Your Child’s Developmental Milestones: A Guide for Parents

The special needs child often falls behind in developmental milestones when compared to the average child. Encouraging your child to achieve these steps through play, therapy, and gentle manipulation can help to bridge the gap. When milestones are far off the mark, a physical therapist or child behavioral specialist can provide assistance and training for parents.

The following is a general description of milestones for the average healthy child:

6 Weeks. Your child should recognize your face and smile.

10 Weeks. He should be able to roll over from a sideways position onto his back.

4 – 6 Months. She can raise her head and shoulders from a face-down position. She can also sit up with some support.

7 Months. He can pass a toy from one hand to the other.

8 Months. She will try to feed herself with a spoon. She can now sit up unsupported.

9 Months. He can rise from a laying down position to a sitting position.

12 Months. Your child should be able to understand simple words and commands. He should stand unsupported for a few seconds at least.

18 Months. Your child should now walk unaided. Puts two or more words together in simple phrases.

2 ½ to 3 Years. She can stay dry during the day. Uses simple sentences to speak.

4 Years. He can get dressed and undressed with some help.

5 Years. Now your child can draw the figure of a person with a head, body, and limbs.

REMEMBER: These milestones are only a general guideline to use as a reference. Some children without disabilities may inexplicably reach a milestone late. And sometimes a disabled child crawls and walks early (like my autistic son). A visit to your child’s pediatrician can help determine whether there is need for concern. Remember, EARLY intervention is your child’s best hope. For a more detailed discussion of your child’s developmental milestones and where to go for help, visit the website for the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

Another excellent website about your child’s milestones: www.firstsigns.org