Genetics effect a child’s development at conception, where the sperm and egg determine sex, height, and eye colour. During pregnancy the mother needs to ensure that she does not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. As do young people. All of which, impact on the healthy development of the brain. Genetics can also cause addiction, depression, low self- esteem if these problems run in the family.
Perinatal – The actual time of the birth. A baby who is born prematurely (before 37 weeks) may need intensive care and may have problems that affect future development e.g. if a child is born with asthma, the child is less likely to play and be active with friend’s, therefore the child has a lesser understanding of appropriate group interaction or team playing. Learning difficulties in a child cause developmental delay. Disabilities e.g. (sensory impairments) The disability may effect one area of development which in turn may effect another area, meaning that overall development cannot occur, this can lead to low self-esteem and self- worth.
External factors can again effect a child’s development.
Poverty and deprivation
Not one of our own major influences, whereas in other not so well off countries, this is a major fact as these children cannot have any education as there is not any available. Poorer families tend to live in poorer housing conditions and may also have an inadequate diet; this may not include sufficient minerals and vitamins, leading to an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, and so on. Poverty is the single greatest threat to the healthy development of children and young people in the UK. A third of children and young people in poverty are deprived of the meals, toys or the clothes that they need.
Family environment and background
In some homes education is not at the front of their things to do list. We can often see this where parents/carers are of a lower educational development. Children and young people’s development is strongly influenced by family and culture. The majority of parents or carers provide a nurturing environment for their children. However, there are some parents or carers who, for a variety of reasons, do not manage to provide the secure base that every child or young person needs. Common problems within the home occur when one or both parents/carers neglect their children because of; Mental health problems/depression.
Drugs misuse, particularly alcoholism. Marital conflict/domestic violence.
Personal choices If a child or young person has decided that they do not want to be educated or they leave school before education is finished. Young people may choose to smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs – all of which can impact on the healthy development of their brain. These lifestyle choices are difficult to give up, and set an unhealthy pattern for the future.
Looked-after children/care status A lot of looked after children are moved around regularly, affecting their education enormously, separation and attachment issues being a factor. This impacts on their social and emotional development- particularly developing trust in others – and also affects their ability to do well at school.
Education The quality of education received in childhood is very important. If for example a child has not attended nursery or playgroup in their early years. This can often set them back from what development stage they should be at when attending school. This could be a lack of nursery places, not good enough teachers, to the child having a learning disability that hasn’t been identified yet. Some children and young people do not benefit from quality education. They may fail to attend school regularly, and this will affect their future cognitive development as well as their employment opportunities.