Children with some kind of disability, either physical or mental, will find it harder to learn than other children of the same age, and may need support, such as a different way of teaching, help from an adult, or use of certain specialised or adapted equipment, such as a computer or writing desk. Children with emotional problems may also have difficulty learning, concentrating or interacting with others in such a way that it prevents their development along expected patterns.

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If a child is physically limited, through disability, injury or malnutrition, or even simple lack of opportunity to play this could prevent them reaching certain physical milestones, such as being able to walk, run, catch a ball, or jump when others of their own age can. A child’s environment – physical, social and cultural – can play a large part in all aspects of their development. The family environment is very important in the development of a child and. if less than ideal, can have a negative effect on their development.

For example, if parents are inattentive, have financial problems or neglect the child in some way, this could impact on their social and emotional development, result in malnutrition and thereby impact on their physical development, and affect their intellectual and language development through lack of proper communication and informal education through play and games at home. Factors which could negatively affect a child’s development also include the relative socio-economic standards of where they live and go to school, the availability of resources and opportunities, the amount of help from external agencies available and so on.

Environments in which there is a high crime rate can also colour the child’s social and cultural development in skewing their sense of what is deemed acceptable behaviour in a civilised society, such as showing them that the use of violence an acceptable means of problem-solving, or when the casual breaking of the law is seen as a normal activity. This may show in their development as an inability to follow rules, play well with other children, or in theuse of violence as a means of conflict resolution or when they don’t get all their own way, etc.

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Some children may have particular learning needs, either because they have some physical or sensory difficulties (e. g. the use of more visual media for deaf children, or conversely audiomedia for those with sight problems, or for those with physical difficulties some kind of speech or gesture recognition software to help them use computers), or they may need extra adult help or certain structures in place if they have emotional or behavioural problems.

In some cases with children with thinking and understanding difficulties, it may be necessary to change the way of teaching, such as to a more kinaesthetic, spatial or other type of method according to a child’s specific needs. Communication difficulties, for example, when they are being taught in a language that isn’t their native tongue, may require specialist help such as a translator or sign language interpretor (or lessons).

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