could be observed. Event sampling observations involve focusing on particular events in order to build up a pattern of children’s behaviour over a period of days or weeks. In this form of observation, the events leading to behaviour, during behaviour and after behaviour are recorded in detail.
Standard measurements may also be used to monitor a child’s development. This method of assessment is employed by various professionals in order to assess development in areas such auditory, health and education. Standard measurements in contrast to having an overall objective, focus on a child’s development in relation to the overall population and furthermore, is used to determine whether a child has a particular deficiency in an area of development.
This form of monitoring children is of particular use when monitoring disability or suspected disability in a child as it places all emphasis on one child whilst using a range of assessment methods to determine any apparent problems. 3. 2 Reasons Why Children’s Development May Not Follow the Expected Pattern. There are a number of reasons in which a child’s development is not following the expected pattern. Disability may affect a child’s development in a range of areas which include physical development, personal development and social development.
In some cases disability can restrict a child from participating in normal physical activity, for example some settings may not be wheel chair friend in areas such as outdoors. This in turn may prevent a child from being involved in the same activities as other children thus impacting on their physical development. With this in mind, outdoor play is important whilst developing effective social skills. Children often use a range of communication skills whilst exploring and discovering therefore deprivation of social interaction may have a harmful impact on a child’s personal and social development.
Children with emotional problems are also at risk of not developing along the expected pattern. A child lacking in confidence and self-esteem can often become reclusive and struggle with communication in particular during situations where it is loud and fast paced such as in a nursery environment. Children who tend to hide away from the action are inevitably missing out in areas of learning and development and is unfortunately often carried through to later life. Environmental factors are another area to consider in relation to an expected pattern of development.
The home environment can have a profound affect in many areas. A negative home life may often determine a child’s ability to socialise effectively thus affecting numerous other areas. Due to a lack of social skills, a negative impact may be made on a child in education and as a consequence their academic achievement may be at risk. In addition, cultural difference may also play a part as there are a variety of ways in which different cultures nurture their children. Some cultures, for example in western society encourage freedom and independence.
This in turn gives children the opportunity to discover new things and develop and understanding of the world. Children with learning difficulties often follow an uneven pattern of development. Tasks and activities are often more of a challenge for children with learning difficulties in which failure is not uncommon in academic situations and as a result can lead to frustration and issues regarding self-esteem. In some cases with these personal issues, a breakdown of communication can emerge resulting in a negative impact on areas of learning and development which rely on effective communication skills.
How Disability may Affect Development. Disability can have a substantial influence on a child’s development. Disability covers three areas in which normal development is more of a challenge in contrast to children who are not disabled. These areas include physical disability, learning disability and sensory impairment, all of which may hinder development. Due to the interdependence of learning areas in order to maintain normal development, disabled children as a consequence are more unlikely to develop at the same rate as other children.
For example, a child with a physical disability such as being wheel chair bound may find it a challenge whilst exploring the environment. This could have a knock on effect in learning areas such as social interaction, communication and knowledge and understanding. This then in turn may be detrimental in terms of developing positive relationships with their peers which can often lead to social rejection or bullying. As a consequence of this, a child may develop personal and emotional issues manifesting itself in reduced self-esteem and confidence resulting in reclusion.
How Different Interventions can Promote Positive Outcomes for Children where Development is not Following the Expected Pattern. If a child has been recognised as not following the expected pattern of development, interventions are made in order to establish where the problem lies and the best way to tackle it. External practitioners known as agencies may then become involved and assess the child whilst providing support and expert advice to the family and the nursery or educational setting.
These agencies may include paediatricians who are responsible for monitoring progress and make referrals to additional healthcare, health visitors who offer advice and support to families and physiotherapists who are responsible for working with the physical problems of disabled children and young people and suggest exercises. Speech and language therapists provide support to disabled children who have problems with their speech and language. They also offer advice on communication to the parents whether it is verbal or non-verbal for example using sign language.
Other areas of intervention include the role of the Educational Psychologist who assesses the way in which a child learns and identifies issues with a child’s learning. They can then identify how to benefit a child’s learning by creating Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and are responsible for managing the child’s statutory assessment and the issue of a statement of needs if required. In nursery and school settings special educational needs coordinators (SENCO) can become involved in the coordination of activities and the provision of support to meet the specialised needs of disabled children.
In many cases multi agency and partnership working is adopted as it provides integrated support for children who are not following the expected pattern and their families. Supporting children with additional needs and their families with a range of agencies working collectively provides more effective care for the child due to the sharing of information and agreement as to how to implement plans. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) supports this practice as a way of contributing to a child’s development as this information shared may aid any further assessments.
The Importance of Early Identification of Speech, Language and Communication Delays and Disorders and the Potential Risks of Late Recognition. It is extremely important to identify delays in speech, language and communication as soon as possible. Early identification of speech and language delay is critical to a child’s development as it is interconnected and is a key area with regards to many other areas of learning and development and furthermore, it is essential whilst developing the ability to communicate.
With the inability to use effective language, a child’s cognitive ability may become weakened as both these areas are strongly linked to each other. Language delay can influence a child’s ability to understand concepts and develop intelligence amongst other areas of cognitive development. Communication and speech delays are also important to identify as they determine a child’s ability whilst interacting with others. In addition they can affect a child’s emotions, in some cases resulting in anti-social behaviour, thus impacting on areas such as education.
