Fifty and Fabulous

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Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693) Part 5

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

Unit 1: Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693)

Learning Criterea: Understand the potential effects of transitions on children and young people’s development.

 

Question 5.1: Explain how different types of transitions can affect children and young people’s development.

While we grow up, we naturally pass through a number of stages and within these stages we face various changes or new situations; some are common to everyone and some are less so, more personal to us. These changes or situations are often referred to as ‘transitions’ and can include situations or changes such as; when a child or young person starts school or moves to a new school, swaps classes, changes his/her group of friends, when very young children starts weaning, potty training and moving from his/her cot to a bed, when a teenager goes through puberty, any serious illness that he/she, their parents, siblings or friends experience or bereavement. Any new situation needs a process of adjustment and this is when a child or young person’s development can either be helped or hindered.

Some common transitions happen while a child or young person is at school. For example when a child leaves primary school and joins a secondary school or moves from one class to the next or from one key stage to another it is highly possible that his/her current level of learning will drop for a while. This is quite natural as he/she may need time to learn to adjust to a new style of teaching or a different approach or a new group of classmates; as a consequence their learning may suffer until he/she feels content and confident in the new situation. If this transition is not handled correctly and the child or young person does not feel safe and secure then he/she may cope with the change by becoming withdrawn or reluctant to get involved with the new situation. He/She may even show his/her fear and apprehension through aggression or becoming secretive. This adverse reaction will cause a halt in his/her motivation to grow both on an academic level and a social level.

A delay in one or more of the key developmental areas may also be created by a transition caused through a change in a child or young person’s family circumstances, such as moving house or his/her parents getting divorced, the new situation could cause him/her to lose their appetite, become more clingy and need constant affection or find it difficult to sleep at night, all or which would result in a lack of concentration.

Personal transitions are unforeseen changes or situations that only happen to some individuals, for example when a child or young person suffers an injury resulting in a disability of some kind or contracts a major illness or a family member dies, etc. This sort of trauma usually causes a longer term effect on the child or young person’s development; he/she may withdraw themselves and start avoiding any social contact which would put a strain on current relationships, he/she might cry a lot of the time or be close to tears or exhibit unreasonable behaviour and could lead to him/her self confidence and self esteem reducing.

Less common transitions such as physical, emotional sexual abuse, neglect or bullying may also result in a myriad of behaviours including; self harming, bullying others or and may lead to the very negative effect of a child or young person regressing to an earlier development stage instead of progressing.

Having said all of this, change can also promote an increased motivation to do well and generate a boost in a child or young person’s development if the adults in his/her life not only have the emotional competence to handle the situation but also the willingness to dig a little deeper to understand what he/she is actually feeling and thinking and actively support him/her in a positive way.

So, in conclusion, different types of transitions can affect children and young people’s development in one or more key ways; socially, physically, intellectually, communicational or emotionally. The effects can be fleeting or long term, negative or positive but there are always consequences to transitions.

 

Question 5.2: Evaluate the effect on children and young people of having positive relationships during periods of transition

Any new situation needs a process of adjustment whatever your age and this is where a child or young person’s development can either be helped or hindered. A positive outcome to the change is more likely to occur when the child or young person has a supportive relationship during these periods of transition meaning that he/she is given the time they need to adjust to the new situation, that he/she is allowed to grieve for the loss of what once was, that he/she is told what is going on and not kept in the dark about what is happening and finally that he/she is allowed and indeed encouraged to talk about the change and express their feelings about it.

For example a common transition that is experience by every child is when he/she leaves primary school and joins a secondary school. If this is not handled correctly and the child doesn’t feel safe and secure then he/she may cope with this change by becoming withdrawn or reluctant to get involved with the new school. He/She may even show his/her fear and apprehension through aggression or becoming secretive. This adverse reaction will cause a halt in his/her motivation to grow on an academic level and a social level so to avoid this there are a number of strategies that could be employed including; the new class teacher visiting the primary school and spending some time with him/her, the child visiting and having a tour of his/her new secondary school or arranging for the child to experience ‘taster’ days at the school so that he/she gets the chance to see what is available and carry out what will be his/her new school routine.

The same negative affect may be created when a child of young person experiences a personal transition caused through a change in his/her family circumstances, such as moving house, the birth of a new sibling or his/her parents getting divorced. Strategies such as talking with the child or young person about what is happening, what may change and what may stay the same in their lives or the child or young person visiting the new house before the family move in or being given a role or job for his/her new sibling and reassuring him/her that they are still loved will help to increase the potential of positive outcomes in these transitional periods rather than having a detrimental effect of his/her development.

A number of personal transitions are unforeseen changes or situations that only happen to some individuals, for example, when a child or young person suffers an injury or contracts a long term or terminal illness or a family member dies. If unsupported, these types of transitions have the potential risk of him/her regressing to an earlier development stage instead of progressing however if the child or young person in question is surrounded by supportive peers and adults the outcome can be much more positive. For example, having a good best friend or trusted adult to talk to openly about his/her feelings and that it’s OK and natural to feel anger, sorrow and frustration at the situation he/she finds themselves in or having professional therapists to work with on a regular basis to overcome any physical barriers he/she may have.

So in conclusion having a positive, supportive relationship during periods of transitions can reduce the risk of a negative long term effect on a child or young person’s development and can promote an increased motivation to do well and potentially generate an increase in his/her development.


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Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693) Part 4

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

Unit 1: Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693)

 Learning Criterea: Understand the importance of early intervention to support the speech, language and communication needs of children and young people.

Question 4.1: Analyse the importance of early identification of speech, language and communication delays and disorders and the potential risks of late recognition:

Children and young people develop their speech, language and communication skills from birth to adulthood by progressing through various stages while achieving certain expected ‘milestones’ within these stages which shows an assured level of competence or ability. For example when a baby tries to copy the sounds made by the people around him/her at between three to six months old, or when a young child of two or three years old remembers the words and actions to nursery rhymes or songs, or when a child at school in key stage 1 (5-7years old) can hold a conversation and recall stories both verbally and in writing or when a young person reaches adolescence and develops his/her debating skills and start to utilise wit and sarcasm. It is commonly accepted that these ‘milestones’ are usually achieved at certain points in our development because our species’ evolution has deemed these ages as the optimum time.

It is not just a child or young person’s speech and language skills that are affected by a communication delay or disorder but all areas of development; social, physical, intellectual and emotional. For example, without communication skills a child or young person will find it hard to socialise with their peers and the others in their life, if he/she has a condition or disorder like ataxia or dysarthria it will make feeding or drinking for themselves difficult if not impossible, without the evolving skills to read or write their academic learning will be impeded and if he/she has difficulties articulating their thoughts, needs, wants and feelings then they will begin to feel continually frustrated, angry or depressed which will impede their emotional development.

