Developmental Milestones

The following information is being used with permission from the Autism Speaks web site.

Milestones enable parents and physicians to monitor a baby’s learning, behaviour, and development. While each child develops differently, some differences may indicate a slight delay and others may be a cause for greater concern. The following milestones provide important guidelines for tracking healthy development from four months to five years of age.

Before your child’s next visit to the physician, please take the time to see if your child has met his/her key milestones. These milestones should not be used in place of a screening but should be used as discussion points between parents and physicians at each visit. If a child does not have the skills listed – or if there is a loss of any skill at any age – be sure to let your physician know.

Check to see if your child is achieving these typical milestones at each age level:

By 3 to 4 months

  • Watches faces with interest and follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people; smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Turns head toward sounds

By 7 months

  • Responds to other people’s emotions
  • Enjoys face-to-face play; can find partially-hidden objects
  • Explores with hands and mouth; struggles for out-of-reach objects
  • Responds to own name
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure; babbles chains of sounds

By 12 months/1 year

  • Enjoys imitating people; tries to imitate sounds
  • Enjoys simple social games, such as “Gonna get you!”
  • Explores objects; finds hidden objects
  • Responds to “no”; uses simple gestures, such as pointing to an object
  • Babbles with changes in tone; may use single words (e.g., dada, mama, uh-oh!)
  • Turns to person speaking when his/her name is called.

By 24 months/2 years

  • Imitates behaviour of others; is excited about company of other children
  • Understands several words
  • Finds deeply-hidden objects; points to named pictures and objects
  • Begins to sort by shapes and colours; begins simple make-believe play
  • Recognizes names of familiar people and objects; follows simple instructions
  • Combines two words to communicate with others, such as “More cookie?”

By 36 months/3 years

  • Expresses affection openly and has a wide range of emotions
  • Makes mechanical toys work; plays make-believe games
  • Sorts objects by shape and colour and matches objects to pictures
  • Follows a 2- or 3-part command; uses simple phrases to communicate with others, such as “Go outside, swing?”
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me) and some plurals (cars, dogs)

By 48 months/4 years

  • Cooperates with other children; is increasingly inventive in fantasy play
  • Names some colours; understands concepts of counting and time
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Tells stories; speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
  • Follows three-part commands; understands “same” and “different”

By 60 months/5 years

  • Wants to be like his/her friends; likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Is able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Shows increased independence
  • Can count ten or more objects and correctly name at least four colours
  • Speaks in sentences of more than five words; tells longer stories