Child Development

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Effects of poverty on the physical development of a Jamaican child Physical development is defined by Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggitt in the text Child Care and Education as “the way in which the body gains skills and become more complex in its performance.” Arnold Gesell a psychologist and pediatrician put forth normative development guidelines for a child (physical development milestones). The normative development guidelines are categorized into gross motor skills, fine -motor skills and balance/coordination skills. Therefore, the physical development of the child is the child being able to master certain skills at the right time; for example, at fifteen months a child scribbles with a crayon, throws a ball and is able to identify colour. This child would have met the mile stone set for his age as a result he is considered as being physically developed.

Poverty delays a child’s physical development. Take for example the development of the fine motor skills. Fine motor skill refers to the movement of the little muscles in the eyes and fingers (eyes and hand coordination). At six months, biologically, the child should be able to grab objects, hold on to them shortly and later on poke them to get an understanding. However, these skills have to be nurtured by the environment. A child who lives in an impoverished household usually gets little stimulant from the environment. This is because the child’s parent is unable to afford toys such as rattles, building blocks and sponge balls which will help them to develop the skills mentioned above. Also, the parents within impoverished households are usually uneducated and do not know or understand the importance of creating an environment that stimulates the development of fine motor skills. This child motor skill will still be developed but at a later date. The delay in developing the child’s fine motor skill will result in a delay in the child’s literacy skills (being able to read and write). Poverty also affects...
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