Understanding the developmental milestones and what age range is typical for kids to meet them

Early Detection of Developmental Delays

Understanding the developmental milestones and what age range is typical for kids to meet them, you and your healthcare professional can keep a watchful eye on your child’s growth and development. If you ever have a concern about your child, be sure to talk to your doctor. If your child does have developmental delays, getting early intervention can help lead to more successful outcomes.

Following are some red flags, which will help you to detect a delay in your child’s milestone. Act early by getting help!

0-6 months

  • Can’t hold the head steady
  • Doesn’t smile or shows no affection for caregivers
  • Doesn’t respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting things to her mouth
  • Doesn’t make cooing or vowel sounds (“ah”, “eh”, “oh”)
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles or floppy
  • No eye contact
  • Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on a hard surface

6-12 months

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t sit when supported
  • Doesn’t transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • Doesn’t reach out to objects
  • Doesn’t seem to recognize familiar people
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

12-18 months

  • Doesn’t point to showing things to other
  • Finds it difficult to stand or walk
  • Doesn’t copy or imitate others
  • Doesn’t have a vocabulary of at least 6 words or doesn’t gain new words
  • Doesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had

18- 24 months

  • Doesn’t use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Doesn’t copy actions and words
  • Doesn’t follow simple one-step instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steadily or still not walking
  • Cannot take changes in routine
  • Loses skills she once had

2-3 years

  • Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Can’t work with simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, and turning handles)
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences
  • Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  • Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Loses skills he once had


3-5 years

  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Unsteady walking and running
  • Shows no interest in interactive games or make-believe
  • Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
  • Speaks unclearly or Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
  • Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
  • Is easily distracted, and has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities
  • Can’t brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • Loses skills he once had

What should I do if I feel that my child shows delays?

  • Write the delays observed from the checklist
  • Contact your child’s developmental doctor or a neuro-pediatrician.
  • The doctor will refer you for a medical checkup – blood test, hearing, and vision test
  • Take a certified report and the result from the doctor.
  • Take your child again to the neuro-pediatrician or a clinical psychologist for further diagnosis.
  • Recheck and read about your child’s diagnosis- be an informed parent!
  • Attend all parent counseling and educative session offered by the psychologist to understand your child better.
  • Search for the school and therapy that can support your child’s growth and abilities.
  • Make sure that the school and therapist provide you with an IEP (Individualized Education Program) with clear, measurable goals. These goals should be revised periodically.
  • Believe in the abilities of your child!


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