Understand Child and Young Person Development
2. Understand the factors that influence children and young people’s
development and how these affect practice.
Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a
range of personal factors.
Personal factors are those which are part of the genetic make-up of a child
(nature, not nurture). As such, they cannot be changed, although their influence
upon development can be addressed to give children the best possible chance to
achieve their potential. Personal factors influencing development include:
• Health status: From common colds to serious illness, a child’s health status
will impact upon their development in some way. Frequent colds or other mild
illness, for example, could mean low school attendance rates which not only
impacts on a child’s classroom learning but can also affect a child’s social and
emotional development by having less exposure to playing with peers, less time
to form meaningful friendships and missing out on the opportunity to grow in
confidence and social skills. A child with a chronic illness, such as juvenile
arthritis, may suffer the same disadvantages due to frequent hospital
appointments. In addition, suffering chronic pain can render a child less able to
concentrate, thus affecting their cognitive development. Not being able to play
the same games or not being able to take part fully in PE lessons or afterschool
clubs can affect a child’s confidence. In turn this could affect a child’s language
and communication development. Moreover, these disadvantages are on top of
the more obvious effects of a serious disease – in the case of arthritis, problems
with bone development and growth. When one aspect of a child’s development is
significantly influenced, other aspects will also be influenced. Although Teachers
and Teaching Assistants cannot cure arthritis, they can certainly mitigate the
effects of the disease on aspects of development other than bone growth.