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The sequence of development of a child and young person is divided into five different aspects. They include: Physical, social, communication, intellectual and cognitive, emotional and behavioural and moral development. Since every child develops at a different rate compared to one another, this is a rough guide to a child’s development and gives general information mainly about the sequence of development.
The physical aspect mainly consists of the development of the motor skills. Physical growth and development follows the sequence from head to toe and from simple to complex.
The gross motor skills develop before the fine motor skills. 0-3 years: In the first three years the physical growth and development is usually very fast. From birth the baby has several reflexes that cause the muscles to move. The baby will grasp an object that touches the hand, turn its head, sucks and swallows, makes stepping moves when held upright over a flat surface. Development of locomotion in the first three years: the first thing a baby will try is to raise its shoulders and head.
The baby can move its head and limps from birth.
From around 4 months the child will start rolling over and from 6/7 months it will be able to sit up and play with the hands. From 7-11 months the baby may have started to crawl and attempt to stand and walk by himself. The child has more control over its body. Between the age of 1 and 2 the walking will begin and it will push and pull toys while walking.
This develops into running and jumping. Around the age of three most children are able to walk around easily and start hopping, jumping and climbing the stairs. Some children are able to ride a tricycle. The fine motor skills will have developed as well.
By the age of three most children are able to draw circles and dots using a pen or pencils and will start drawing faces. They can feed themselves using a spoon and can thread large beads and undo buttons. Usually toilet training will be successful between the age of 2 and 3. 3-7 years: From the age of three children will gain more independence. They move with more confidence than toddlers and are able to run, bike and climb. The fine motor skills have developed so they are able to hold crayons with their fingers and put together simple puzzles. This develops into being able to write words and sentences. At the age of 7 children enjoy ballgames as they are able to hit a ball, jump, run, skip and swing. Children start losing their baby teeth and some molars break through.
7-12 years: Children in their middle years will grow taller and thinner. The muscular coordination can be clumsy and uncoordinated which can lead to frustration. During these years the children loose the rest of their baby teeth and the molars will finish growing in. Girls might start showing the early signs of puberty.
12-16 years: A lot of physical changes take place during these years. For girls it means they will start having their periods, the breasts will start growing and the hips grow wider. Hair growth will develop on their bikini line and under their arms. Boys will have start growing into physical maturity which involves the enlarging of the penis, having wet dreams, become musclier and have hair growth on face, chest, underarms and round by the penis. 16-19 years: Usually by the time a child reaches 19 it will have developed into a full mature body, though some boys might take into their 20’s before they have reached maturity.
In general the boys will be taller than girls in this stage. Several children and young people who use my workplace services deviate from this pattern of development. This could be because they are in a wheelchair, are not able to walk unsupported or have a delay in their growth. Most of them will experience the physical changes described from 12-19 years, but will not necessarily have full locomotion development or the fine motor skills have not developed in relation to the physical growth. Health professionals are more involved in the assessment of the child’s development, these include health visitors, GP and specialist nurses. Some young people use wheelchairs and splints to aid their mobility.
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