Children Skill Development

Children Skill development refers to the sequence of physical, language, thought and emotional changes that occur in a child from birth to the beginning of adulthood. During this process a child progresses from dependency on their parents/guardians to increasing independence. Child development is strongly influenced by genetic factors (genes passed on from their parents) and events during prenatal life. It is also influenced by environmental facts and the child’s learning capacity.

Children development can be actively enhanced through targeted therapeutic intervention and the ‘just right’ home based practice, recommended by Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists.

Healthy Development

The early years of a child’s life are very important for his or her health and development. Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. Having a safe and loving home and spending time with family―playing, singing, reading, and talking―are very important. Proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep also can make a big difference.

Effective Parenting Practices

Parenting takes many different forms. However, some positive parenting practices work well across diverse families and in diverse settings when providing the care that children need to be happy and healthy, and to grow and develop well. A recent report looked at the evidence in scientific publications for what works, and found these key ways that parents can support their child’s healthy development:

Why is child development important?

Observing and monitoring child development is an important tool to ensure that children meet their ‘developmental milestones’. Developmental milestones (a ‘loose’ list of developmental skills that believed to be mastered at roughly the same time for all children but that are far from exact) act as a useful guideline of ideal development.

By checking a child’s developmental progress at particular age markers against these arbitrary time frames, it allows a ‘check in’ to ensure that the child is roughly ‘on track’ for their age. If not, this checking of developmental milestones  can be helpful in the early detection of any hiccups in development. This ‘check’ is usually carried out through child/mother services and Pediatricians as infants and toddlers, and later through preschool and school term skills assessments.

The earliest possible detection (and early intervention treatment if appropriate) of developmental challenges can be helpful in minimizing the impact these developmental hiccups can have on a child’s skill development and subsequently their confidence, or serve as an indicator of a possible future diagnosis.

Developmental milestone checklists or charts are used as a guide as to what is ‘normal’ for a particular age range and can be used to highlight any areas in which a child might be delayed. However, it is important to be aware that while child development has a predictable sequence, all children are unique in their developmental journey and the times frames that they meet the many developmental milestones.

Problems in Child Development:

Problems in child development can arise due to: genetics, prenatal circumstances, the presence of a specific diagnosis or medical factors, and/or the lack of opportunity or exposure to helpful stimuli. Specific assessment by the best fit professional (which may initially be the GP or Paediatrician, and then Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Psychologist and/or Physiotherapist) can provide clarity about the developmental issues and extent of concern as well as can help to formulate a plan to overcome the challenge(s). As the process of child development involves multiple skills developing simultaneously, there may then be benefit in consulting multiple professionals.

Overcoming the developmental challenges is crucial to maximising the ease and speed of development, minimizing the gap that occur between a child’s ability and those of their same aged peers, the confidence of the child as well as the frustration that can be encountered by the child’s parents and/or care-givers.

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