Personal factors are specific to an individual child or young person and they influence a child’s development from the moment they are conceived.
Personal factors include: Health; Disability; Sensory Impairment; Learning Disability and Genetics.
Health – Pre-existing health conditions can affect development for example: a mother who smokes, drinks alcohol or uses drugs during pregnancy can impact the child’s cognitive and physical development.
A range of developmental areas can be affected by health issues for example: Periods of absence from school can impact their educational development (learning) due to missing lessons as well as the ability to socialise with peers. This in turn, could cause low self-esteem and confidence. Health issues can mean a child or young person missing out on activities as they could trigger their condition. An example of this would be sports. A child who suffers asthma may find it more difficult to run or play football because they would feel short of breath.
Disability – An example of disability is Cerebral Palsy. It is a neurological condition that affects the brain and nervous system. It is a range of conditions caused by damage to the brain before, during or after birth. Cerebral Palsy affects a child’s coordination and movement.
Sensory Impairment – Sensory impairment is when one of your senses, sight; hearing; touch; smell; taste no longer functions well.
Whilst all the above can affect development in some way, a visual or hearing impairment affects more development areas. A child who has either or both of these impairments may avoid social interaction or be unable to interact, which would impact their social and emotional development as well communication. However, for some children who suffer a sensory impairment, it may just take them longer than their peers to master certain areas of development. For example: hand-eye coordination.
Learning Disability – Until diagnosed, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD will affect the cognitive development of a child. The social and emotional development of a child is also affected if the child is bullied or feels isolated because of a learning difficulty.