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Child and Adolescent Health Service

Health A – Z


Child and Adolescent Community Health

Child Development

Useful Resources and Websites

What is Development?

Development is the process where a young child learns and grows into adulthood. Skills are learnt and combine to develop more complex tasks such as walking, talking and playing. Most children reach specific milestones at around certain ages and this is termed normal development.

There are five key areas of development:

  • Gross motor
  • Fine motor
  • Speech and language
  • Cognitive/intellectual
  • Social and emotional

Why are the Early Years so Important?

Children develop at the greatest rate during the early years. There is considerable evidence to support the importance of the early years of child development for their overall health, well being and competence throughout their life.

The first 5 years of life are a critically important time in brain development. While connections in the brain are made all through life, the rapid pace of brain development in the early years is never repeated.

What is Developmental Delay?

Developmental delay is a term used to describe a child whose development is delayed in one or more areas compared with other children of the same age.

Developmental delay usually results in reduced abilities in life activities such as communication, learning, mobility, living independently, decision making and self-care.

Why is Early Intervention so Important?

The early years of a child’s life is an important period when developmental delays can be recognised and we can ensure children are given the best opportunities and support to develop new skills.

Research suggests that a child’s ability to learn, their behaviour, their ability to control emotions and their risks for disease later in life are influenced by the quality of nurturing and support provided in the early years.

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