A child's development usually follows an expected patten, although children do develop at different rates but this usually follows a pattern. There are five key areas to keep in mind when working with children to help and identify if a child requires additional support. Keeping in mind development in a holistic way (the whole rather than parts of something).
This looks at a child’s physical movement but is divided into key parts.
- Gross motor skills:- Theses include jumping, hopping, skipping etc. and are more large limb movements.
- Fine motor skills:- Which include writing, painting, threading etc. these are more precise movements.
- Locomotive skills:- these include running, walking, balancing these are full body movements.
This is usually the way a child develops in their brain process. How a child uses skills in different ways. Creative and imaginative skills problem solving, using language to explain reasoning.
This looks at how a child communicates with someone, e.g. language to explain reading, writing and describing events. There are also non-verbal ways to communicate such as sign language.
Social And Emotional Development
This looks at feelings, self-esteem, self-expression and learning about others feelings this also covers a child’s understanding on behaviour and what is acceptable e.g. taking turns, co-operating with others and feeding one-self.
This is linked to social and emotional development and covers choices and decisions e.g. Not always going first in the line and letting someone else this also covers behaviour and attitudes towards others e.g. saying sorry even if its not their fault but knowing that it may make someone feel a little better.
- Climbing the ladder of a slide Physical, cognitive
- Playing football in a team Physical, cognitive, communication, social and emotional and moral.
- Using a pencil to write their name and draw a picture Physical, Cognitive, Communication, Social and Emotional development.
- Using a knife and fork to eat a meal Physical, Cognitive, Social and Emotional.
Expected Stages Of Development
Reserve gathered form Carolyn Meggitts child development book
Physical:- Babies lie supine (on their backs) with their head to one-side, Prone position (on their front). Cognitive babes will start to show a preference to tastes sweet over salty or sour. Startled by sudden noises. At around 3 months babies smile in response to speech. Often suck their lips at the sounds of food preparation.
Babies use their whole hand (palmer grasp) to pass things from one hand to the other. Start to understand the meanings of some words e.g. bye- bye mummy or daddy. When babies are around 9 months they will start to use a pincer grasp (finger and thumb) move arms and legs together when excited. Babies enjoy pointing at objects.
At around 13 months most babies can walk but will fall-over frequently and sit down rather suddenly. Babies will start to show a preference for one hand over the other. By 15 months babies will copy you to build a tower of two cubes. Babies will understand more words such like show me, look at that. Babies are still shy with strangers. At 18 months babies can squat to pick up a toy,can thread large beads onto a lace. Babies are more eager for independence e.g. “me do it”
At 2 years babies an throw a ball overhand but cannot yet catch one. Babies can copy simple lines and sometimes a v using their preferred hand. From 2 ½ years babies can recognise themselves in photos, they will continually ask questions what, who, why.
At this age children can stand on tip-toe they can catch a ball with their arms outstretched start to understand the concept of one and lots of. Children often develop fears e.g. fear of the dark, as they become capable of pretending and imagining, at around 4 years children hold a pen or pencil in an adult fashion. Can wash and dry themselves.
At this age children are more familiar with past/present and future and will talk about these with a good sense of time, show sympathy and comfort others who are hurt. At 6 years children can skip to music alternating their feet, draw people in some detail for instance eyebrows, eyelashes. Talk fluently and with confidence.
Children start to differ in physical maturity, they may be curious about drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Children begin to experience conflict between parents values and peers, at this age children will start to go through puberty, this is different between the sexes.
Children often feel misunderstood in the early part of this age range they all want to be accepted and liked. It is important to listen to their ideas and show them respect.
Influence on development
Problems during pregnancy and at birth.
A child begins to develop at a the moment of conception, a healthy embryo is made up of 46 chromosomes, 23 from the egg (mother) and 23 from the sperm (father). If there are more or less than 46 It will have an effect on the way the child develops and learns.
Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, additional chromosome 21 which means the child will have 47 instead of 46.
During pregnancy if the mother smokes takes drugs or drinks alcohol this will also affect the baby. Birth can influence a child’s development if a baby is born prematurely or suffers from lack of oxygen this can affect brain development.
Reserve from NHS web
How FAS Develops During Pregnancy
Dr Raja Mukherjee says that when a mother consumes alcohol it goes around the placenta, because the foetus liver isn’t fully formed it cant metabolise the alcohol quickly enough. In turn it has a high blood alcohol concentration, therefore lacks oxygen and nutrients so organs and the brain don’t grow properly. White matter which is need to speed up the processes of information is sensitive to alcohol, so more the mother drinks alcohol more the foetus suffers.
