I think you would agree that there are few things more wondrous than observing a newborn child enter the world and soon thereafter begin the process of making sense of it. The simple reality is that our children learn more during the first five years of life than they do the rest of their lives. An amazing process, don’t you think?
In that light a simple question arises. What factors contribute to a child’s ability to make sense of the world? Researchers have considered this question for many decades. Their research is consistent in demonstrating that there are two primary factors in considering how children progress from limited ability as a newborn to functioning preschoolers and beyond. These two factors are ability (nature) and opportunity (nurture). If a child possesses good health and is exposed in a profitable manner to the world around it, he will begin and sustain the process of making sense of the world. On the other hand, if anything gets in the way of opportunity or ability the potential for developmental delay increases.
Now with those realities in mind, there is a simple scientific fact worth considering, and it is this: the more complicated something is the greater the risk that something may go wrong. When applied to child development, and in light of the amazing process of achieving developmental skills, there are many things that might impede a child’s ability to attain normal developmental milestones. Would you agree?
As we consider this in the weeks ahead it is my intent to do three things. First, I want to alert parents to the factors that may contribute to less than optimal developmental skill development. Second, I want parents to understand what to look for in determining if their child is attaining appropriate skills. And third, I intend to provide an overview of what constitutes typical skill development (concentrating heavily on speech and language development) so that each child is equipped and ready to enter school and be successful. I trust this information will be both instructive and supportive as we marvel at how our children grow and develop.
The Achieve Center blog is written by the professionals who are focused on children's mental health.