The sequence and rate of each aspect of development normally expected in children and young people from birth to 19 years.
There are four main areas of development which are; physical development, communication and language development, Intellectual development and social, emotional and behavioral development. Children’s growth and development enables them to explore their environment and to make sense of their world, to achieve new skills, to change the way others perceive them, and most importantly it aids their development of self. It is important to understand that not all children necessarily progress sequentially through stages of development. Each child is a unique person who is a competent learner from birth, albeit within their own individual time frame. As a practitioner we must meet the individual needs of the children by carrying out effective observations and then planning play and activities in order to enable each child to reach their potential.
To measure children’s physical development, professionals look at the skills that children have acquired. These skills are sometimes referred to as milestones and are linked to children’s ages. The milestones have been determined by looking at large groups of children’s development and considering what the ‘norm’ (normative measure) for each age is. This means there will always be some variation with some children showing development that is in advance of or is below the milestone. Significant delays in reaching milestones are likely to be monitored and investigated.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
In the first year of a baby’s life various milestones should be reached, these include fine and gross motor skills. At birth babies have very few skills, they should have the basic reflexes such as opening and closing their eyes when they see bright lights or hear loud sounds. Some gross motor skills babies should have at birth include their head should be turned to one side when lying on their back. By three months a baby should be able to clasp and unclasp their hand this is an example of a fine motor skill because it is the coordination of a small muscle movement which usually occurs in places such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes another example is that by 6 months a baby should be able to reach for a toy and move it from one hand to the other and will also be putting objects into their mouth. An example of a gross motor skill at this age would be that they can roll over from their back to front, which puts them in the best position for tummy time to encourage crawling they may also move their arms to indicate they want to be picked up. This is a gross motor skill because it is a larger movement that a baby would make with its legs, arms, feet or entire body. By eight months old, they are able to sit steadily, or with minimal support, and often crawl or make some effort to move independently. While experience does influence development profoundly, a baby is given a head start by the existence at birth of various reflexes. A reflex is an unconscious, spontaneous response to a stimulus. A classic example is if someone taps the knee in a certain place, the leg shoots out. Babies have a number of these reflexes these are, palmar and grasp reflex, rooting reflex, sucking reflex, moro or startle reflex, plantar or foot reflex and Babinski. The palmar, rooting and sucking reflex support immediate interaction with the mother through touch and feeding. The startle reflex suggests that the baby is primed to respond to surprise or fearful situations, and the plantar and Babinski reflexes illustrate a potential wiring up of basic motor movements that have been formed by the baby’s actions in the womb, for example curling of the toes. It is difficult to separate the child’s development of muscular control from the impact of visual input. Newborn vision is limited to orientating to single targets, especially faces, but by the...
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