When speech, language and communication delays and disorders are missed, the repercussions can be significant and wide ranging both on a child or young person’s health and development but also affecting their life into adulthood. It is also widely accepted that those potential risks multiply the longer the issues go unidentified or unsupported. The Communication Council highlighted some shocking facts in their 2014 report, such as “88% of long term unemployed males have a speech, language and communication need” and “60% of young offenders have a speech, language and communication need” (The Communication Council (2014) “Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication Needs”). This knock on effect academically of having unidentified or unsupported difficulties with speech, language or communication starts with low test scores at school which could lead to low results when taking GCSEs meaning that Higher Education or Further Education opportunities are greatly reduced. The emotional and social effect of having any speech, language and communication delays or disorders could include the child or young person being socially unaccepted, or at least feeling that way, which could lead to him/her being or feeling isolated and unable to relate to others. He/she will internally if not externally lack self confidence and have low self esteem, having a low self perceived quality of life compared to his/her peers which could lead to being bullied or being the bully him/herself as well as many other unwanted behaviours.

ICAN who are a charity that focuses on speech, language and communication needs in children, published the results of the 2014-15 report by the Department for Education stating that children in the EYFS performed better in communication and language than they had done previously “80.3% achieved at least the expected level in this learning area” which means that more children are being helped however, the charity go on to highlight that, as a country, a “fifth of children did not achieve expected levels” which means that there is still work to be done.

Both quotes from ICAN [online] Available htttp://www.ican.org.uk/What_is_the_issue/Latest%20policy%20and%20research/A-fifth-of-children-in-the-early-years-arent-reaching-expected-levels.aspx (20 Jan 2016)

However, it’s not all bad news, early identification works! The ICAN website alone cites two case studies where early identification and support have turned the lives around for both Matty, who has a severe language disorder and Reama, who has a son with SLCN. The introduction more observations and assessments carried out from birth throughout a child’s life into adulthood many speech, language and communication issues are being identified and the children and young people duly supported. ICAN [online] Available http://www.ican.org.uk/What_is_the_issue/Case%20Studies.aspx (20 Jan 2016)

In conclusion, a person’s ability to communicate effectively is pivotal to achieving their full potential and becoming a positive and valued part of our society. In a report by The Communication Council they cite “Every £1 spent on enhanced speech, language and language therapy generates £6.43 through increased lifetime earnings” (The Communication Council (2014) “Children and Young People’s Speech, Language and Communication Needs – an introduction for health audiences Last updated September 2014”) which confirms that early detection and intervention is the key to ensuring a positive outcome because the sooner needs are identified the earlier they can be acted on and solutions be found which is beneficial for the individual personally and society as a whole.

 

Question 4.2: Explain how multi agency teams work together to support speech, language and communication.

A child or young person’s speech, language and communication are core areas of development because they have the potential to impact on other areas such as his/her reading, writing and spelling, his/her ability to make new friends, socialise and interact with others and his/her understanding of concepts and ideas. It is, therefore, important to identify any areas of concern as soon as possible, come up with strategies to tackle the issues and then put them into action.

Multi agency working’ just means that different services, agencies and teams of professionals and staff are working together to improve a child or young person’s development.

For example, if a health visitor or GP recognizes a speech or language issue when a child is brought in for one of his/her regular check-ups such as, if the child’s speech is unclear, different or non-existent compared to the expected communication milestones of children of his/her age, then he/she would be identified as having a Speech, Language and Communication Need (SLCN) and a referral would be made. If, on the other hand, a SLCN becomes apparent when a child or young person has already started school then the setting’s SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) will be informed of the issues highlighted by the his/her class teachers and would put immediate preliminary interventions into place while the LEA are informed and the relevant services contacted.

The Local Education Authority (LEA) has the ultimate responsibility for appointing the relevant Special Educational Needs service but they are able to appoint their own SEN services or those from the statutory, private or voluntary sectors which gives the LEA greater flexibility and opportunities to support the child or young person in question.

Support is carried out wherever is most appropriate to the child or young person’s needs, which could be an early years setting like his/her nursery, his/her primary or secondary school or the local clinic. Every setting has an appointed Speech and Language Therapist who is responsible for supporting children and young people with those needs in that setting. Their objective is to work with the SENCOs to make sure speech and language needs are met and that staff are appropriately prepared to support these pupils.

Wiltshire’s Speech and Language Team (SALT) are a large team of qualified and registered speech and language therapists and assistants who work all across Wiltshire in schools, pre-schools, specialist nurseries, nurseries, children centres, health centres and hospitals. Firstly, they assess the identified child or young person using observation, play assessment, discussion and formal tests and then they create an individual plan for him/her and suggest supporting activities to teachers, parents and carers that promote the child’s speech and language development. The therapist will then arrange appointments at set intervals to carry out the therapy sessions for example, some children have their therapy sessions in school hours which is co-ordinated between the SENCO and SALT. Time out of class will be given to the child who will then learn different techniques in speech, language and communication. Teaching assistants and any specialist support staff will be part of his/her ILP and be instructed by the SALT therapist and class teacher on how to utilize these interventions until the next therapist lead SALT session.

It is also the responsibility of the appointed SEN Service to liaise between the school setting and the NHS, although it is the LEA who is ultimately responsible for carrying out assessments, maintaining and producing Statements of Special Educational Needs (SSENs).

Wiltshire LEA have appointed Action for Children to run their Parent Partnership Service (PPS) to liaise with parents and carers, to give support and be there for parents to voice their concerns, opinions, etc. it is the job of the Parent Partnership Officers (PPO) to give parents advice and any information when requested.

So, in conclusion, the people who know the child or young person well are the ones best placed to help develop a child’s communication skills on a regular basis and intervention and support does not have to be solely delivered by a speech and language therapist but it’s when parents and professionals work together that the best outcomes are achieved for the child or young person.

 

Question 4.3: Explain how play and activities are used to support the development of speech, language and communication.

As an adult, being able to communicate is an integral part of life, so developing good communication with a wide spectrum of language skills and comprehensible speech is a vital part of any child’s growth. It is important that opportunities are created for the child or young person to actually use language and that situations are generated where he/she can build upon their existing word base as an expanding and every growing vocabulary is key, not only at the early stages of development but continually throughout life

Various activities that enable this speech, language and communication development may already be part of a child’s daily routine, without even realising it. For example, when his/her mother reads with them, when they play “cars” or “dollies” with their sibling, when a friend comes over and they play “dressing up” or sing some favourite nursery rhymes in the car with Daddy, it all stimulates conversation and creates opportunities for vocabulary growth.

At first a young child will learn simple words purely through copying the adults around them, for example a father continually saying “da-da” to a baby will encourage baby to copy the sound “da-da”, and this can be built upon later to develop into the word “daddy”. Consistently repeating words and regularly using word associations such as “Look – cow says “mooo” say “moo” is a simple activity that most carers do naturally when with a young child but the premise is valid for any age.

