There are many professions that take an interest in child development because it encompasses everything that occurs during the first few years of life. Whether mental, physical, or psychosocial, the medical establishment has instituted general milestones that act as markers for typical development in all children within a single culture. The article below explores developmental ideologies and phenomena to provide more information for those interested in pursuing studies in the subject.
Beginnings of Development
One might not think that standing on two feet all the time could have such broad implications for the entire species, from gestation to death, but it does. Homo sapiens walk upright, which means that the pelvic aperture is permanently narrowed. Human babies must be born before reaching the maturity most non-human primate infants enjoy. Essentially, they are born without the finish afforded by more prolonged gestation, and many of the neurophysical developments essential for survival are developed outside the womb.
To ensure that any individual needs are addressed as soon as possible, Western medicine established the area of study known as child development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention devotes substantial resources to ensuring parents and physicians are informed and empowered. While the field has grown to encompass children in their teens, professionals place a great deal of emphasis on the first five years of life. During this time, children are building their neural nets, learning skills, and honing their sense of upright placement in the physical world. Everything is new.
At the outset, there’s so much building and growing going on, and the human brain seldom devotes energy to storing long-term memory from this period of life. However, because there’s so much work being done and each human has a variety of ways in which they may respond to and learn from their physical and cultural worlds, professionals need milestones. Only then can they determine whether an individual requires additional support or special care.
As noted on the Florida State Department of Health website, medical professionals typically assess children in several ways. First, they investigate motor skills and physical maturation. This is perhaps the most organic of the categories, which has less to do with a child’s subjective experience of the world and more to do with factors such as nutrition, underlying genetic fitness, and exposure to physical stimuli. Milestones for this area include spatial organization, object permanence, fine motor control and manual manipulation, cranial and brain growth, physical maturation, and other areas of physical development.
The other four areas are less easily quantified. As a result, rather than designating specific timeframes for child achievement of goals or milestones, typical ranges are established that take into account individual growth, cultural patterns, lifestyles and family patterns, and other social or cultural factors. However, it’s important to realize that each of these areas links to all others—no assessment criterion can be viewed in isolation. The social and emotional maturation is bound to cognitive development. Adaptive resilience is firmly attached to cognitive and communicative or linguistic development. All of these factors represent the whole being of a human child as they grow into a fully functional organism within a cultural matrix.
Related Resource: Top 10 Online Child Development Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2018
The growth and progress of children is a vital area of study primarily because many disorders, differing levels of ability, and some troubling genetic conditions present during the first few years of life. Children with an autism spectrum disorder behave in distinctly different ways from those without such developments. But even difficulty developing sight or hearing, spatial orientation or fine motor control can profoundly impact the trajectory of child development, which is why parents and physicians closely monitor a baby’s journey into the world.