Developmental Milestones


Receptive Language

Does your child comprehend?

12 months

Your child should recognize the names of simple, common objects, familiar people, and action verbs.

18 months

Your child should understand new words each week, identify pictures in a book, know a few major body parts, and identify some common objects.

2 years

Your child should recognize many common objects and pictures when named. They should also be able to follow several simple directions.

3 years

Your child should be able to listen to simple stories, follow a two step command, and understand the concept of taking turns.

4 years

Your child should be able to correctly identify colors, understand “more” and “most”, and make inferences.

5 years

Your child should understand time concepts, understand qualitative concepts, and understand “-er” as “one who does something”.

6 years

Your child should understand passive voice tense, identify objects that don’t belong, and be able to order pictures from largest to smallest.


Expressive Language

How your child communications through words, gestures, etc.

12 months

Your child should use anywhere from one to three words.

18 months

Your child should repeat some overheard words and begin to try to communicate with more words than gestures.

2 years

Your child should join words into phrases such as “more ball” or “bye mama”.

2½ years

Your child should begin to use short phrases 3-4 words in length.

3 years

Your child should have a vocabulary of approximately 1000 words and be about 75% intelligible.

3½ years

Your child should be able to name pictures in a book, tell how an object is used, and use possessives.

4 years

Your child should be about 95% intelligible, even to unfamiliar listeners.

4½ years

Your child should be able to respond to “where” questions and complete analogies.

5½ years

Your child should be able to repeat sentences, use adjectives to describe objects, use past tense forms of verbs (-ed), and describe similarities.

6½ years

Your child should be able to define words, rhyme words, and repair grammatical errors.


Speech Sounds

At what age should a particular sound be mastered?

3 years

m, n, h, p, f, w, b, and d

4 years

k, g, and t

5 years

j and v

7 years

ing, l, s, r, ch, z, th, and sh


Fine Motor Development

Use this chart as a guideline. If your child is unable to do multiple tasks under his or her age range, then an Occupational Therapist referral might be necessary.

7-12 months

Able to pick up small objects using thumb and finger/fingers

10 months

Pokes and/or points with index finger

12-18 months

Holds crayon with whole hand, thumb up

2 years

Holds crayon with thumb and all fingers, forearm turned so thumb is pointing down
Puts on shoes, socks, and shorts; takes off shoes and socks
Can use a spoon independently, keeping it upright
Can draw and copy a vertical line

2½-3 years

Strings large beads
Snips paper with scissors
Rolls clay/playdoh into “snake”
Can draw and copy a horizontal line

3-3½ years

Able to complete simple puzzles
Can build a tower of nine small blocks
Can get himself dressed/undressed independently; only needs help with buttons; still confuses front/back for clothes, and right/left for shoes
Can feed self with little or no spilling
Drinks from a cup/glass with one hand

3½-4 years

Can pour his own drink from a pitcher (if not too heavy)
Can place small pegs into small holes
Able to string small beads
Can hold a pencil with a “tripod grasp” (3 fingers), but moves forearm and wrist to write/draw/color

4-4½ years

Can use scissors to follow and cut both straight and curved lines
Can manage buttons, zippers, and snaps completely
Can draw and copy a cross (one vertical and one horizontal intersecting lines)

4½-5 years

Can hold fork using his fingers
Can feed self soup/cereal with little or no spilling
Folds paper in half, making sure the edges meet
Puts a key in a lock and opens it

5 years

Can get dressed completely by himself, and usually tie shoelaces
Cuts square, triangle, circle, and simple pictures with scissors
Uses a knife to spread food items (jelly, peanut butter, mayo etc.), uses a dull knife to cut soft foods
Able to draw and copy a diagonal line
Uses a “tripod grasp” on writing utensils (thumb & tips of 1st two fingers) and uses fingers only to write/draw/color

5½-6 years

Can build a five block “bridge”
Sufficient hand coordination to cut out complex pictures, accurately following the outline
Able to copy a sequence of letters or numbers correctly

6 years

Able to complete complex jigsaw type puzzles