Why do we need a holistic approach?
Child development is extraordinarily complex. No two children will meet the same milestones at exactly the same time and variances in personality and dispositions mean that individual children will respond in different ways to the same stimulus. In my household we have four biological children – each has been raised with the same parents, lived in the same home and been fed the same diet. Why then does one of my children experience high levels of anxiety, one has some difficulties with learning, one requires much support for managing his emotions and the other one seems to live her life relatively carefree and with an extraordinarily positive disposition? We have four children with four distinctly different interests, personalities and needs. It is here that the nature vs nurture debate really comes alive and we must recognise that the two are actually completely interconnected.
When we talk about intervention and support for children, it is often done so using clinical language and rigid understandings of patterns of child development. This is hugely problematic given that child development is not linear and whilst we can be guided by broad developmental milestones, one must look much deeper to truly understand each child as an individual who has unique thoughts, understandings and needs.