Home / Uncategorized / Developmental milestones (part 2)

Here’s part 2 of the Developmental milestones post.  I found a really great handout from the Firstwords project at Florida State University.  It is a slightly different format, but the list is so great I couldn’t pass it up.  You can click here to visit their website.  They have a lot of excellent free information!  The milestones are listed below.  I’ll also post a link to the original handout and a second handout/check list from Firstwords.  They’re both wonderful and a really great way to make sure you stay on top of things.

If you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, it’s always good to monitor milestones.  If your child is older than two and not yet communicating verbally or currently has a language delay, you can still use these milestones as a guide.  You don’t have to just look at the age, look at the order in which the milestone occur.  If you know a milestone is met, look ahead and see what’s next.  The next skill is probably a good thing to start practicing.

You don’t have stay on the sidelines during your child’s upgrade.  You can be an active participant in the development of the new neural network that’s being created!  This is a huge advantage.  If you’re in on the development, when a new problem surfaces you often know the current network’s layout so well you can sometimes fix the problem much fast or even avoid it all together.

Original Handout


What Parents Have Reported About Their Child’s Communication on our Measures
Prepared by Amy Wetherby, Ph.D., Project Director


Early communication is rooted in the expression of emotion and use of eye gaze. Sharing emotion and attention is a critical milestone in learning to talk. Most parents report their child:

  • lets them know when happy versus upset before 8 months of age
  • smiles while looking at them and looks at them to see if they are watching when playing with toys by 9 months

Children learn the power of communication before they learn to talk. Communicating to get others to do things and to draw others’ attention to things are important milestones in learning to talk. Most parents report their child:

  • lets them know that he/she needs help or wants an object out of reach by 9 months
  • gets them to notice interesting objects by 12 months

Children use gestures before they use words.  Most parents report their child:

  • gives objects, shows objects and waves by 11 months
  • points to objects and uses at least 6 conventional gestures by 12 months
  • nods their head to indicate yes by 20 months

A child’s ability to use sounds is the strongest predictor of language skills a year later. Most parents report their child:

  • uses sounds to get attention or help by 8 to 9 months
  • uses 1 or 2 consonants and sometimes strings consonant sounds together by 9 months
  • uses at least 3 consonant sounds by 12 months, and at least 6 sounds by 20 months

Children usually understand more words than they can say. Most parents report their child:

  • often looks or turns toward them when they call their child’s name by 9 months
  • understands (without gestures) at least 4 words by 12 months, 18 words by 16 months, and 30 words by 22 months, from a list of the 36 most common early words

Children usually use their first word around their first birthday and can use dozens before their second birthday. As children’s vocabulary grows, they begin to combine words and are on their way to constructing sentences. Most parents report their child:

  • uses 1 to 3 words by his/her first birthday
  • uses 1 word by 12 months, 5 words by 14 months, 10 words by 18 months, and 21 words by 22 months, from a list of the 36 most common early words
  • puts two words together by 22 months

Knowing how to use objects helps children learn the names of objects. Many of the most common first words are names for objects that the child uses. Most parents report their child:

  • uses 1 object by 9 months, 3 objects by 12 months, 7 objects by 16 months, and 9 objects by 22 months, from a list of 10 common objects
  • stacks 2 blocks by 16 months, and 3 or 4 blocks by 22 months
  • pretends with toys by 18 months