CHILD GUIDANCE
FACTORS AFFECTING DEVELOPMENT
The capability for acquiring new skills
is dependent upon the maturity of the
child’s nervous system. Individual rates
of maturity are determined genetically
and modified by environmental factors
in the
uterus
and after birth. For exam-
ple, premature children miss out on a
portion of the growing time in the
uterus; therefore, the time that they
take to progress should, be calculated
from the full-term pregnancy date, not
the actual date of birth.
Sight and hearing are both crucial to
a child’s general developmental pro-
gress; any defect in these areas will
affect the child’s ability to watch, listen,
learn,
and imitate.
Intelligence
also
affects the speed of development.
Speaking to and playing with children
is essential for their language develop-
ment and to help them practise new
physical skills. Introducing children to
other children also provides them with
a great deal of stimulation.
DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
Development is assessed in early child-
hood by looking at the child’s abilities
in four major areas: physical skills;
hearing and language; vision and fine
movement; and social behaviour and
play. Children acquire particular skills at
widely recognized stages known
as
developmental milestones.
All children acquire skills in much
the same order (for example, a child
will not learn to stand before learning
to sit); however, the rate at which these
skills are acquired varies enormously
from child to child. A child may devel-
op more rapidly in one area than in
another. A more detailed assessment is
required only if a child’s progress is
significantly slower than average or if a
parent is concerned for other reasons
(see
developmental delay).
child guidance
A form of care provided by a multidis-
ciplinary diagnosis and advice team,
which helps children suffering from
emotional or behavioural difficulties
(see
behavioural problems in children).
Indications of such problems include
poor performance at school, disruptive
or withdrawn behaviour, breaking the
law, and
drug abuse.
C
CHILD DEVELOPMENT: 0-18 MONTHS
Locomotion
By
6
months
Babies can lift up their heads and
chests and roll from front to back
and back to front. They can sit up
with support, bounce up and
down, and bear weighton their
legs if supported.
9
months
Babies try to crawl, sit without
support, and pull themselves up to
standing or sitting positions. They
can step purposefully on alternate
feet if they are supported.
1
year
Children can crawl on hands and
knees and walk around furniture
(holding on). They may be able to
walkalone or with one hand held.
18
months
Children can walkwell with feet
closer together. They can stoop to
pick up objects, run with care,
walk upstairs with one hand held,
and crawl backwards downstairs.
Vision and fine movement
By
6
months
Babies look intently at everything
and everybody. They follow moving
objects with their eyes and reach
for objects with one or both hands.
Objects are transferred from hand
to hand and broughtto the mouth.
9
months
Babies are visually very alert. Their
grasp involves mostly the index and
middle fingers. They can manipulate
objects with both hands, but have
difficulty voluntarily releasing
grasped objects.
1
year
Children can grasp small objects
well and release grasped objects
easily. Both hands are used
equally. They can hold a block
in each hand and bang the
blocks together.
18
months
Children can build a tower of
three blocks (when shown), enjoy
turning pages of a book, can grip
a crayon, scribble, and make dots.
They may use one hand more than
the other.
Hearing, understanding, and speech
By
6
months
Babies turn their heads to locate
sources ofsound and have begun
to understand the tone of their
mother’svoice. They enjoy making
vowel sounds and tuneful noises.
They laugh and squeal.
9
months
Babies listen to sounds and
understand “no” and other words.
They babble in long strings (making
sounds such as ba-ba, da-da, ma-
ma) and start using sound to
attract attention. (Deaf babies’
utterances are monotonous and do
not develop in complexity.)
1
year
Children turn when they hear their
own name spoken. They have
some understanding of how other
people feel; they know what most
household objects are used for;
they may babble meaningfully to
themselves; and they may say
two or three words.
1 8
months
Children comprehend short
communications spoken directly
to them but do not understand
the difference between
statements, commands, and
questions. Vocabulary may
contain six to 20 words.
Social behaviour and play
By
6
months
Babies enjoy looking at their
images in mirrors and playing
peekaboo games. They can grasp
objects and can also shake, bang,
and otherwise manipulate them.
They will not, however, look for
objects that are shown and then
hidden. They are shy with
strangers.
9
months
Babies look for objects that are
shown and then hidden, thus
showing the beginnings of
memory. They imitate hand
clapping, wave bye-bye, and show
great determination in getting
objects. They continue to be shy
with strangers.
1
year
Children spend less time putting
objects in their mouths and more
time releasing objects by throwing
them, dropping them, putting
them in boxes. They play pat-a-
cake and like to be around a
familiar adult to whom they
demonstrate affection.
18
months
Children actively explore their
homes. They enjoy moving things
into and out of boxes and looking at
picture books. They use spoons and
cups and can take off their shoes
and socks. They are also determined,
impetuous, selfish, and cannot be
reasoned with. They alternate
between clinging to a familiar adult
and struggling to break free.
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