Singing songs and rhymes such as “The Wheels on The Bus” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” have been proved useful tools to help children and young people with speech difficulties, for example, lisps, stammers, etc. The simple tunes, repetitive words and basic sentence formation not only encourages children to listen but also seems to create a more relaxed frame of mind that is more open and receptive to exercise those sounds that present a problem which in turn goes towards building the child’s confidence.

Art such as play dough, drawing, colouring, painting, cutting and sticking etc. can generate opportunities for both general conversation and specific topic discussion. For example, asking the child to create a specific number of play dough sausages to put onto a laminated frying pan can reinforce language needed for Numeracy work, or cutting out paper petals to create a sunflower can support science topic work. Art can also create an outlet for a child or young person to express him or herself in a non-verbal way if language skills or vocabulary is limited.

Books are so versatile that they are a useful resource for children and young people of any age or ability and the tasks that can be created around them are just as numerous. For example, some picture books have no words or just one word per page that means that the adult can lead the conversation, building on any vocabulary that the child or young person uses or encouraging imaginative conversation about what’s happening in the pictures. Some books have further dimensions to engage the child or young person such as pull tabs, lights, buzzers, music, pop-ups which helps keep his/her concentration on the book. Using simple stories like “The Enormous Turnip” as a base can generate many activities to support the development of speech, language and communication from simply enacting the story during a group role-play session to creating individual storyboards using software like SymWriter which can be read more easily because of the symbol/word association or prompt. Books are so versatile that they are a useful resource for children and young people of any age or ability and the tasks created around them are just as it is

Playing games like snap, “Pop-up-pirate”, snakes & ladders or “Simon Says” can open new and fun opportunities for practising those tricky words or sounds, for example, when playing “Jenga” every time the child correctly pronounces “th” he/she gets to take away a block. Blowing bubbles not only helps with a child’s lip/mouth formation for phonic sounds such as “wh” and “ff” but it can also be used for games like chase the bubble, pop the bubble or the ever popular bubble obstacle course, where you have to blow the bubble through different shapes and colours, e.g. a ‘round’ blue hoop, a ‘square’ yellow hoop, a ‘triangle’ green hoop, etc.

Taking part in sport, such as football, swimming or gymnastics or simply throwing and catching a ball or Frisbee will encourage speech because communication between the players is a necessary part of team games!

So, in conclusion, play and other activities are a very useful way to support a child or young person’s speech, language and communication development because they not only provide opportunities for conversation and building on his/her vocabulary but usually, he/she is having too much fun to realise that they’re working!


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Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693) Part 3

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

Unit 1: Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693)

Learning Criterea: Understand how to monitor children and young people’s development and interventions that should take place if this is not following the expected pattern.

 

Question 3.1: Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods.

Children and young people’s development are monitored and recorded from birth. I am mother to two girls and received a Personal Child Health Record book from my local health authority (South Wiltshire Primary Care NHS Trust) shortly after each birth. The book is an ongoing personal log that detailed; her birth particulars, i.e. her birth weight, length, head circumference, hip examination, general examination and the health visitor’s initial assessment when her fontanelles (the positioning/condition of the plates in her skull), eyes, palate, umbilicus, genitalia, muscle tone, skin, feeding and sleeping patterns were checked and the subsequent follow up reviews at 6-8 weeks old, 6-9 months old, 18-24 months old and 3-3½ years old using check boxes for her weight, length, head circumference, feeding patterns, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, vision, hearing, speech/language, behaviour, physical examination, hips, genitalia and heart rhythm with extra sections at the back of the book to chart the physical growth, i.e. her length/height and her weight. A further section at the back is for noting when and which immunisations she received and any consultations with medical professionals about any developmental issues/concerns and the outcomes.

Children and young people’s academic development is continually monitored once they start their academic journeys by way of teacher assessments and the statuary SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) which are formal tests set out by the Department for Education taken at the end of Key Stage 2 (pupils in Year 2), Key Stage 3 (pupils in Year 6) and Key Stage 4 (pupils in Year 9) and are used to show a child or young person’s progress compared to his/her peers. In the setting that I currently work in we use this opportunity during SATs week to test all of the pupils in the school from Year 1 to Year 6 leaving only those in our Reception class being informally monitored by the class teacher and teaching assistants.

In a school setting written records or observations are a good way to get a snap-shot of development and usually only need a pen and piece of paper (or in my case a pencil and a pad of post-it notes in my pocket). Observations are written in the present tense, e.g. she is drawing a picture, so that it reads like a running commentary. A “structured observation” of a pre-set task e.g. watching a child paint a picture or a “naturalistic observation” where you are just writing down everything that is happening spontaneously, i.e. something that the child is doing that interests you, or observations can be a “Focus/Target observation” of a particular child which looks at what he/she does over a session or set amount of time. Focus or Target observations are sometimes called “pre-coded observations” as they use widely agreed codes rather than writing longhand, e.g. A=Adult, C=Child, T.C.=Target child, Sol=solitary, etc.

An “Event Sample” is also a form of observation that can be used to track a specific type of behaviour, e.g. how much a child talks, cries, eats, chooses to be alone, etc. over a longer period of time and only needs a pen and a prepared chart to carry out.

Another form of observation is a “Time Sample”. Observers need a pen, a prepared chart and a watch and record what happens at set times during a session, e.g. what a child does every 15 minutes during an afternoon at school.

Pre-designed checklists and tick charts are quick and easy ways to monitor progress against expected milestones, for example, Count to 10, cut a piece of paper with scissors, throw a ball, write his/her name, add three digit number, etc.

To monitor a child over a much longer period of time, i.e. weeks or months, would require a “Longitude/Diary Study”, these contain lots of observations performed over the agreed period.

“Sociograms” are not observations but are charts that show who children choose to interact with and can be carried out any number of times to track a child’s social development. This method can only be used for school aged children as it works by asking each child in a class to name three other children that they enjoy playing with the most.

So, in conclusion there are many way in which a child or young person’s development can be monitored throughout their life from birth to adulthood, from formal statuary testing to informal observations and all are helpful ways to either lower the chance of developmental delays for those children or young adults who are already at risk or prevent children or young adults from becoming at risk in the first place.

 

Question 3.2: Explain the reasons why children and young people’s development may not follow the expected pattern.

A child or young person’s development may not always follow the expected pattern due to any number of emotional, healthiness, physical, cultural, environmental, social or family reasons. The issue could be just a temporary situation that results in a short term dip like being off school for a while because of an illness like chicken pox, a change in his/her diet, the upheaval of moving to a new house, a parent or carer changing his/her employment or the birth of a new sibling, alternatively the explanation could be based on a longer term issue that requires more permanent solutions to enable the child or young person to continue his/her development but frequently it is his/her family situation that will determine whether these situations cause a change in his/her development pattern.

