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Cognitive Developmental Milestones that are Critical for Academic Success

Developmental milestones in school aged children can help predict whether students are academically successful. Those who don't reach these milestones, however, can often improve their academic performance through a variety of interventions. By understanding these milestones, parents and teachers of students in middle and high school can better decide whether students need extra help with academics.

Reading and Writing

Children begin to read and write early in middle childhood and should be skillful in reading and writing by the end of this stage. Studies have found that kindergarten reading abilities can predict reading achievement through the fourth and sixth grades.

Abstract Thinking

Abstract thinking plays an important role in academic success because it allows students to apply generalities to specific events and draw conclusions from indirect evidence. It also helps students apply knowledge that they learn in life to academic problems. Most children develop abstract thinking skills during early adolescence (10 to 12 years old). They continue to develop these skills during their teenage years.

Sense of Achievement 

Children around 12 years old should develop a sense of achievement based on how they perform. This can apply to academic success as well as physical contests and social hierarchy. Students with learning disabilities are often at risk of feeling like they cannot achieve academically. Despite these feelings, there are many strategies that can help students with learning disorders feel a sense of achievement.

Understanding Cause and Effect

Young children often do not realize the connection between cause and effect. This starts to change around the time that they undergo puberty. Seeing how cause and effect work is an important part of becoming a successful student. It's an even more important part of becoming a successful adult. Students who do not see the connection between cause and effect do not understand how their actions lead to consequences. Academically, that means that they may not see how studying leads to better test scores or how playing video games all night leads to lower scores.

Helping Children With Developmental Delays

Some of the ways parents can help children continue to develop their learning skills are:

  • Ask “what if…” or “how could we solve this” questions to help with problem solving skills and understanding cause and effect.
  • Practice sequencing skills by reading signs, making lists, and counting prices.
  • Picking focused times to talk — without distractions — allowing children to converse and listen.

Having a child who does not meet academic developmental milestones is a challenge, but it doesn't mean that parents and teachers cannot help those students achieve. Accepting limitations is a big part of life, but finding ways to achieve despite those challenges is equally important.

If you're concerned that your child is not meeting academic milestones or is struggling socially or behaviorally, contact us online to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.

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