(a)Personal factors (health), (2.1)
(b)External factors (environment), (2.2)
(a)Personal factors that influence/affect children and young person’s development (health)
•Disabilities such as blindness, deafness, and other physical handicaps can cause learning loss as the child therefore is physically hindered and as we know all areas of development are interlinked, so the others will be affected causing delays and often full capability.
•Illnesses; especially life threatening or disabling such as Polio or Cancer causes delays in all round development as these can affect muscle development; both major and fine motor, and often never fully develop due to the damaging effects of these diseases to their body. Also, long terms in Hospital or confinement in bed, frailty of body etc. prevent them from physical exertion such as running, skipping, etc. Long absences from school, family, as well as limited interaction socially and physically with other children their age, can in many cases also affect their other areas of development; such as their social, physical, cognitive/intellectual development.
•Learning difficulties; ADHD, ADD, Autism, Down’s syndrome etc. all affect a child and young person’s ability to develop cognitively, therefore it inhibits the general pattern of development. For example, one of the symptoms of ADHD is low muscle tone which is due to abnormal chemical balances in the brain; “ADHD is caused by differences in neurotransmitter patterns in certain parts of the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that make it possible for nerve impulses to travel from one nerve cell to another, and therefore play an essential role in the functioning of the brain.
The brain performs a vast range of tasks or functions, allowing us, for instance, to see, hear, think, speak and move. Each function is performed by a different part of the brain. In individuals with ADHD there are lower than normal levels of certain neurotransmitters (especially dopamine) in the regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating behaviour and attention. Research also confirms that the Norepinephrine system is also involved in some patients.”
Further Resources: (http://www.health24.com/Parenting/Child/First-year/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder-20120721)
“Chemical imbalance: Children who have ADD may not make enough chemicals in key areas of the brain that are responsible for organizing thought.
Experts believe an imbalance of the chemicals that helps nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other, called neurotransmitters, may be a factor in the development of ADD symptoms. Without enough of these chemicals, the organizing centers of the brain don’t work well.”
External factors (environment), (2.2)
•Family Environment or care status is a very important factor in a child/young person’s development; who cares for the child? Is it a ‘regular’ two parent family, a one parent family or a split family, with two sets of parents, or a large extended family living together in one home? These can all have differing; some positive and other situations often can have adverse affects.
Is the care regular and consistent or is it irregular and so disruptive for the developing child? Culturally families differ and the child might not have their parents caring for them but instead elderly Grandparents and this can have an adverse affect on a child who is growing up in a nation that usually has western ideals in parenting; the Father and Mother are usually the direct caregivers.
•Poverty is usually a negative factor in a child’s development and their environment as a whole. They usually live in small homes in unsafe areas, with high crime statistics, noise putting the child in constant threat of harm and a lack of a sense of peace and safety. Food is usually not as ample or nutritious as it is in a home with a better income, often the only income being benefits or maybe one salary from a single parent. Their health may be neglected due to lack of monies for good health care, especially in nations where it is not government sponsored.
Children and young people, as a result of poverty, may be subjected to care givers or parents who may be substance abusers due to depression often due to having a poor income or lack thereof because of unemployment. This may result in neglect, abuse or in some cases even desertion. This then leads to the child being placed under the custody of other caregivers and often the state, so disrupting the child’s life. This often results in a lack of a sense of belonging and self worth in the child and can be carried with them into young adulthood.
This can all add stress to a child and they may develop anger and feelings of resentment towards themselves, their family/care givers and society as a whole. As teenagers these children can develop severe depression and this can lead to high mortality rates and low life expectancy in many impoverished communities.
•Education is an important factor in all round development, and whether the parent/care giver is able to spend time with the child, send them to early development classes such as nursery schools or Moms and Toddler workshops etc., where various methods of teaching and activities are centered around the expected pattern of development. Some parents prefer to Home School their children and this may hinder the child’s social, and often physical and cognitive development due to lack of interaction with other children their own age, as well as learning resources.
Some children may be affected by being placed in school too early and therefore may appear to be behind in their learning and development. This may lead to the child struggling to
keep up with their peers. Gender affects learning too as girls usually develop at a faster rate all round, maturing earlier than boys.
Siblings and other children can stimulate development as the child studies have shown that children usually learn through and imitate other children around them, and this can install a healthy sense of competitiveness. A hindrance may be cultural differences in education as well as language. If a child is learning in another language this may have an adverse affect on their learning and understanding. This can further influence their cognitive and social development as they are unable to think and communicate easily in an unfamiliar language, and this can cause embarrassment and frustration.
All areas of development are interlinked and so when one is negatively affected so the rest are usually inhibited, therefore affecting the expected pattern and rate of development in a child and young person.