Hesperian Health Guides

How children develop new skills

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 2: Children who cannot hear well need help early > How children develop new skills

Every child develops in 4 main areas: body (physical), thinking (mental), talking and listening (communication), and getting along with other people (social). In each area, a child learns new skills step by step.

For example, before a child can learn to walk, she must first learn many simple kinds of body control:

1. First, she learns to hold her head up and to move her arms and legs. 2. Then she can use her arms and legs to sit up.
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-1.png
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-2.png
3. While sitting, she can reach and turn, which improves her balance.
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-3.png
4. Crawling helps her learn to coordinate her arms and legs, which also helps her brain develop. 5. Then she pulls herself up to a standing position.
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-4.png
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-5.png
HCWD Ch2 Page 14-6.png
Each new skill builds on already-learned skills, like building blocks.

In all areas of development, each new skill a child learns builds on the skills she already knows and makes it possible for her to learn other, more difficult skills.

When a child does not learn a skill, she cannot learn other skills that depend on it. For example, if she has a problem holding up her head, she will then have difficulty learning skills like sitting or crawling, in which holding up the head is important.

Children's communication skills and language also develop step by step

Children's language develops in the same way as their physical skills. They learn simple skills first.

1. Babies begin to express their thoughts, needs, and feelings by making sounds or using facial expressions and pointing. 2. They hear and understand
other people's words.
A woman speaking to her small child.
Do you want some more?
A man speaking to his small child.
Where is mama?
3. They begin to use words. They know
and use names of the people closest
to them.
4. Later they start to talk
and express themselves
more completely.
A woman holds her small child in her lap as they talk.
Yes, sweetheart?
A small boy speaking to his mother as they place a pineapple in a basket.
Can I have some?
5. Words help them think
and learn new things.
A man and his daughter wash their hands together.
That's right,