Professor Neil McIntosh says evidence shows that drinking during the six to nine weeks of pregnancy when the facial features are formed babies are more likely to suffer from facial deformities and that damage to the organs most likely happen in the first three months.
Signs And Symptoms OF FAS
Some signs may not show up until the child goes to school.
Lack of appropriate social boundaries (over friendliness to strangers)
Poor short term memory
Inability to grasp instructions
Failure to learn from the consequences of their actions
Egocentricity (excessive interest in oneself)
Mixing reality and fiction
Difficulty with group social interaction
Poor problem solving and planning
Hyperactivity and poor attention
Genetic factors (passed on through parents) can have a impact on a child’s development the child may not be able to participate fully in physical or strenuous activities.
Many disabilities are genetic, children can be affected by a disability they were born with. Different disabilities affect development in different ways.
Coeliac Disease (www.coeliac.uk)
Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten. This disease is not an allergy or an intolerance to gluten, the disease mistakenly attacks healthy tissue this causes symptoms such as Diarrhoea, Bloating and Flatulence, Abdominal pains, Weight loss, Feeling tired all the time and malnutrition due to not getting enough nutrients from food.
This disease is a common condition and affects approx 1-100 people in the UK. This can cause frequent absences from school which in turn will affect the progress of a child’s learning it will not help a child to become friends with their peers and will influence a child’s confidence.
Sickle Cell Disease (www.nhs choices)
This is a serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body develop abnormally. The sickle cell gene is inherited from both parents, if only one parent has the gene then the child will have what’s know as sickle cell trait. Lifestyle an help the symptoms and drinking plenty of fluid can help. Symptoms can be
- Vulnerability to infection
This disease can cause time away from school which impacts on a child’s learning and social skills leaving a child feeling very isolated.
Turner Syndrome (www.your hormones)
This is a chromosomal disorder and affects 1 in 2500 of girls, this is a inherited disorder and affects one of the female sex chromosome. Where as boys have x and y chromosome girls have x x this is an abnormality in one of the x chromosomes. This disorder causes short stature, delayed puberty, puffy hands along with other syndromes, this shouldn’t have much affect on a child’s learning in the early years how ever as a child develops and all around start puberty they wont which can lead to stress and depression. Although medication is available Turner syndrome will cause infertility.
A child’s development can be affected by external factors.
This is spilt into two groups Relative poverty:- is income related and concerns material things.
Absolute poverty:- This is a lack of basic human needs e.g. shelter, food, warmth and education. Absolute poverty is rare in the UK.
This can be were a child is from what’s know as a broken family, mum and dad split up and a child is torn between the two.
This can have an impact on education as the child will be upset, going from one house to the other and leaving homework at one then worrying about getting into trouble at school.
Poor housing can lead to asthma in children, over crowding can lead to poor physical skills as there is no room to play.
Sometimes the family unit changes and as a result can have a effect on a child from long-term illness, bereavement or parental separation all these things can cause stress and changes in behaviour.
Personal Choices And Decisions
As a child gets older they want to become more independent as a result of this and with peer pressure children can make mistakes, drugs, alcohol and substance abuse can all have a effect on their body. Eating is also a choice by picking the wrong diet young people can become obese or under weight.
A good education will enhance a child’s life, attending school on a daily basic will help the child to know rules and boundaries. Attending clubs and church will also help there social and moral development.
Why Development May Not Follow The Expected Pattern
Children develop at different rates and in their own time however if a child isn’t atchving certain milestones this may be a sign of delayed development and may need to be investigated.
When a child has their emotional needs met then it will have a positive impact on their learning. Just knowing that there is someone they trust and can talk to may make a huge impact.
Physical growth can have a impact on a child if they haven’t had much exercise as infants then their muscles wont be formed correctly.
Where a child grows up can impact on a child’s education. If say a child is a traveller and moves often therefore moving school frequently this will impact on their education.
Different cultures see different values e.g. girls from boys some cultures see girls as home-makers and education isn’t need after the age of 11 if at all.
When a family structure changes this can also impact on a child if there is a death in the family, children comes to turns with things differently.
Children are not always born with disabilities but can develop them.
This is crucial in identifying if a child needs help all schools will asses a child when starting so key areas can be picked up on and if any intervention is needed for that child.
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