Cognitive development refers to the development of thought processes, which include problem solving, remembering and decision making, that takes place in a child as he goes through physical development of being an adolescent and finally an adult.
Earlier it was believed that infants do not have the ability to think, form complex ideas and did not have cognition until they learned a language. However, this has been proven wrong as research has shown that infants are aware of their surroundings and are constantly interested in exploring the environment around them. From the time a baby is born, he begins to learn actively. He gathers and processes all information around him and this, in turn, helps the baby develop his perception and thinking skills.
Cognitive development, therefore, refers to the way how a person thinks, understands and perceives the world around him, and this occurs partially through learning and partially due to genetics. The areas of cognitive development are thought processing, memory, language development, reasoning and intelligence.
When there is a cognitive development delay it leads to loss or lack of development of cognitive abilities. When a child has learning disability, it affects his ability to understand what he sees and hears and as a result the child is unable to link the information from the different parts of the brain.
Cognitive development delay manifests itself in a variety of ways like difficulty in speaking and writing a language, coordination, attention or self-control. If these difficulties are carried to school, it can affect the child's ability to read, write and do math. In addition, children with cognitive development delay may also have hearing and/or emotional problems.
If by the age of three, a child is unable to understand simple directions, then it is best to consult a healthcare professional. The child may be having cognitive development delay. Another reason to suspect cognitive development delay is when a child after the age of three does not show the same development as other children his age.
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