Explain the Difference Between the Sequence of Development and Rate of Development and Why the Difference Is Important

Question 1.2

Explain the difference between the sequence of development and rate of development and why the difference is important

The sequence of development refers to the order in which development takes place. For example a child will first learn to hold its head up, sit, stand and eventually walk. Children will go through these stages in the same order, but will not reach them at the same calendar age.
The rate of development refers to the age with which a child goes through developmental stages.   For each stage there is an age range considered to be in which development is considered to be progressing “normally”.   For example the expected age range for walking independently is 10 and 18 months.   This means that most children will be walking by 18 months, those who are not may require further investigation. The average age for walking will be the mid-point of that age range, ie 14 months. In older children the normal age range for the onset of puberty for girls is between the ages of 10 and 14 and for boys between 12 and 16.
It is important to distinguish between sequence and rate in order to monitor a child’s development and note whether there are any areas of concern and brings to light any special educational needs. For example, where speech is not progressing as expected this may indicate a problem with hearing.   Where this can be resolved by use of hearing aids the child’s language may enable speech to develop as expected. Recognising how children and young people may be affected by such problems enables professionals to investigate, plan and provide support as needed and therefore encourage development as far as possible.

Supporting teaching and learning in schools (Secondary)   Louise Burnham and Brenda Baker