Super Admin Published: '. June 9, 2018
Child development and growth are fascinating subjects. It leads the way to a better understanding of what a child is about. How they grow, develop, what makes them different or alike, how children change as they grow older etc can be cognized in a better way. Learning about child development will be rewarding. I have found it so over the years.  Hope you to would be benefitted.
Development is a change in a progressive and forward direction, which results from maturation and experience.  The ultimate goal of human development is self-realization or to develop to the full genetic potential, to the maximum extent possible.  Or as Maslow said to reach ‘Self- actualization’. That is striving to be the best person physically, emotionally, intellectually, cognitively, socially and spiritually.  Or as Hahnemann said for “Higher purpose of existence”. How people achieve this depends on the individual’s innate (genetic) abilities, environmental support, his experiences and trainings. 
There are 3 aspects of development. All three are quite often used interchangeably.    
Growth is a quantitative change. That means increase in size and structure. All physical organs grow in size including brain. As a result there is physical growth and mental growth. Growth of brain helps in learning, remembering, cognition  and communication
Development is a qualitative change along with quantitative changes. It is progressive, orderly, coherent and in forward direction. Changes taking place have a relationship among them. Changes taking place in present have a relationship with what preceded and also what will follow. Domains of development are Physical, Cognitive, Emotional and Social  
Maturation is unfolding of characteristics innately present in the individual due to the merit of his genetic makeup.  Hereditary tendencies cannot develop fully without environmental support. Both these factors are important in the field of child development. Combination of genetic and environmental circumstances results in a unique Individual.   
To understand development it has been classified into STAGES of Development
1]  Prenatal; From Conception to Birth. This 9 month period is the most rapid time of change. The one celled organism is transformed into a human baby.
2]  Infancy and toddlerhood; First two years of Life. This period brings dramatic changes in the body & brain. Development of Motor, Perceptual and Intellectual capacities occur. Language develops. Intimate Social ties start to develop. It is also a hazardous period. 
3]  Early childhood; From 2 to 6 years. During this period, there is growing independence. The body grows leaner and longer. Motor skills are refined. Children become more self sufficient and self controlled. Thought and language expands. Establishes relationships with peers. It is a questioning age, imaginative age, also a creative age.  
4]  Late Childhood; From 6 to 11 years; Children learn to think logically. This is the play age. Improved athletic abilities, participates in organized games with rules. Masters new responsibilities, mastery over literacy skill. Develops self understanding, moral values and friendships.  
5] Puberty or Preadolescene; 10 to 12 years of age. Secondary sexual characters begin to appear, but the reproductive organs are not fully developed.
6]  Adolescent period; 13 to 18 years  It is the period of  transition to adulthood. This is a dreaded age. The physical changes that started during the final phase of late childhood gets over by the adolescence. This leads to adult size body and sexual maturity. Start preparing for higher education and world of work. Thoughts become abstract and idealistic. They become autonomous, develops values and goals.   
 Generally the first year of life is considered as the most happy period and puberty the most unhappy period.  Acceptance, Affection and Achievements are the important factors that results in happiness of a child
Principles of development
 Principles for developmental directions   
1.] Cephalo  Caudal / anterior –posterior Law; ie  development spreads from head to foot. Improvements in structure and function come first in head region, then in the trunk and last in the leg region. 
2.] Proximo distal law; i.e. development proceeds from central axis of the body towards the extremities. E.g. The children use their arms first before using the hands and after this only they use  their fingers. 
Both these laws overlap and correlate  
It is here we have to relate to the HOMOEOPATHIC principles of healing.  
Development proceeds from General to Specific
In all phases of development whether motor or mental the child’s responses are of general nature before becoming specific. E.g. child begins moving the arms in general first, later makes specific movement of catching an object still later picking a very small object using fingers. Baby babbles generally before making specific sounds. 
In Homoeopathic treatment, we go from generals to specifics.  
