Transitions and their effect on development

Categories: Development

CYP 3. 1 – 5. 1 Explain how different types of transitions can affect children and young people’s development. CYP 3. 1 – 5. 2 Evaluate the effect on children and young people of having positive relationships during periods of transitions. CYP 3. 1 – 3. 3 Explain how disability may affect development “Transitions are the movements, passages or changes from one position, state, stage, subject or concept to another. These changes can be gradual or sudden, and last for differing periods of time. ” (youngminds. org) There are different types of transitions, these include;

Emotional – e. g. bereavement, change in family situation Physical – e. g. starting a new school, moving house Physiological – e. g. Puberty, long term medical conditions Intellectual – e. g. moving from pre-school to primary or post-primary Children go through various phases of transition in the first years of their lives. These may range from major changes in personal or home-life situations to smaller transitions in day-to-day experiences. Many children make transitions between carers and environments several times each day or throughout a week.

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For example, a child may be woken up by a parent, taken to school by a grandparent, and cared for in school by a different set of adults. This may change each day and maybe throughout the day, and then at home-time the child may be collected by a relative or child-minder until the parent returns home. With the children that I have looked after they have experienced changes including moving country, moving house, speaking a different language, having a different nanny, moving nursery and starting school.

Children of different ages can face the same or similar transitions, such as moving house or changing class, and some transitions are more age-specific, such as puberty and leaving home.

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Because children and young people would be at different stages of development between the ages of 0-19 transitions would affect their development differently depending upon their age. Emotional: Pam Schiller writes “there are fertile times (windows of opportunity) when the brain is able to wire specific skills at an optimum level. Social and emotional intelligence foundations are wired during the first 48 months of life.

Positive experiences during open/fertile windows result in positive outcomes, as do negative experiences result in negative outcomes”. (Seven skills for school success, 2009) For example, if an infant is hungry and is fed they will learn to trust, but if no-one feeds them they will learn not to trust. In the same way, different transitions can affect the development of younger children as emotional trauma can have a negative impact on early development. Emotional trauma also interferes with the brain’s ability to use rational thought to decode our emotions, it over-sensitises us to stress and causes us to overreact to situations.

Younger children may not be able to explain or understand their feelings as easily as older children and so may need more support and help in dealing with any emotional transition. An incident which may seem insignificant to an adult may cause emotional upset for a younger child. Older children and young people may be better able to understand, deal with and express their emotions; however because of being more mature they may be exposed to more serious emotional traumas or more aware of emotional transitions that younger children may be shielded from.

In young people this could maybe be manifested in them becoming withdrawn and not wanting to talk about their emotions. Throughout any emotional transitions teaching staff can be of help and support by being a positive presence in the child’s situation. This could be in the form of offering support and reassurance, being a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to or a listening ear. Some pupils may be reluctant to talk and become withdrawn, in which case they could be reassured that did they wish to talk or need any help that there wanting to help. Physical:

A physical transition could simply be moving from one activity to another. If a child is absorbed in what they are doing then they may find this difficult and be reluctant to change, if this is a regular occurrence their development may be hindered if they are not taking part in a range of activities and widening their experiences. This would probably be more of an issue with younger children and maybe with those who have different activities and lessons within the same learning area/classroom. A more major physical change would be moving house or school.

This was my experience when I was 13, it wasn’t easy starting a new school part way through the year as being the ‘new girl’ focused attention on you when you wanted it the least! In the year 1 class that I help in a new pupil has joined the class in the past few weeks. She has moved from another school nearby so knows a few of the pupils in her new class. The teacher has tried to help her transition by sitting her next to the girls she is already familiar with and offering reassurance throughout the day.

When an activity is started that is not familiar (such as assembly) the teacher explains to her what we are doing, where we do it, and why. On Friday afternoons the school has a parent’s assembly and any certificates are handed out, good work is acknowledged and a pupil from each class is nominated as the head teachers ‘special person’. At the end of her first week of school the ‘new girl’ was awarded the title of’ special person’ for settling into her new class so well and trying so hard to make new friends. I think this helped to give her a sense of achievement and to feel accepted into her new class and school.

