Is Your Child on Track? Discovering Developmental Delays

During your child’s development, they accomplish certain physical and mental milestones at a specific age range. This is a good guide to seeing how your child is developing and what you can do to help them catch up if they are falling behind. When milestones are delayed significantly, this can have impacts on cognitive abilities, bone and muscle growth, nervous system and a whole host of long-term problems that can arise. However, much can be done if delayed physical, cognitive or social abilities are occurring, especially if caught early.

While there are many milestones that should be achieved by a certain age, if you are seeing the following signs at these ages, act early by talking with one of our specialists:


2 Months

  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Can’t hold head up when pushing up when on tummy

4 Months

  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t smile at people
  • Can’t hold head steady
  • Doesn’t coo or make sounds
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Doesn’t push down with legs when feet are placed on hard surface
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions

6 Months

  • Doesn’t try to get things that are in reach
  • Shows no affection for caregivers
  • Doesn’t respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting things to mouth
  • Doesn’t make vowel sounds (ah, eh, oh)
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction
  • Doesn’t laugh or make squealing sounds
  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy

9 Months

  • Doesn’t bear weight on legs with support
  • Doesn’t sit with help
  • Doesn’t babble
  • Doesn’t play any games involving back and forth play
  • Doesn’t respond to own name
  • Doesn’t seem to recognize familiar people
  • Doesn’t look where you point
  • Doesn’t transfer toys from one hand to the other

1 Year

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t learn gestures live waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

18 Months

  • Doesn’t point to show things to others
  • Can’t walk
  • Doesn’t know what familiar things are for
  • Doesn’t copy others
  • Doesn’t gain new words
  • Doesn’t have at least 6 words
  • Doesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had

2 Years

  • Doesn’t use 2 word phrases (ex: “drink milk”)
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Doesn’t copy words or actions
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steady
  • Loses skills she once had

3 Years

  • Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Can’t work simple toys
  • 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 toys
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Loses skills he once had

4 Years

  • Can’t jump in place
  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Shows no interest in interactive games or make believe
  • Ignores other children or doesn’t respond to people outside the family
  • Resists dressing, sleeping using the toilet
  • Can’t tell a favorite story
  • Speaks unclearly
  • Loses skills he once had

5 Years

  • Shows extreme behavior (unusually fearful, aggressive, shy or sad)
  • Usually withdrawn or inactive
  • Is easily distracted
  • Doesn’t respond to people
  • Doesn’t play a variety of games and activities
  • Can’t stand on one foot and balance easily
  • Difficulty using utensils

(This is not a complete list of milestones; talk with our specialists for a complete understanding of physical and mental milestones your child should be achieving at their age).

These are just some of the signs that your child may be having developmental delays. The good news is that a lot can be done in therapy to help your child accelerate their abilities both physically and mentally. Many parents feel that their child will just “catch-up”, but not addressing these problems early can put your child at a disadvantage as they grow up, as well as later in life. If you have concerns that your child is experiencing the above symptoms, call us today to talk with one of our expert pediatric therapists.