Intellectual development is the measure of how individuals learn to think and reason for themselves in relation to the world around them. Intellectual development begins shortly after birth, when babies learn to use their brains to play, respond to caregivers and familiarize themselves with objects and other people in the attempt to learn about the world around them. The process continues through all of children's lives, as they go to school, form intellectual relationships with others and learn new skills.
The two main areas of intellectual development are cognitive development and language development, according to the Welsh government's HWB Virtual Learning Initiative. Cognitive development is largely comprised of infants' and young children's ability to process the world around them through taste, touch, sound, smells and sight. As children grow up, cognitive development evolves into active imagination and problem-solving skills that help them plan and execute long-term goals.
Language development is a highly unique skill that allows children to communicate with others. Some children hone these skills from a very young age, while other children do not cultivate language development skills until their later childhood years. Language development allows children to ask questions and receive answers. This skill lets them develop complex ideas out of simple ideas and better utilize their imagination and problem-solving skills to work out solutions through the prediction of multiple ending scenarios.
Intellectual development continues to the end of a person's life, but it can be largely impaired by illness, emotional insecurity, failing eyesight or hearing or through the lack of communication with other people.