If a child or young person is not developing in the expected pattern the reason could be based on a number of inter-related family, environmental, social or cultural factors. For example, the area in which the child or young person’s lives in could be impoverished which could affect the quality of their family home that he/she lives in and the ability of his/her parents to provide both financially and be able to spend quality time with him/her.

If a child or young person has a condition that affects his/her development in one or more of the five key areas (i.e. Social, Physical, Intelligence, Communication and Emotional) then their progress from birth to adulthood will not follow the expected pattern. For example if the child has a medical condition that affects any of his/her senses, such as loss or reduction of hearing then this will make learning how to talk and being able to correctly articulate the phonic sounds of speech problematic or even impossible or loss or reduction of sight then this will impact being unable to see and copy the written word or read much more arduous. If a child or young person is born or contracts an illness that effects the physical body like Asthma, Sickle Cell Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Allergies, Cystic Fibrosis, etc. it will, in some cases slow or completely impede his/her ability to learn how to be in control of their own body which impacts everything from sitting up and generally learning how to move around his/her environment, to holding a pencil and being able to draw or write or being able to feed his/herself and so all this hinders their progress towards independence. If a child or young person has any disorders such as Autism, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyspraxia, etc. their capability to learn how to communicate and interact effectively with their environment and others will be outside of the “usual” pattern too.

A child or young person could be identified as ‘Able, Gifted or Talented’. ‘Gifted’ refers to a child or young person who has abilities in one or more academic subjects, such as English or maths and ‘Talented’ refers to a child or young person who has skills in a practical area such as music, sport or art, which means that he/she has an increased potential to achieve in that area or is achieving at a substantially higher level above the rest of his/her. For example, my eldest daughter was given extra mathematical work at a secondary school level while still in primary school to continue her academic development, however her development in other areas remained consistent to her peers.

So, in conclusion, although every child and young person is an individual and achieves known developmental ‘milestones’ at their own pace, there is also a myriad of extra reasons why his/her social, physical, intellectual, language or emotional development may not follow the expected patterns.

 

Question 3.3: Explain how disability may affect development.

A “disability” is described as a medical condition, be it mental or physical, which results in a person’s inability, or makes it difficult, for him/her to perform daily tasks and are generally categorised into either learning disabilities or physical disabilities. In either category a disability means something that limits a child or young person’s ability to do day to day activities for example eating, walking or just talking to those around him/her. It could include problems with sight, hearing, speech, memory or mobility but it doesn’t actually have to be a permanent condition a disability can also be an illness like cancer or a mental health problem that comes and goes but whatever disability a child or young person has it will affect his/her development to some degree and potentially his/her ability to achieve expected milestones within model timeframes.

For example, a child or young person with a sensory impairment such as loss of partial or total hearing will find it difficult to learn how to talk because they are unable to correctly copy the sounds around them. He/she may exhibit delayed language, have slow reactions and delays when following spoken instructions, have to repeatedly verify what to do, he/she may have emotional or hostile outbursts due to frustration and find it difficult in social situations so to remove these barriers and assist in his/her development a hearing aid could be prescribed or visual communication such as “Makaton” could be used by him/her and those around them or he/she could learn to lip read or use sign language to improve his/her communication skills.

A child or young person with a medical condition such as a form of muscular dystrophy will not have the motor control to achieve some of the physical milestones like progressing from crawling to walking because the repeated actions to stimulate the learning process cannot take place due to the blocked pathways from the child’s muscles to the brain, this means that equipment such as wheelchairs may be helpful, regular physiotherapy sessions to stimulate improved mobility and re-organising their environment could all reduce the impact on the child’s development.

Cerebral palsy is another medical condition that affects movement, posture and co-ordination which means that progressing through the physical milestones may be more problematic. For example, a baby with cerebral palsy may not master feeding for him/herself, a toddler may not be able to move from wearing nappies to toilet training until he/she is much older or a child may not be able to walk without the aid of walking sticks, a walking frame or a wheelchair. A child or young person with this disability may only be affected physically while others could be affected by seizures, epilepsy or difficulties with speech and language meaning that his/her cognitive development would also need extra support.

A child or young person with a specific learning disability means that he/she shows problems in learning in one particular area of development. For example, a pupil with dyslexia would find it difficult to acquire literacy skills meaning that they would find it hard to learn to read and write and a pupil with dyscalculia has difficulties in acquiring numeracy skills which means that they would find it hard to recognise numbers, organise numbers and differentiate between numeric and non-numeric characters, for example 4 and $. In both cases a child or young person with learning disabilities may become frustrated, exhibit challenging behavioural and become disinterested in learning which of course will impede not only their intellectual development but could impact their communication and social development too.
Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) cover a wide range of communication, social and emotional difficulties including Asperger Syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) from severe mental impairment to slight problems with social interaction. A child or young person with ASD will have difficulties in relating to other people, he/she is not naturally empathetic meaning that he/she does not understand the feelings, thoughts and needs of others although he/she can learn to simulate this over time with support. He/she may appear indifferent to others and may have difficulties with communication, both using verbal and non-verbal language themselves and recognising it in others which can not only affect his/her communication and social development but has a knock on effect on their listening and comprehension skills. A child or young person with ASD may feel frustrated, lonely and cut off from society and either become withdrawn or exhibit explosive behaviours.

Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition that typically causes some level of learning disability due to the extra chromosome and leaves the child or young person with characteristic physical features such as; eyes that slant upwards and outwards, a small mouth with a protruding tongue, a flat back of the head and many babies born with Down’s syndrome are likely to have had a below-average weight and length at birth. The differences in the structure of his/her brain and how it develops means that a number of basic information processing skills needed to achieve some cognitive and linguistic milestones are adversely affected. This could mean that a child with Down’s syndrome may take longer than other children their age to learn how to tie their shoes, to remember their address and he/she may exhibit delayed speech and language.

So, in conclusion the social, physical, intellectual, language and emotional development of a child or young person with a disability may not follow the expected patterns. He/she may not be able to concentrate like their peers, he/she may find that they tire easily or becomes frustrated if they are unable to complete tasks as quickly or as well as they would have hoped to. If a child or young person takes medication, this may also have an effect on their physical or cerebral abilities and behaviour. A child or young person with a learning or physical disability may be subjected to prejudice or discrimination at school because he/she is being treated differently than the rest of the children, this could lead to bullying or ridicule by other pupils which will affect his/her self-confidence and will in turn affect their readiness to learn.

 

Question 3.4: Explain how different types of interventions can promote positive outcomes for children and young people where development is not following the expected pattern

When a child or young person’s development is not following the expected pattern, there are various interventions that can be employed to encourage positive outcomes, such as social workers, youth justice workers and psychiatrists.

