A childs development can be affected by both personal and external factors. Personal factors are those that are sepcific to an individual child and external factors are those that could theoretically affect each and every child.
Personal factors include the following:
Some children’s development may be affected by a pre-existing health condition. For example a baby’s development can be affected during the pregnancy, if a mother smokes, takes drugs, drinks alcohol or contracts certain infections such as rubella. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome occurs when a mother drinks large amounts of alcohol during her pregnancy. This condition will usually affect a child’s cognitive and physical development. The amount of alcohol consumed, as well as, when during the pregnancy it was drunk and whether it involved binge drinking or large amounts being drunk on a regular basis, will affect the level of disability caused. FAS can also cause delays in physical development as the child maybe underweight, problems with feeding and speech due to facial abnormalites and neurological problems such as alcohol withdrawal, problems with memory and communication and a low IQ. A range of developmental areas can be affected by a health issue not just the physical development. For example: •
Their ability to make friends. A child who is repeatedly away from school may not be able to get to know the other children. •
Their education. Days maybe missed due to hospital or doctor’s appointments or long periods of time missed because of hospitilisation or just not feeling well enough to go to school. •
A lack of confidence and low self esteem. They may have to rely heavily on adults in some areas of their lives and have little or no sense of self-reliance. Many doctors are now encouraging children to be partially responsible to their condition, for example children with diabetes are often encouraged to inject themselves. •
Missed opportunities. Some children may not be able to take part in certain activities on offer. Running or playing outside may trigger their condition. There are other health issues that may affect development. This could be as simple as a bout of toncilitis resulting in a couple of weeks off school at an important point of the child’s education or a chronic health condition like diabetes that may mean missing lessons due to regular hospital appointments while the condition is being monitored. Disability
Cerebal palsy is a neurological condition that affects the brain and nervous system. It is a general term that covers a range of conditions that affect a child’s morvement and co-ordination and is caused by damage to the brain before, during or just after the birth. Again the symptoms and severity vary greatly from child to child and also by the type of Cerebral palsy suffered for example spastic hemiplegia or ataxic cerebral palsy. Some children have the ability to walk but the age at which they can do this will be affected by either hypotonia (decreased) or hypertonia (increased muscle tone). Spina Bifida is another condition that is present from birth. Generally it does not affect a child’s cognitive development but, depending on the type a child has, may affect their physical development. In severe cases the child’s legs may be partially or even fully paralysed and there may also be urinary and bowel incontinence issues. The number of children born with spina bifida is now low, due to the recommendation that women take folic acid whilst trying for a baby and in the early stages of pregnancy. Spina Bifida may not only affect a child’s physical development. It may also affect the following areas:- •
Intellectual development as the child may have to have lots of time off of school. •
Emotional development as they may feel different to those children around them. •
Social development as they are not able to socialise with others. Sensory Impairment
A visual or hearing impairment can have a big effect on many areas of...
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