However, through early identification and intervention, the impact of speech, language and communication delays may be significantly reduced thus creating a more positive future for children. 4. 2 How Multi-Agency Teams Work Together to Support Speech, Language and Communication. Multi-agency and partnership working plays a key role with regards to a child’s speech, language and communication development. When it has been recognised either by a parent/carer or whilst in the nursery setting that a child is showing signs of difficulty in these areas, the child would then need to be assessed by either a health visitor or general practitioner.
This would then enable a greater understanding of where the problem may lie and furthermore exclude a number of other possibilities. Once a diagnosis has been found, the child may then been referred to a variety of agencies in order for further assessment and to create a plan to tackle the problem areas. These agencies may include speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and specialist teachers who provide support for children who have sensory impairments, learning difficulties or communication difficulties.
These agencies will often work together in collaboration discussing and sharing information which in turn enables the child to make maximum progress. Furthermore, the agencies will work together to develop strategies, provide knowledge and in some cases provide resources to parents/carers and the nursery setting. 4. 3 How Play and Activities are Used to Support the Development of Speech, Language and Communication. Effective play and activities are beneficial in order to support a child’s speech, language and communication development.
The nature of play and participating in activities generally involve a great deal of social interaction with others. Therefore by providing play situations and activities that support these learning areas, children’s development will be enhanced. Toy animals are an effective play resource. They engage children into the natural world and encourage them to imitate movements and sounds which in turn enhance a child’s speech development. Nursery rhymes and singing encourage the development of language. Children who are exposed to these activities have a greater ability to listen and understand words and actions.
Nursery rhymes also enhance a child’s ability in reading as a result of the development of language. Reading books with children can enhance their communication skills. Stories can generate interest where children become inquisitive. Children often ask questions and discuss ideas which can enhance their ability to communicate with each other. In addition to the above, a child’s speech and language may be developed by role modelling in which they will learn to use new sounds and words by listening and engaging in general conversation.
With this in mind and from own practice I feel it is important to provide appropriate speech for a child to be exposed to, using clear and slow language whilst altering vocal pitch in order to convey grammatical information. Furthermore, I feel if a child has attempted to say a word with ineffective results, it is important to praise the child for their effort in order for them to continue trying. 5. 1 How Different Types of Transitions can Affect Children’s Development. Transitions are a significant stage in a child’s life and can affect them in a range of ways and in a number of areas of development.
They are an nevitable part of growing up, however it is important to recognise and understand the signs and the impact of transitions on children’s development. A change in the family structure of a child in terms of an additional sibling may have an impact. The child may feel their relationship with their parents is threatened by the arrival of a new baby and they may feel they are getting unequal amounts of attention. The child’s personal and social development may be harmed during this transition. With this in mind the child may develop issues with self-esteem as a result of receiving less attention than previously.
The child may also develop anger issues from seeing the frequent attention and care being provided to the new baby which could then in turn manifest itself in sibling rivalry. The position of beginning nursery or school is another major transition for a child which may impact on their development. A new and unfamiliar environment may be a daunting experience for many children. Children who are less outgoing in comparison to their peers may try to avoid interacting with others and avoid social activities.
This could then result in the child becoming a recluse resulting in missed opportunities to play, learn and develop. A child’s admission into an institution such as hospital due to ill health is also a significant transition which could impact on their development. Social interaction may be diminished in particular of children who stay for long periods in hospital. Through this lack of socialising, children may become underdeveloped in others areas including their knowledge and understanding through missed opportunities to explore the environment with their peers developing new ideas and perspectives.
Moving to a new house or location is another transition which can impact on children’s development. This can be a traumatic time and in particular of a child entering the care of the local authority. Often in this situation a child has moved around a number of locations thus creating a sense of instability resulting in personal issues. These issues are often expressed in the form of anger, isolation and anxiety which in turn can hinder normal development. Furthermore, many children in this situation come from broken families which in some cases involved abuse and neglect.
With this in mind when involved in a situation of this type, it is important to build trust whilst working with the child in order to prevent a further negative impact on their development. 5. 2 The Effect on Children of Having Positive Relationships During Periods of Transition. Transitions are a significant and potentially harmful experience in children’s lives, therefore it is important to provide a positive and supportive network around children in order to make transitions an easier and more comfortable process.
A child who is undergoing a process of transition whilst receiving positive support and encouragement is more likely to accept changes in their lives and develop a greater confidence in the transition process. A strong relationship with someone such as a key person in an educational setting can benefit a child’s transition. A child beginning nursery will be presented with an unfamiliar environment in which a key worker’s job is to develop a close relationship with the child and provide support allowing the transition to run more smoothly.
In some cases a key worker may change settings or may be away for a long period of time such as maternity leave. In these situations a child may react negatively to the loss of familiarity which subsequently may impact on their development. Therefore it is important to provide additional support to the child via attention; reassurance and encouragement in order to alleviate further negative affects whilst a close relationship with a new key worker is being formed. Children encounter transitions with an array of experiences in which some may be positive and some negative. Children generally will always be worried.
Confronted with unexpected transitions, like divorce or death, a child may feel excluded or to blame or angry. An understanding of their experience and the possibilities of what is going through their heads and giving a thoughtful and sympathetic response will often help bring them through the transition and in turn lead to a more confident and rounded child.
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