Each Local Education Authority will have a number of early intervention services, teams, programmes and resources at their disposal, such as nursing, nutritional and medical services, different therapists, for example occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and counsellors as well as respite services and training for those family members who support a child or young person who needs extra help.

Wiltshire’s LEA have created support services specifically for schools and settings in their area to utilise that not only suggest successful strategies but will also offer coaching, mentoring, training for teaching staff and can themselves work directly with any pupils who have been identified as having a need.

The Sensory Impairment Service help pupils with vision or hearing impairments and the Children’s Disability Services support children with physical difficulties, both of these teams report that a tidy environment and enough room to move around safely, will help a child with physical and/or sensory difficulties, basic strategies include allowing him/her time to complete a given task, creating plenty of opportunities for them to be independent and using special aids and equipment such as hearing aids, Braille resources, ramps, audio descriptive programmes, wheelchairs and handrails, etc. will encourage participation and generate an inclusive environment.

The Primary Behaviour Support Service support pupils with social, emotional and behaviour difficulties and using rewards for expected behaviour and sanctions for inappropriate behaviour is a common strategy, however, to achieve a successful intervention other strategies should be used in conjunction with this and they should be used consistently at home as well as at the setting.

The Speech and Language Therapy Service (SALT) assist where pupils have communication difficulties and some basic strategies that they promote include; creating enough opportunities for the pupil to talk and participate in conversations, repeating any mispronounced words back correctly and playing games that encourage speech such as “the posting game” where the child picks up a card that is face down, pronounces the phonic sound written on it, tries to say a word that has the sound in it and then posts the card into a post-box.

Specialist SEN Support Service (SENSS) can support pupils with intellectual, cognitive and learning difficulties. Strategies to promote development include regular TEACH box sessions, repetitive songs with actions, allowing him/her to work at their own pace and devising individual achievable tasks for them to undertake will all help to develop a pupil who is found to experience problems thinking and understanding.

Within every educational setting there is the Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO), usually a teacher who is responsible for special educational needs at the school. The SENCO works with the other teachers, support staff, any external LEA team and the parents to make sure that a child or young person with special educational needs get the right support and the help they need while at school.

In conclusion, it seems to be agreed by most of the people working in schools that I have spoken to, that their pupils with developmental delays have been helped with one-to-one specialist teaching or assistance, support and/or specially designed educational programmes or resources but I have no doubt that it is early detection and intervention that is the key to success when a child is not developing as expected. Successful interventions are tailor made to each child or young person; however, all seem to have commonalities such as being patient, giving positive encouragement, recognising and praising effort as well as achievement and giving him/her the opportunities to be independent and to successfully complete tasks. Allowing each pupil to reach his/her potential and creating the opportunity to experience learning in a positive way will generate a happy child/ young person with a healthy level of confidence and self esteem which as essential for development in all SPICE areas (i.e. Social, Physical, Intellectual, Communication and Emotional).


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Book Review – One Wish In Paris by Mandy Baggot

Hello Lovely Followers,

I’ve just realised that although I read this fantastic back in December, I forgot to post my full review! See it’s an age thing – pre-menopausal women tend to forget stuff. Lol!

Anyway, enjoy my review and (hopefully) be inspired to buy this wonderful book!

One Christmas In Paris

By Mandy Baggot

So, here’s the official blurb;

They say Paris is the City of Love, so bring your je ne sais quoi and don’t forget the mistletoe!

Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold and the scent of spiced wine is all around, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.

Debs is on a mission to make Ava smile again, and as they tour the Christmas markets, watch lamplight glittering on the river Seine, and eat their body weight in pain-au-chocolat, Ava remembers there’s more to life than men … Until they cross paths with handsome, mysterious photographer Julien with his French accent and hazelnut eyes that seem to see right inside her.

Ava can’t ignore the intense chemistry between them, but her fingers have been burned before and she can’t forget it, especially when her ex, Leo, starts texting again. Can Ava really trust Julien – and what exactly is his secret?

Will Ava go home with a broken heart, or will she find true love amongst the cobbled streets of Paris?

Join Ava and Julien in the most romantic city in the world this Christmas, as they discover the importance of being true to themselves, and learn how to follow their hearts.

I Read It: 9th – 12th December 2016

In Which Format: Kindle

Approx Length: 394 pages

My Goodreads Rating:  5 Stars

This is in the contemporary romance genre – affectionately known “chick lit”. It’s a standalone story with Ms Baggot’s trademark HEA (Happily Ever After) ending.

So, what kept me reading?

I’m already a fan of Ms Baggot’s books; her writing style is very easy to read, her plotlines are well thought out and she has a way of creating characters that I connect to.

I loved the depth with which Ms Baggot wrote our two main characters, Eva and Julien in this book; their quirks, fears and hopes made them come to life for me. But, like so many of Ms Baggot’s books, this story isn’t just about Eva and Julien and their romance, we have intermingled storylines and a cast of supporting characters that adds a further splash of realism to this tale’s world without the plot feeling confusing or over-burdened.

So is this a page turner, did the story keep me guessing? The journey had twists and emotional turns a plenty due to the different stories running alongside our main romantic one (e.g. Eva and Deb’s secret reason for being in Paris, Julien’s relationship with his family, etc). Plus the fact that this story is set around Christmas time means that we (the reader) are already in the literary mood to want and easily accept that romance is in the air.

So, were there any downsides?

Nope.

In a nutshell…

This is a wonderful, feel good contemporary romance novel – perfect reading at Christmas or any time of year! I loved this book!

There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this story. I was completely engaged with this book, it’s a real page turner, and yes, I did laugh out loud at some of Deb’s comments but if you’re anything like me you’ll shed a few tears along the way too.

I think that this is a wonderful standalone contemporary romance with Ms Baggot’s signature HEA. What more could a girl want! I think fans of romance (with a capital R) and relationship stories of all ages would enjoy this book.

Links to be helpful:

Visit MANDY BAGGOT’S own website

See ONE CHRISTMAS IN PARIS on Goodreads.com

Buy ONE CHRISTMAS IN PARIS on Amazon.co.uk


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Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693) Part 2

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

 Unit 1: Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693)

 Learning Criterea: Understand the factors that influence children and young people’s development and how these affect practice.

 

Question 2.1: Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors.

Progress through birth to adulthood can be broken down into five key areas of development; social development, physical development, intellectual development, communicational or language development and emotional development but how a child or young person progresses within the key areas of development can be influenced, either positively or negatively, by an assortment of factors that are personal to them.

The individual nature of every child or young person’s genetic makeup epitomises this fact. For example, a child’s bone structure will determine their build and height which in turn could hinder or help them when learning how to walk meaning that they may either exceed expectations by missing the “crawling” stage, possibly in later life becoming natural sprinters or long distance runners or on the other side of the coin that they require more time or extra support to achieve milestones concerning physical movement and his/her ability to travel around their environment.