This so far has been a positive transition, helped by the teacher, teaching assistant and pupils, but if support and reassurance had not been offered it may not have been so successful. Physiological: Physiological transitions may be on-going and harder to manage or understand for children. Younger children may not be aware of the consequences of a physiological change, such as a long-term illness. For older children this type of transition could be experiencing puberty, in which case they may be self-conscious and reluctant to ask for help or advice.

Depending upon what the change is and the severity of it this could affect the child or young person’s development in a physical way. To be of any help or support regarding physiological transitions it would be imperative to show sensitivity and may be necessary to communicate with parents or the SENCO to be fully aware of the needs of the child and the changes they are facing. Intellectual: This type of transition may be more difficult for younger children to face, for instance from pre-school to reception class.

The change in routine or surroundings or longer days at school may be issues that they struggle to adjust to. For older children/young people the move from primary to secondary school or college to university could be equally daunting. These changes could hinder or affect development if a child or young person is struggling to settle into their new environment and routine. To make this transition easier and less daunting it helps if the child knows what to expect when the change comes, for example who their teacher will be, which classroom they will be in, how their day will be structured.

This could be helped by having a visit to the new school or class before the transition takes place, and being reassured that there will always be someone that they can talk to or ask questions if needed. Positive relationships: In periods of change children should be given opportunity to talk or ask questions about what is going to happen so that they feel more prepared for any imminent changes. If this opportunity is given it can help to reduce any negative or harmful effects on their development. For some periods of change such as bereavement this is not always possible, but it is important to offer support and a listening ear at the time.

It is important for children to have positive relationships during periods of change. “Our capacity to cope with change is one component of our mental health. It is shaped by our own unique combination of nature, nurture and events. Many children will have experienced warm, consistent, predictable care and will see adults as reliable, supportive and caring when dealing with difficult thoughts, feelings and events. Sadly, others will have experienced adults whose responses have been unsupportive and not in tune with their needs.

Their experience has been that adults do not care and cannot cope or be depended on. ” (youngminds. org) For children and young people who do not have positive relationships at home a teacher or teaching assistant may be their next option for someone to talk to and find support, advice and a listening ear. Disabilities: There is a vast spectrum of disabilities that can affect children and young people. A disability is something that limits your ability to do day to day activities. It could include problems with sight, hearing, speech, memory or mobility.

“A disability doesn’t have to be a permanent condition it can also be an illness like cancer or a mental health problem that comes and goes. A learning disability affects someone’s ability to learn, understand or communicate. ” (mencap. org) There are different types of learning disability, from small problems through to a severe disability that may affect someone’s whole life and may affect development is a number of different ways. Some conditions can cause learning disabilities such as: Cerebral palsy, Epilepsy, Autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Children with a learning or physical disability may be subjected to prejudice or discrimination at school. They may be bullied or ridiculed by other students which will affect their self-confidence and in turn affect their learning capabilities and development. If children and young people have the support, understanding and resources that they need this can enable them to be more confident, independent integrated in school life. some disabilities that could affect development are: Autism; autism is a developmental disability which affects how a person relates and communicates with other people and the world around them.

A child/young person with autism finds it difficult to understand facial expressions or the tone of a voice. They can feel lonely and cut off from society as they avoid social interaction. This could affect their ability to development or interact in social settings or in the classroom. Dyslexia; is a difficulty in learning to read. A child/young person suffering from this may become frustrated and problems could arise at home or in school, behavioural problems could also be seen, as well as the child becoming unmotivated or developing a dislike for school.

If dyslexia is undetected then this will affect their development at school and could spoil any chance of achievement. Cerebral palsy; cerebral palsy is a condition which affects the movement, posture and co-ordination of a person. A child/young person with this disability may only be affected physically with this disability while others could be affected by seizures, epilepsy or difficulties with speech and language. It is important that unhelpful labelling or stereotyping of pupils is avoided and that pupils are encouraged to be as independent as possible.

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Transitions and their effect on development. (2016, Jul 23). Retrieved from

Transitions and their effect on development

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