By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Provide a basic description of brain development in infancy
  • Identify usual developmental milestones in children and young people
  • Recognise how neglect and abuse impact on child development
  • Plan and take action to support healthy child development in the different developmental domains.

The first session explores the importance of children’s early experiences in relation to how the brain develops. It looks at how early trauma or neglect can affect the brain’s ability to develop essential connections that are critical for the healthy development of the child.

The second session looks at milestones which are a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do within a certain age range. Milestones are an average however, and therefore not all children reach milestones at the same rate. The milestones do however map out the stages that all children will pass through sequentially. By understanding milestones, then carers are in a better place to understand the behaviour of the children they care for. In this way, what might look like naughty or challenging behaviour may in fact just be a ‘normal’ sign of the child developing or practising new skills.

The third session explores the possible effects of abuse and neglect on the development of children and young people. It introduces the concept of “internal” ages, as a way of thinking about developmental deficits experienced by children and young people who may have been abused. This session will allow carers to estimate the “inside” ages of a child or young person in their care.

The last session looks at the types of resources that children and young people in care may need to assist them in enhancing their development. It will raise the importance of a carer acting as an advocate for the child in their care, and to argue for the essential interventions and plans that may be required to address any developmental delays. This session will allow carers to explore the sorts of things they can do to address the delay(s) in each of the developmental domains for the child in their care.

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