Understand the Factors That Influence Children and Young People’s Development and How These Affect Practice

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There are various personal factors which can affect the development of children and young people. When a child is conceived, their genetics are formed. It is becoming increasingly apparent that as well as deciding, hair colour our genetics can influence addiction, depression and self-esteem issues. A baby’s development can also be affected during pregnancy. A mother’s lifestyle can also have an effect. Smoking, consumption of alcohol, infections picked up, stress, anxiety and diet can all influence the development of a child before birth. Factors such as being born premature or being injured during birth can also affect progress. After birth there are various aspects which can affect children and young people’s development. These include:

Health Status
A combination of genetics and other factors can affect a child or young person’s health. There may be conditions such as cystic fibrosis (A condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick sticky mucus), sickle cell disease (Abnormally shaped red blood cells resulting in serious infections, anemia and damage organs), diabetes, etc. that have an automatic impact. Even general colds or viruses could have an affect. There may also be problems which are set off by certain conditions such as environment. These conditions can affect all aspects of a child or young person’s development.

Certain disabilities may affect what a child is able to do physically. Conditions such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy have a physical affect children and their development. Spina bifida occurs when the baby’s spinal cord does not develop properly during pregnancy. As a result the child’s legs may be partially or fully paralysed and they may have a curvature of the spine, difficulties in controlling their bowel and bladder and deformities in bones and joints. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain that controls movement, resulting in difficulties with posture, movement of body or body parts, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, balance, coordination, talking and eating. It is important that we recognise that areas of development are linked; therefore disabilities can affect various aspects. As well as an effect on physical development other areas of a child’s development can be affected. Emotional development may suffer as the child may feel they are different to others. Cognitive development may also be affected as concentration may be affected. These disabilities could also have a negative effect on communication development as the child may struggle to speak, as a result social development will also be affected as thy may be unable to communicate with others. Frustration from being unable to do things may cause problems with behaviour.

Sensory Impairment
Sensory impairments are defects in vision, sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and spatial awareness. Visual impairments are when vision is partially lost, severely impaired or completely lost. Sometimes this can be improved with glasses or contact lenses, medical treatment or surgery, but there are occasions where this cannot be treated. This can affect a child’s emotional they may feel they are different than others. It can also restrict physical development as the child may not be able to do the same activities as other children which would also affect their social development because they are not able to join in with others. Written communication can also be affected as they may be unable to see to write. Children with lack of sight are not likely to explore interesting objects in the environment and as a result they may miss opportunities to have experiences and to learn. There are three types of hearing impairment – Conductive hearing loss where sounds are unable to pass from your outer ear to your inner ear, sensorineural hearing loss where the sensitive hair cells are...
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