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This content is taken from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, International Centre for Evidence in Disability & Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)'s online course, Integrated Healthcare for Children with Developmental Disabilities. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second VOICEOVER: In the first few years of life, all children across the world go through a remarkable period of growth and development. Their earliest years are full of new experiences and opportunities to learn, as they begin to absorb a huge amount of information. This lays the foundation for their future health, well-being, and part in our communities. By playing and exploring, children interact with new experiences and new people, and learn skills for sensory, physical, communication, cognitive, and social development. As children grow, these areas continually interact with each other and development in one area supports the development in another.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds A child who learns to move will be better able to explore their environment and interact with friends and family, which supports their social development. This is a continuous process and opens up opportunities for further learning, refine current skills, and reinforce previous development. To ensure this development, children need nurturing care, good nutrition, and support from caregivers, teachers, and health professionals, allowing them to reach their potential and thrive in life. However, this development is a complicated process. And in some children, the process may be more difficult or disrupted. Impairments in a child’s function, as a result of a health condition, can disrupt one or more areas of development, making it more difficult to learn new skills.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds These impairments can cause the process of development to falter. However, if their development is supported by caregivers, friends, teachers, and healthcare professionals, they can develop skills in their own way and realise their right to reach their potential. Thinking creatively to support all children will help them forge their own developmental path and enable them to engage in and strengthen our communities.

Child development

Before we begin to think about developmental disability, we are first going to learn about the importance of child development.

In the animation above, we follow two children, as we learn more about development across different domains and consider how this process can be disrupted for some children.

In the next step, our Lead Educator Professor Hannah Kuper will discuss this topic in more detail.

Remember, you can use the comments section below to provide feedback on each step, and share your perspectives and experiences with other learners.

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This video is from the free online course:

Integrated Healthcare for Children with Developmental Disabilities

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine