Child development is the sequential progression of changes in the body and abilities as the child grows from birth to adolescence.
Child Development typically occurs naturally through exposure to helpful stimulus, repeated opportunity to practice the same things to facilitate learning and a wide range of life experiences. As such, child development generally occurs naturally without much conscious thought on the parents behalf (although of course many parents consciously exposure their children to range of specific activities to aid well rounded development where possible).
What does Child Development cover?
Children’s development occurs across a range of skills areas including: physical (motor) skills, speech and language, social and emotional, cognitive and intellectual abilities. Progressive development typically occurs in these skills simultaneously although the extent varies between the skills at different times.
Why is Child Development important?
Monitoring child development is important to ensure that children meet their ‘developmental milestones’. Although arbitrary time frames that are far from exact, checking that children are roughly ‘on track’ for their age is helpful in order to detect early on if there are any hiccups in development. This is usually carried out through child/mother services and Paediatricians as infants and toddlers, and later through kindergartens and school term skills assessments.
The earliest possible detection (and treatment if appropriate) of developmental challenges is helpful as it can allow the early intervention to help minimize the impact these developmental hiccups can have on children’s skill development and subsequently their confidence, or serve as an indicator of a possible diagnosis.
Problems in Child Development
Problems in development can arose due to: genetics, prenatal circumstances, the presence of a specific diagnosis or medical factors, and/or lack of opportunity or exposure to helpful stimuli. Specific assessment by the best fit professional (which may initially be the GP or Paediatrician, and then Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Psychologist and/or Physiotherapist) can provide clarity about the issues and extent of concern and formulate a plan to overcome the challenge(s). In many cases, as the process of child develop involves multiple skill areas developing at once, there may be benefit in consulting multiple professionals. Overcoming the developmental challenges is crucial to maximising the ease and speed of development, minimizing the gap that occur between a child’s ability and those of their same ages peers, the confidence of the child as well as frustration that can be encountered by the child’s parents and/or care-givers.
For more specific information about the professionals that can help with Child Development, select the tabs for Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Psychology and Physiotherapist at the top of the screen.