It is important to know the difference between the sequence and the rate of development, as it helps to identify the child’s abilities and needs during these stages and can help to identify if School or other organisations need to get involved.
The main difference between the sequence and rate of development is that the sequence is the order in which development takes place, while the rate is the time frame given for the average development of a child at a certain age.
All children, however, are unique and will therefore develop at their own rate, so the rate of development is just a guideline. It is important to understand that although the sequence remains generally the same, the development rate can change considerably and many other factors such as individual growth patterns, social background, health and nutrition, disability and learning difficulties can have an effect on the rate of the development. However all these can only affect the rate of development but cannot affect the sequence of development.
It is important to observe and note the difference between sequence of development and rate of development, when working with children so that the child’s needs are met. For instance if a child shows delays in any aspect of their growth, taking into account their background, health and environment in which they are growing up, as these factors will affect all areas of