There are individual differences in development
The differences in development are due to hereditary influences and also due to environmental conditions. This is true for both physical and psychological development. 
Here we can see the importance of individualization.
Development is continuous  
It is continuous process from the moment of conception to death but occurs at  different pace.  Sometimes rapidly while at times slowly.  
The rate of development is continuous in most of the individuals
 Those who have faster growth in the first years of life continue to grow in the same manner in the later years. Children, whose growth rate is slow, have the same growth even in later years.
All parts of the body do not have the same rate of development, different areas develop at different rates.  
There is a relationship between the development of physical and mental traits. 
Eg Development of Language is related to development of speech organs
Principle of  Functional  Asymmetry
In spite of the bilateral construction of human beings, they do not develop symmetric use of his system. An individual develops monolateral aptitudes and preferences in handedness etc. This asymmetrical attribute ensures greater efficiency.  
Developmental pattern has predictable characteristics;
There is similarity in the developmental pattern for all children.  All children follow a similar pattern with one stage leading to the next.  
Development is a product of maturation and Learning;
Maturation is the unfolding of the individual’s inherent traits. It provides the raw material for learning.  It influences the general pattern and sequence of behavior. Learning is development that comes from exercise, experience and effort by the individual. Development happens from the interaction of maturation and learning and its limit is set by maturation. Development cannot go beyond a certain limit even when learning is encouraged because of limitations in the hereditary endowment of the child.
Deprivation of learning opportunities limits development      
When the environment limits opportunities for learning children will be unable to reach their hereditary potentials.
Stimulation is essential for full development;    
For full development of hereditary potentials or innate capacities children must be stimulated or encouraged to develop especially at the time they grow.
Effectiveness of learning depends on proper timing ;          
Regardless of how much effort children put into learning, they cannot learn until they developmentally ready to learn.

                    In an individual’s life early foundations are critical. Early development is more critical than later development. Early foundations are greatly influenced by learning and experience. Attitudes, habits and patterns of behavior established during the early years determine to large extent how successfully individuals will adjust to life as they grow older.  
An old Chinese proverb states “As the twig, so the tree”
Milton said “Childhood shows the man, as  morning shows the day”
Erikson says what a child learns, will depend on how parents gratify, the child’s need for food, attention and love. Once learned, these attitudes will influence individual’s perception of people and situations throughout life.  
Ideas about how children grow and change existed for centuries. As these speculations combined with research, they inspired the construction of theories of development
Theories help us understand development and we are in a much better position to know how to improve the welfare and TREATMENT of children.  
  In the following Editions of Panorama we can go through each stages of development in detail. What are the expected developments in each stage? What are the deviations? What all therapies need to be done? What treatment measures can be done? We can go through the domains of development like Motor, Language, Social, Cognitive etc.  
·        PAUL  S. KAPLAN  ;  A Child’s Odyssey,   Second Edition,  West Publishing  Company  New York, Los Angles, San Francisco ,  St. Paul.
·        LAURA  E. BERK ;  Child Development,  Seventh Edition, Pearson Education Inc and  Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc  New  Delhi
·        LAURA E. BERK; Infants, Children and Adolescents  Allyn and Bacon Boston U.S.A
·        G.C. DAVENPORT;  An Introduction to Child Development , Second Edition, Collins Educational  of Harper Collins Publishers, London.
·        ELIZABETH B. HURLOCK;  Child Growth And Development,   Fifth Edition,  Tata McGraw-Hill, Inc,  New York.
·        HELEN BEE; The Developing Child, Second Edition, Harper & Raw, Publishers, Inc  New York.
·        A SANTHOSH KUMAR; Manual of Pediatric Practice  Second Edition , Paras Medical, Publisher,  Hyderabad
·        Dr.  M K C NAIR , Dr. RANJAN KUMAR PEJAVER ; Child Development 2000 and Beyond , Prism Books Pvt Ltd Banglore  India