Development is a gradual sequel process. We are programmed to learn many skills e.g to walk and talk in the same order but not at the same speed. Many things can affect the speed of development and although there are milestones of development it is important to remember that everyone is an individual and will mature at their own rate.
First we have to differentiate between sequence and rate, which is as follows
There is a definite pattern to a child development for example an infant being able to roll before he can start crawling. Another may start to sit first. Even though some elements are missed, the development still proceeds in an expectable pattern. Sequence of development involves patterns and orders.
Rate involves time frame linked to age in which a child develops for example one baby may achieve walking independently at the age of 10 months where as the other may be able to walk at 12 months and another at 16 months. The rate is the speed at which the child develops.
The sequence can generally remain the same but the rate may vary. It is important to know the difference between the sequence and rate of development as it helps to identify the child’s needs during different stages. All children are unique individuals and develops at their own rate, so the rate of development is a guideline.
Factors affecting sequence and rate of development:
Early childhood development is affected by a variety of biological and environmental factors. These factors can influence them in positive as well as negative manner. These factors can enhance a child’s development or can compromise development outcomes in a negative way.
Child development starts occurring during the prenatal period. At this stage there are several biological factors
“Research conducted at Rutgers University demonstrated how prenatal factors affect linguistic development and how postnatal factors are key components contributing to a child’s cognitive development. Gross motor development is widely considered to be the result of innate; biological factors, with postnatal factors contributing to a lesser extent”
Biological factors also include gender, general health as well as mental health or if a child has any kind of medical condition. The pattern of eating, sleeping and playing and their oral hygiene practices plays a vital role.
Environmental factors starts from a child’s house and extends to the society and political situation. Housing plays a vital role in child development in early stages, does the child have enough space to explore and play, natural beauty and green space such as parks affects positively. Safety and comfort of the child is very important. Next big factor is the family income, if the family is experiencing financial stress the child may not receive adequate nutrition, fresh fruits and vegetables etc. Education, the standard of education a child receives also affects his/her development, does the child have access to different material like books and toys that stimulates literacy development, and parental engagement in early education encourages learning and confidence in children. Overall the environment around the child like house, school and society affects a child’s development.