A Child Developmental Checklist: Find Out When Early Intervention Or Developmental Therapy May Be Needed
Below you will find a child developmental checklist for children ages 0-3.
is written in the form of a child NOT meeting infant/toddler developmental
milestones. In other words, these are the "Red Flags" that may indicate some
sort of developmental delay.
This list is broken up into different categories (i.e. fine motor, gross
motor, social/emotional etc.) and can be used to help you determine if an early
intervention/developmental therapy and referral is needed.
As I described in my
sensory stimulation for infants and toddlers article , early intervention is
a FREE program designed for children ages 0-3 as part of the educational system,
and is available to all parents and children in every community. It is a program
that addresses any current or possible developmental delays in children. All
children are entitled to these services if any medical or developmental issue is
present, or if their social, economic, or environmental conditions put them "at
risk" for a possible delay.
Every child develops at a different rate, and variability in obtaining skills
is seen across the board. If a child is expected to have twenty-five skills in a
specific area of development at 18 months of age, missing one or two does not
necessarily mean that a problem exists. However, as a caregiver for children, it
is important to be able to recognize when a child may need further intervention.
The following lists are to give a generalized idea of different skill areas
to look at, and when an early intervention referral and developmental therapy
may be appropriate.
*Red Flags* That May Warrant An Early Intervention Referral
If a child is...
Not rolling by 7 months of age
Not pushing up on straight arms, lifting his head and shoulders, by
8 months of age
Not sitting independently by 10 months of age
Not crawling ("commando" crawling--moving across the floor on his
belly) by 10 months of age
Not creeping (on all fours, what is typically called "crawling") by
12 months of age
Not sitting upright in a child-sized chair by 12 months of age
Not pulling to stand by 12 months of age
Not standing alone by 14 months of age
Not walking by 18 months of age
Not jumping by 30 months of age
Not independent on stairs (up and down) by 30 months of age
...an early intervention/developmental therapy referral may be appropriate.
Here are some other gross motor "red flags":
"walking" their hands up their bodies to achieve a standing position
only walking on their toes, not the soles of their feet
frequently falling/tripping, for no apparent reason
still "toeing in" at two years of age
unusual creeping patterns
any known medical diagnosis can be considered a "red flag": Down's
syndrome, cerebral palsy, congenital heart condition etc.
If a child is...
Frequently in a fisted position with both hands after 6 months of
Not bringing both hands to midline (center of body) by 10 months of
Not banging objects together by 10 months of age
Not clapping their hands by 12 months of age
Not deliberately and immediately releasing objects by 12 months of
Not able to tip and hold their bottle by themselves and keep it up,
without lying down, by 12 months of age
Still using a fisted grasp to hold a crayon at 18 months of age
Not using a mature pincer grasp (thumb and index finger, pad to pad)
by 18 months of age
Not imitating a drawing of a vertical line by 24 months of age
Not able to snip with scissors by 30 months
...an early childhood intervention/development therapy referral may be appropriate
Here are some other fine motor "red flags":
Using only one hand to complete tasks
Not being able to move/open one hand/arm
Drooling during small tasks that require intense concentration
Displaying uncoordinated or jerky movements when doing activities
Crayon strokes are either too heavy or too light to see
Any know medical diagnosis can be considered a "red flag": Down's
Syndrome, cerebral palsy etc.
Not imitating body action on a doll by 15 months of age (ie, kiss
the baby, feed the baby)
Not able to match two sets of objects by item by 27 months of age
(ie, blocks in one container and people in another)
Not able to imitate a model from memory by 27 months (ie, show me
how you brush your teeth)
Not able to match two sets of objects by color by 31 months of age
Having difficulty problem solving during activities in comparison
to his/her peers
Unaware of changes in his/her environment and routine
...an early intervention/developmental therapy referral may be appropriate
Very busy, always on the go, and has a very short attention to task
Often lethargic or low arousal (appears to be tired/slow to respond,
all the time, even after a nap)
A picky eater
Not aware of when they get hurt (no crying, startle, or reaction to
Afraid of swinging/movement activities; does not like to be picked
up or be upside down
Showing difficulty learning new activities (motor planning)
Having a hard time calming themselves down appropriately
Appearing to be constantly moving around, even while sitting
Showing poor or no eye contact
Frequently jumping and/or purposely falling to the floor/crashing
Seeking opportunities to fall without regard to his/her safety or
that of others
Constantly touching everything they see, including other children
Hypotonic (floppy body, like a wet noodle)
Having a difficult time with transitions between activity or location
Overly upset with change in routine
Hates bath time or grooming activities such as; tooth brushing, hair
brushing, hair cuts, having nails cut, etc.
Afraid of/aversive to/avoids being messy, or touching different
textures such as grass, sand, carpet, paint, playdoh, etc.
...an early childhood intervention/developmental therapy referral may be appropriate.
If a child is...
NOTE: sensory integration/sensory processing issues should only be
diagnosed by a qualified professional (primarily, occupational therapists
and physical therapists). Some behaviors that appear to be related to
sensory issues are actually behavioral issues independent of sensory needs.
(Click Here For A Complete Symptom Checklist Of Sensory Processing Disorders)
Does not make eye contact with others or holds objects closer than
3-4 inches from one or both eyes
Does not reach for an object close by
Possible hearing problems may exist if the child...
Does not respond to sounds or to the voices of familiar people
Does not attend to bells or other sound-producing objects
Does not respond appropriately to different levels of sound
Does not babble
Possible visual problems may exist if the child...
Having difficulty biting or chewing food during mealtime
Needing a prolonged period of time to chew and/or swallow
Coughing/choking during or after eating on a regular basis
Demonstrating a change in vocal quality during/after eating (i.e.
they sound gurgled or hoarse when speaking/making sounds)
Having significant difficulty transitioning between different food
Not feeding him/herself finger foods by 14 months of age
Not attempting to use a spoon by 15 months of age
Not picking up and drinking from a regular open cup by 15 months of
Not able to pull off hat, socks or mittens on request by 15 months
Not attempting to wash own hands or face by 19 months
Not assisting with dressing tasks (excluding clothes fasteners) by
Not able to deliberately undo large buttons, snaps and shoelaces by
...an early intervention/developmental therapy and referral may be appropriate.
If a child is...
Not smiling by 4 months
Not making eye contact during activities and interacting with peers
Not performing for social attention by 12 months
Not imitating actions and movements by the age of 24 months
Not engaging in pretend play by the age of 24 months
Not demonstrating appropriate play with an object (i.e. instead of
trying to put objects into a container, the child leaves the objects in
the container and keeps flicking them with his fingers)
Fixating on objects that spin or turn (i.e. See 'n Say, toy cars, etc.);
also children who are trying to spin things that are not normally spun
Having significant difficulty attending to tasks
Getting overly upset with change or transitions from activity to
...an early intervention program referral may be appropriate
If a child is...
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