Understand Child and Young Person Development
2. Understand the factors that influence children and young people’s development and how these affect practice.
Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors. Personal factors are those which are part of the genetic make-up of a child (nature, not nurture). As such, they cannot be changed, although their influence upon development can be addressed to give children the best possible chance to achieve their potential. Personal factors influencing development include: • Health status: From common colds to serious illness, a child’s health status will impact upon their development in some way. Frequent colds or other mild illness, for example, could mean low school attendance rates which not only impacts on a child’s classroom learning but can also affect a child’s social and emotional development by having less exposure to playing with peers, less time to form meaningful friendships and missing out on the opportunity to grow in confidence and social skills. A child with a chronic illness, such as juvenile arthritis, may suffer the same disadvantages due to frequent hospital appointments. In addition, suffering chronic pain can render a child less able to concentrate, thus affecting their cognitive development. Not being able to play the same games or not being able to take part fully in PE lessons or afterschool clubs can affect a child’s confidence. In turn this could affect a child’s language and communication development. Moreover, these disadvantages are on top of the more obvious effects of a serious disease – in the case of arthritis, problems with bone development and growth. When one aspect of a child’s development is significantly influenced, other aspects will also be influenced. Although Teachers and Teaching Assistants cannot cure arthritis, they can certainly mitigate the effects of the disease on aspects of development other than bone growth. • Disability: Physical disability, such as cerebral palsy, can affect a child’s development in a number of ways. For example, they may be bullied or ignored by other students because they appear different, which will affect their social and emotional development. Speech acquisition will be delayed due to the disability, which can in turn delay intellectual or cognitive development. Cerebral palsy affects muscle control and coordination, so it will be difficult for a child to partake in some school learning and playing activities which will influence that child’s social, emotional and cognitive development too. A less visible disability might be autism, which affects how a child reads social situations and communicates with others. The pattern of communication development is thus influenced directly by the disability, which will have a knock-on effect on other aspects of development. • Sensory impairment: Sensory impairment, such as sight or hearing impairment, will directly affect a child’s development. With hearing impairment, for example, a child will be delayed and may be restricted in language and communication development. The severity of the impact will often relate directly to the severity of the impairment. Even a child with slight hearing impairment will struggle to hear the teacher in a classroom with background noise and will find group work difficult. This impacts upon the child’s cognitive development and his social development. Finding conversations difficult can affect a child’s confidence and his behavioural development could be affected. Depending upon other factors, he may deal with his impairment by disruptive behaviour (to cover up his difficulty) or he may shun attention – both behaviours impact negatively upon other aspects of development. As with other personal factors, Teachers and TAs can lessen negative impact on development by being aware of a child’s impairment and providing circumstances, resources and support which considers the...
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