The sequence of development is an order of milestones that children and young people meet and accomplish. Developments in social and emotional, physical, intellectual, language and communication begins from birth and continues into adolescents and it’s within these areas that a sequence is formed, for example a child will learn how to crawl before they can walk or can point before they learn to speak a sentence. A child will usually progress forward from one milestone to the next, normally one accomplishment has a bearing on the next milestone and if a child or young person has difficulty meeting a milestone it can mean they could have delays in other areas as well, and if a child or young person meets a milestone early then they may be great at reaching the next milestone early also.
The sequence of development cannot be confused with the rate of development as every child will grow and progress at different rates. A child can accomplish milestones quicker in one area such as mathematics but may take more time to accomplish a physical milestone like running or fine motor skills. The rate of development describes how quick a child takes to accomplish these milestones as the speed can vary from child to child, for example one child could learn to stand unsupported at 10 months whereas another could achieve walking at 14 months. It is important to identify the difference and how each of them plays a role in identifying the accomplishments of a child or young person, what milestones have been reached and when. They enable charting of a child or young person's development to happen and provide a structure or picture that can measure where a child might be in need of support or extension.