Developmental Screenings & Milestones for Children Birth to Five

What is a developmental screening?

CARE for Children provides developmental screenings several times per year and per request at health fairs and other events. Developmental screenings are used to identify children who should receive more intensive assessment or diagnosis for potential developmental delays. It can allow for earlier detection of delays and improve child health and well-being for identified children.

Why is developmental screening important?

Many children with behavioral or developmental disabilities are missing vital opportunities for early detection and intervention. Many children with developmental delays are not being identified early.

In the United States, 17% of children have a developmental or behavioral disability.

In addition, many children have delays in language or other areas, which also impact school readiness. However, less than 50% of these children are identified as having a problem before starting school, by which time significant delays may have already occurred and opportunities for treatment have been missed.(Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) please visit their site at for more information.)

Is your child having difficulty sitting up? Walking? Talking? Visit CARE’s Early Intervention page for information on how to get help.

Typical Developmental Milestones for Children Birth to Five

By 6 months, a child:

• Knows familiar faces, smiles, makes cooing sounds
• Lifts head, begins to roll over, holds toy briefly
• Likes to watch their own hands and look at things around them
• Wants to try new foods, seems excited about being fed
• Can bring both hands to center, plays with toes, holds head up and rolls

By 1 year, a child:

• Rolls a ball, looks for dropped toys
• Likes to play with a toy, can use a cup with help
• Sits up, creeps or crawls, pulls up to stand
• Says and understands a few words
• Starts to stand alone

By 18 months, a child:

• Starts to say several words, makes noises as if talking
• Rolls a ball, does things they see others do
• Takes off some clothes, puts things into a box
• Uses a cup, spoon, and kicks a ball
• Starting to run and climb chairs

By 2 years, a child:

• Speaks several words together
• Feeds self with spoon and drinks from cup
• Points to body parts when asked
• Kicks a ball, walks up and down stairs
• Likes to hear stories, plays alone for a short time

By 3 years, a child:

• Enjoys pretending with toys and adults
• Easily picks up very small objects
• Uses three word sentences
• Enjoys playing with children but may be shy
• Puts on coat, shoes, hat

By 4 years, a child:

• Tells little stories
• Understands concept of some numbers and colors
• Speaks in longer phrases/sentences
• Dresses and feeds self
• Gets along and plays with other children

By 5 years, a child:

• Matches spoken words with pictures
• Follows directions that have two steps
• Speaks clearly and can be understood by others in the family
• Recognizes and copies some shapes and letters
• Counts to ten

If you have questions about your infant or toddlers development, please contact our office or the county Early Intervention Office. Please visit our Early Intervention page for more information.

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