• Family environment

• Family environment: social background, distress from family unemployment or parents’ long-term illness or disability can influence negatively the development. In fact, situations like separation, parents’ divorce (family breakdown), bereavement and new partners may cause a delay in the child’s development. Lack of a stable, warm and consistent environment can cause less favourable outcomes.

• Poverty: similarly to the factor above, poverty can largely influence the child’s development: a poor diet, for example, can affect physical growth, but also can change the child’s behaviour and his social development. This can ultimately give inadequate opportunities for play and a lack of educational opportunities which can impact on life overall. Aspirations and expectations are drastically reduced when poverty is being experienced by a child or a young adult.

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• Poor Attachment: parents and primary carers are not always able to form a bond that will ensure a child enough love, care, and the attention they need to develop well. Secure and positive attachments with a primary carer and parents can also influence the child’s academic achievements.

• Cultural Differences: this is an external factor that may affect some children making them feel less confident as their cultural background makes them different from their classmates and friends. They may try to hide these differences because they are afraid their friends to be rejected and isolated.

• Personal choices: a young adult can decide whether to smoke or not, misuse illegal substances such as drugs, drink alcohol, have soon intimate relationships, eat unwell and have wrong sleeping routines. These personal choices can ultimately cause a delayed development.

• Education: this is another external factor that may change development pattern. In fact, the different settings in which education happens, school and home, can play a big role in the children’s cognitive development. In good school there are many opportunities to socialise and experience good education: this will surely better stimulate cognitive development.