A child or young person’s genetics can determine whether he/she has any disabilities, (of course physical disabilities can also occur as a result of an accident thus becoming an external factor that influences his/her development), for example loss of sight or hearing will affect most aspects of a child or young person’s development because being able to communicate effectively is a primary tool when learning.

Many medical conditions including Down’s syndrome and Cerebral Palsy are passed down through genetics and will undoubtedly influence whether a child or young person can achieve the “accepted milestones” within the expected timeframes. Down’s syndrome is a condition that affects a child and young person’s brain development, impeding his/her physical growth and their ability to acquire knowledge using reasoning, intuition or perception and a child or young person with cerebral palsy will have restrictive physical movement, meaning that, in both examples, the child or young person will require extra support and considerations for day to day activities. Other medical conditions such as epilepsy which affects the brain and causes seizures and needs medication or asthma which affect breathing and also needs medication might make it challenging for a child or young person to join in with physical activities. The acceptance of a child or young person with these differences by his/her peers and family will also influence their social, communication and language development.

It is still a hot topic of discussion among psychologists as to how much of a child’s personality is pre-programmed at conception, as Saul McLeod puts it “in recent years there has been a growing realization that the question of “how much” behaviour is due to heredity and “how much” to the environment may itself be the wrong question” (McLeod, S. A. ‘Nature vs Nurture in Psychology’ 2007 [online] Available http://www.simplypsychology.org/naturevsnurture.html (14 Jan 2015) if we assume that a portion of a child or young person’s personality is genetic, this means that his/her levels of creativity, motivation and their ability to concentrate would all affect how they think, go about solving problems, how he/she actually learns and understands new information, to all intents and purposes, this genetic pre-condition would influence their whole intellectual development.

A child or young person with any form of learning difficulties for example dyspraxia (which affects his/her coordination), dyslexia (which affects his/her reading, writing and spelling) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (which affects his/her concentration, levels of restlessness and impulsiveness) will find it hard to learn new things, may find communication problematic and may not be able to cope with things independently which could mean that he/she often feels frustrated and subsequently become aggressive when he/she is unable to succeed or get the support that’s needed. Having said that, the general intelligence (I.Q.) of a child or young person is not affected by having a learning difficulty, but his/her life experience, their family and home life and the support that they receive throughout their development will affect their potential.

So, in conclusion, children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors throughout their formative years from birth to adulthood including their health and personal characteristics such as their level of motivation and behaviour. It is usually when these personal issues have a negative effect on a child or young person’s development that steps are taken to reduce the impact.

Question 2.2: Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of external factors.

How a child or young person progresses through the key development areas is also influenced by a number of external factors, in other words, aspects of their life that they have no control over or situations into which they are born into.

A child or young person’s family is the primary source of support and subsequent life experience from the very beginning so is a major influence on all areas of his/her development.

The external factors affecting a child or young person’s physical growth and development are numerous. Starting with what happens to him/her while they are growing inside their mother’s womb, factors such as whether their mother takes drugs, smokes, eats a poor unbalanced diet or drinks excess alcohol, if there are difficulties during the actual birth or a low birth weight for example caused by prematurity then a baby is likely to exhibit physical developmental delays as he/she is not fully developed when they are born which has the potential to have far reaching implications as he/she gets older. Once they are born a child or young person’s physical development is influenced by factors such as where he/she grows up, their diet, if he/she suffers any accidents, infections (including repeated infections to his/her ears, which could permanently affect their hearing or to his/her chest which could affect their ability to breath for the rest of his/her life) or diseases such as measles or whooping cough.

A child or young person’s communication and language development could be affected if, for example, as a baby he/she was left alone for prolonged periods of time and not spoken to. This could lead to him/her exhibiting delayed language by the time they reach nursery or school. Another external factor that could cause communication and language delays is if a child or young person is having to learn more than one language at a time, for example if the language used at home by his/her parents is different from the language being spoken outside the home (e.g. school, nursery, etc) and in some cases regularly experiencing another language as part of their culture or religion, then that child or young person may be slightly slower in learning to talk and communicate.

A child or young person’s cognitive development is also closely linked to his/her language skills. During the first five years of life a child is unable to keep his/her thoughts inside – they always say what they’re thinking! This means that if a child has language delay he/she may also show signs of impediment in their conceptual, theoretical and abstract development. A child or young person with sensory impairments may also experience setbacks in his/her cognitive development because it’s through his/her five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) that they bring in information about the world around them. If a child or young person does not have a stimulating environment that inspires him/her to seek out knowledge, to ask questions, to test his/her limitations this may also cause a delay as their brains are not given the right stimulus to grow and learn. It is just as important to continually stimulate an over achieving child or young person as one who struggles to achieve the expected milestones.

The family’s situation may establish whether a child or young person leads a healthy lifestyle, meaning a good balanced diet, regular exercise and plenty of quality sleep.

The social and cultural backgrounds can determine how much support he/she will receive or what expectations are put on them. Financial prosperity plays a major role in a child’s life as this determines where he/she lives, their standard of living and potential expected life experiences. For example which nursery, primary & secondary schools they go to. Whether further education at college or university level is expected or even considered.

So, in conclusion, a child or young person’s development is influenced by a range of external factors throughout their formative years from birth to adulthood including their family, home circumstances and their community environment. It is usually when these issues have a negative effect on his/her development that steps are taken to reduce the impact.

 

Question 2.3: Explain how theories of development and frameworks to support development influence current practice

There have always been those who seek out to understand the human condition and ask the questions “why?” and “how?” I believe that all the modern theories of development can find their beginnings with the great Greek thinkers of the ancient past. For example, Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC) was the first to ask the questions “What is knowledge?” and “How is knowledge acquired?” believing that everything should be questioned and nothing should be taken for granted and Aristotle (384 – 322BC) developed his own theories of development including the theory of “Learning Characteristics” which divides people into one of three groups; theoretical, practical and technical. These great thinkers are still influencing our lives today, “Philosophy For Children (P4C)” has been introduced in some primary schools (including the school that I work in).

Extensive research into human development has been carried out over the last couple of centuries, building on these first ancient theories, by people such Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) who scaffolded his theory of the conscious and subconscious mind and developed “psychoanalysis”. Carl Jung (1875 – 1961), a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology sometimes called Jungian psychology built on Aristotle’s “Learning Characteristics” and concluded that there are, in fact, eight character types, it is Carl Jung’s research that is the basis of many psychometric tests i.e. personality tests, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Assessment, used today by many businesses both when employing new staff and training them.

There are many scientists, psychologists and highly regarded teaching professionals who specifically studied how children learn and they devised their own theories about child development and the best way to encourage children to reach their potential.

Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel (1782 -1852) recognised that every child has unique needs and aptitudes; Froebel was one of the first educators to see how important play is in developing children’s thinking and learning and founded the first kindergartens to nurture hands-on experience for young children which are still valued today as we can see in nursery schools and primary school classrooms, e.g. role play area.

Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was an Austrian philosopher who created “Waldorf Education” from his philosophy of anthroposophy which views the teacher as having “a sacred task in helping each child’s soul and spirit grow” (Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship) and the inclusion of National Curriculum subjects (albeit non-statuary) such as Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) confirms the importance that a child’s spiritual development is now given.

Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980) who’s Theory of Cognitive Development outlines his four stages of development (i. sensorimotor, ii. preoperational, iii. concrete operations and iv. formal operations) and most importantly that a child’s thinking and learning is an active process rather than one of passive absorption.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904 – 1990) was an American behaviour psychologist who concluded that all thinking and learning is based on a response to rewards or reprimands and that effective teaching requires the learner to respond to what each piece of information being imparted presents and to get feedback on their performance before going on to the next piece of information. It is currently common “best practice” for educational settings use positive re-enforcements and rewards to encourage learning.

Jerome Seymour Bruner (1915 -) is an American psychologist who actively promotes the importance of learning through play and language to a child’s growth and how they often build on the information they have already mastered, calling it “scaffolding”. Early Years education is very much about learning through play; fun activities, games and role play.

Dr Judith Rapoport a child psychiatrist at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Washington DC, carried out research into “The Teenage Brain” in 1999. Her resulting conclusions included proof that there is another growth of grey matter in the thinking part of the brain and there is also a “dieing off” period in the frontal cortex during and after puberty which has lead to further studies and research into this area of teenage development. This new research will no doubt lead to a need by governments to reassess how adolescents are educated in the future.

One of my favourite cognitive theorists is Dr Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) who was the first woman to qualify as a medical doctor in Italy and it is her scientific background that underlies the design of the Montessori materials and her belief in the importance of observation and her creation of an approach to education that focuses on children’s natural desire to learn and a their enormous capacity to learn when provided with the right environment and the appropriate materials and under the guidance of a watchful, caring teacher. She began her work with supposedly “un-teachable” children and the poor in Rome but her success has meant that the Montessori Method has travelled around the world supported by psychologists and educationalists alike. The Montessori Method is so successful that we can see many of them within the English government’s “Early Years Foundation Stage” framework such as providing organised play as a means of promoting specific skills and concepts and observing children as a key tool for promoting their learning and development. In fact, a student will be observed and his/her progress recorded throughout their entire academic life.

Current practice in any English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish educational setting is affected by curriculum frameworks for education. Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) is the non-ministerial government department that inspects and regulates care for children and young people which means that the inspectors, editors, IT specialists, policy advisers, data analysts, accountants and administrators are not appointed by the governing political party. Ofsted also inspects education and training for learners of all ages making sure that The National Curriculum, Early Years Foundation Stage Learning Goals and all current legislations, guidelines and frameworks are being followed. Initially known for its role in inspecting state schools, Ofsted not only inspects state schools but also inspects further education settings, local authority children’s services, teacher training institutions and some independent schools. During 2001, Ofsted became responsible for inspecting all 16-to-19 education and for regulating Early Years childcare, including childminders.

A National Curriculum framework was introduced into England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a nationwide programme for primary and secondary state schools following the Education Reform Act 1988 to ensure that all children receive the same minimum standard of education. The subjects include; Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, Music, ICT, Design & Technology, Art & Design, Modern Foreign Language (MFL), Physical Education (PE) and social studies e.g. Citizenship, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE). The National Curriculum is under constant review, indeed the most recent review, began in January 2011 to ensure that going forward, it should “embody rigour and high standards and create coherence in what is taught in schools; ensure all children have the opportunity to acquire a core of essential knowledge in the key subject disciplines and beyond that core, to allow teachers the freedom to use their professionalism and expertise to help all children realise their potential. (Wikipedia, The National Curriculum) but this curriculum framework only affects children and young people of school age and so in September 2008, the British government created the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) as part of the Childcare Act 2006, which set out statutory welfare, learning and development requirements for all children from birth to 5 year old which is also under constant review. The six areas covered by the EYFS are; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication, Language and Literacy, Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy, Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Physical Development and finally Creative Development. This means that a primary school will have to follow the EYFS framework for pupils in reception classes and National Curriculum for the rest of the school from Year 1 upwards.

All educational settings also have to comply with the SEN Framework and OFSTED are the body who ensure this. The SEN Framework is there to support a child or young person in school who has ‘special educational needs’ (SEN) which means that he/she has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most other children and young people of about the same age. The SEN Framework was changed on 1st September 2014 and Statements of SEN/Statutory Assessments were replaced by Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans/assessments.

So, in conclusion, the cognitists, behaviourists, humanists, constructivists and all those theories in between give us a great foundation or starting block when creating the best way to encourage, support and inspire children and young people to develop to their full potential and the various frameworks that have been created and are continually reviewed are there to assist all educational settings, both the leaders, teaching and support staff to ensure that their day to day activities mirrors the current best practice guidelines that will lead to the children and young people in their care having the opportunity to grow.


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Understand Child and Young Person Development (L/601/1693) Part 1

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

Learning Criteria: Understand the expected pattern of development for children and young people from birth to 19 years old.

QUESTION 1.1: Explain the sequence and rate of each aspect of development from birth – 19 years:

When we talk about development in children and young people, we are describing the growth of their skills and knowledge as well as the physical changes of their bodies. This progress through birth to adulthood can be divided into five aspects. “Social Development” which is how they interact with others, “Physical Development” which tracks their gross and fine motor skills as well as how their bodies change and grow, “Intellectual Development” meaning their cognitive or memory skills and how they learn, “Communicational Development” which means how they develop their language skills and finally “Emotional Development” this is how they deal with their feelings and how they express them.

Placed within these areas of development are significant skills that indicate a certain level of competency called “milestones”. The order in which these milestones are achieved forms a basic pattern common to all of us; for example, a child will usually learn how to stand first before he/she is able to walk and once confident at walking he/she builds on this skill to learn how to run. Another example of developmental sequencing is before a child can draw a recognisable picture he/she has to learn how to hold a crayon and what pressures and movements are needed to make marks on a piece of paper.  You could describe the general patterns of development as from head to toe, beginning at the top of the body and gradually moving downwards. From inner to outer meaning firstly gaining control of muscles close to the trunk/head and then moving outwards, so that the large muscles in the shoulders and upper arms and thighs are first and the extremities (fingers and toes) last. From simple to complex, for example children progress from uncomplicated words to elaborate sentences and from general to specific for example, emotional responses involve the whole body in young babies but may only involve the face in an older child.

Through continued study psychologists, scientists and professionals, such as Mary Sheridan, have given us guides to the general ages at which a child or young person will achieve developmental milestones; however, it is important to remember that as each child is an individual the precise rate at which he/she accomplishes a particular milestone will be unique to him/her. There are many such charts available that detail these development milestones and the approximate ages that they can be expected.

