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Evidence Report

Early childhood development occurs within the context of multiple environments, with a vast range of factors in these environments exerting influence on different aspects of a child’s development. This Evidence Report discusses the potential for the characteristics of these environments to increase the risk of a young child experiencing poor developmental outcomes or, alternatively, to enable protection from the impact of adversity. An Ecological Model of Child Development is outlined, and the key factors influencing development in a child’s immediate contexts are summarised, including: the prenatal environment, the family and home environment, and early childhood education and care.

Read this Evidence Report for an in-depth look at risk and protective factors in early childhood.

Research Snapshot

Children grow up surrounded by people and living in environments that shape their development. Right from conception, factors in a child’s immediate environment such as their family and home and the early education and care they receive influence their emotional, social, physical and mental health.

Read this Research Snapshot for a quick look at understanding risk and protective factors in early childhood.

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Resilience Outcomes Scale

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Levelness

News Article

First words: identifying risks to language development

Language is a uniquely human ability that helps us to learn from other’s experience and is the foundation for so much of what happens in life.

That is why falling behind in language development can prove to be a substantial disadvantage that affects a child’s ability to thrive at school, form relationships and get a job.

Daniel Christensen, Telethon Kids Institute Life Course Centre research fellow, says there is rapid change in a child’s brain in the first few years of life, making their home environment and relationship with carers incredibly important.

“Language development is the result of quite complex interactions between the child, their family, their school and the community and that all takes place in a broader social and cultural context,” Mr Christensen said.

Researchers at Telethon Kids are contributing to a growing body of research that has identified a number of beneficial factors and risks to language development from birth.

Interview

Interview with Melissa O'Donnell

Developmental Pathways Project: helping researchers better understand the issues that increase or reduce developmental risks for young people.

Quality research is built on quality data and an important Telethon Kids initiative started back in 2005 is ensuring Western Australian researchers have the very best.

By linking de-identified population-level data from a growing number of government agencies and departments, the Developmental Pathways Project underpins a wealth of important research.

Established by Telethon Kids founder and patron Professor Fiona Stanley AC, the project has matured into an invaluable resource helping researchers to better understand the issues that increase or reduce developmental risks for young people.

Interview

The Western Australian Child Development Atlas

What did this project aim to find out?

The Western Australian Child Development Atlas (CDA) uses geographic information system technology to develop maps of government administrative and survey data related to children and young people in communities throughout the state.

Comprehensive health, development, and social profiles will be developed by combining data sets from Human Service Departments. These data will be overlayed with details of services provided to children and families.

The aim of the project is to provide agencies, researchers, service providers, and communities with easy access to up-to-date, quality location-based data, from multiple sources. These data will be mapped across the whole state, to provide a visual summary of area-level indicators of children’s health, learning, development and social characteristics, and how these characteristics differ across communities.

This information can help to identify areas of high need, prompting investigations into whether services available in those areas are adequate to meet community needs.