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Developmental Age

    
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Determining a child's developmental age is
 probably one of the most useful things we
can do. It will tell us what age level the
child is actually performing at; and,
as a consequence, we will know when
our expectations exceed their capacity
to deliver.

While the term ‘developmental disorder’ is in widespread use, it doesn’t tell us anything, except that the child is behind in their development. The world is full of these non-specific terms, most of which sound really great but don’t actually tell us anything about the child’s performance. Conversely, a child’s developmental age reveals a great deal about the level the child is performing at, and why they are doing what they are doing or behaving as they are.

A child’s developmental age reveals the point at which their development has been disrupted and it tells us what level the actual level of their baseline performance is. If we are able to see that a 7 year old child is performing at a 4 year old level; suddenly, so much of what they are doing makes absolute sense.
 
Most parents find this information to be some of the most usboys with a bicycleeful they ever receive. While it is not uncommon for parents to know that their child is behaving like a much younger child, putting this into context and understanding that the child’s developmental sequence has actually been disrupted at this point, provides a great deal of clarity around what the child is doing and how they are performing. Once this has been seen, it cannot be unseen, and it is then glaringly obvious, that if a child is performing at a much younger age level, it’s no wonder they are struggling in school. The obviousness of the child’s situation becomes so incredibly apparent and we can wonder how we ever missed it. However, we need to realise that what we now see is not so obvious or apparent to everyone else. In fact, pretty much everyone else is stuck in the exact same place we once were, and nowhere do we come up against this as much, as we do in education.

Once a child has completed a certain number of Visual Perceptual Therapy sessions, the parents invariably want to work with their child on improving upon their academic performance. The most obvious source of educational tasks they can access is their child’s school, but it then becomes apparent that we first need to determine what academic level the child is performing at. Most parents will then approach the school and ask them to A.) Tell them the academic level the child is performing at and, B.) Provide them with work they can do at home with the child, which relates to their academic level. However, I have yet to come across a situation where a child’s school can actually tell these parents what level the child is performing at. It is at this point that parents realise the limitations of education to work with their child in a truly competent and effective way. It’s not rocket science to do any of this, and most parents are absolutely capable of doing so, even down to determining what level their child is performing at, but the fact that education apparently cannot do this should be of great concern to us all. It means that no child is actually being taught relative to their level of performance.


Determining a Child's Developmental Age

We use three criteria to identify a child’s developmental age. I will use another in the Visual Perceptual Evaluation, the developmental age of the child’s task performance but, this will only confirm what the other three criteria are telling us.
These criteria are:

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