In conclusion, we can see that it is during the first two years of life that a child develops the fastest. It is during this time that he/she discovers how to control their new body, experiences his/her emotions and subsequently learns how to exhibit and make use of them when needed (e.g. tantrums, etc.). A baby learns to recognise familiar faces and builds dependent relationships with those around them, as they grow he/she they learns how to communicate first by non-verbal methods (e.g. body language, facial expressions, etc.) then orally by copying and constantly repeating sounds then words he/she hears, to eventually build a wide and varied vocabulary.

A child’s individualism can be seen from birth but their independence is developed over time as his/her confidence grows and is usually linked to a foundation of successful achievements of skills and knowledge. It is during the adolescent years, from 11 years to 19 years that a young person’s independence becomes more apparent, as they journey closer to adulthood. There are also studies being carried out to find out more about brain development during those turbulent teenage years. In fact, Steve Connor the chief science editor of The Independent newspaper wrote a very eye opening piece back in 2006 about this very subject, I liked the quote he included from Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who is a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, who actually studies teenage brain development, she said “In looking at teenager behaviour, you not only have to deal with hormonal changes and changes in social life, you also have to take into account changes within the brain,” Connor goes on to discuss the study back in 1999 in America by Judith Rapoport, a child psychiatrist at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Washington DC, who studied the brain development of 145 children. The study laid much of the groundwork for the reappraisal of the teenage brain as Mary Sheridan’s 1950’s study did for the developmental “milestones” that we use today. (Connor, Steve (2006) ‘The Teenage Brain: A scientific analysis’ The Independent, Nov 4)

As we can see, it is during the whole developmental journey, that a child or young person will need to be able to master and retain skills and knowledge, be able to recall how to utilise their new skills and knowledge when subsequent situations arise and use their existing skills and knowledge as a foundation to build upon to achieve the next, usually more complex, level.

 

Question 1.2: Explain the difference between sequence of development and rate of development and why the difference is important:

The sequence of development is the basic pattern that every child is expected to go through from birth to adulthood as he/she grows and learns new skills and gains knowledge, or in other words, a child’s progression towards adulthood. The usual sequence is made up of various stages or phases, although it can be misleading to use the word “stage” as this implies a specific age at which a certain knowledge or skill is achieved and this is not always the case. Within this pattern, can be found certain developmental “milestones”, in other words significant skills or knowledge that indicate an assured level of competency, these generally agreed milestones help to plot a child’s progress through this, sometimes steep, learning curve and can be found within every aspect of development, i.e. social development, physical development, intellectual development, communicational development and emotional development. The sequence in which we learn new skills and gain knowledge is universal, for instance, a child usually learns how to make and copy sounds first before he/she is able to say any coherent words, he/she will build on that skill through practice and listening, constantly adding words to his/her vocabulary, until he/she can hold a conversation with those around him/her and be understood.

The rate of development refers to the time taken by a child to progress through this sequence or pattern of progression and as previously stated; although the sequence of development is universal the rate of development can be unique to the individual child. Teena Kamen puts it nicely when she writes “all children and young people are unique individuals and develop at their own rate” (Kamen, T (2011) Teaching Assistant’s Handbook Level 3, Hodder Education, London). In other words, the pace at which a child develops will be different for every child because it is influenced by an assortment of factors, both personal to him/her and outside of their control. For example, a child’s bone structure will determine their build and height, whether they have any physical disabilities, e.g. loss of sight or hearing, or any medical conditions are all factors that will influence how long he/she takes to achieve the expected milestones or whether he/she can attain them at all. A child’s personality is pre-programmed at conception including their levels of creativity, motivation and their ability to concentrate which could affect their intellectual development and their cognitive skills. A child’s social, emotional and language developments are influenced by his/her life experiences and their surrounding family and home life. A child or young person’s family is the primary source of support and subsequent life experience so is a major external influence on his/her development. The family’s situation may establish whether he/she leads a healthy lifestyle, e.g. balanced diet, exercise, etc. The child’s social and cultural background can determine how much support he/she will receive or what expectations are put on him/her. Financial prosperity plays a major role in a child’s life as this determines where he/she lives, their standard of living and potential expected life experiences. For example which nursery, primary & secondary schools they go to and whether further education at college or university level is expected or even considered.

So, in conclusion, it is vitally important to recognise the difference between the sequence of development and the rate of development because, unlike machines and computers, although we may grow in a similar way to each other we are all different and therefore require different needs to be able to fulfil our potential. By not recognising and considering a child’s rate of development, we could potentially cause not only short term delays in his/her development but actually create long term emotional or social problems.


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Never to old to learn

Hello lovely followers,

keep-calm-ta-purple-208x243As some of you may already know, I work as a primary school teaching assistant. I love it! I have found a career that generates oodles of job satisfaction while still fitting around my main job as a mum.

In December 2015, I decided to enrol in an online teaching assistant course to gain a recognised qualification to back up my ever growing level of experience. The qualification I chose was a N.C.F.E. Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools through De Montfort Home Study College, a wholly online college. I chose this method of study, so that I could complete the course in my own time, without the need to attend lectures at a college, while still carrying out my existing commitments to the school I work for and, of course, my wonderful family.

juggling-committmentsI’m not going to lie; it was tough. I found juggling my commitments, i.e. my job and family with researching and completing the eleven assignments very tricky. I must confess that our home has not been the most tidiest, the washing basket was always overflowing; I hardly read for pleasure and I was a hermit to all of my friends both in real life and on social media. Plus, the fact that I hadn’t undertaken such an academic project since attending school myself was daunting to say the least. My education finished before degree level, so having to source and reference information within my work was a completely alien process and new experience for me.

However…my-little-pony-cheer-party

After much sweat, tears and loads of support from my aforementioned wonderful family and friends, I have now completed and passed this course. (WooHoo!) 🙂 I now have my official certificate – a badge of honour – that will always remind me that, yes, I can do it!

I put a lot of work into my assignments and I thought that I would gradually publish my answers here on my blog to help others working their way through this qualification. I will tag each post DMC TA Course so that it’s easier for you to search this blog to find them.

The thing is, I’m hoping that that even if you’re not enrolled on a course like this, even if you don’t have kids yourself, you too could find some of the units helpful, for example, the units on child development may offer tips and insights when you’re dealing with “non-adults”, you know who I mean, kids of all ages from those stomping their way though the terrible twos to those strange creatures … teenagers! You may well find the units covering how we communicate with children, adolescents, young people and adults interesting and helpful and how intent and language play such important roles.

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111Anyway, I hope that these forthcoming posts will interest and inspire, I will start to upload them tomorrow.

As always feel free to leave a comment should the mood come over you, and if you are currently ploughing your way through a course like this, remember, you can do it!