The guide below explains what you might expect from the development of the child through various ages:
Physical development: this refers to the body increasing in ability and functionality and comprises of gross motor skills (using large muscles) with movement in their legs and arms whilst also developing fine motor skills (precise use of muscles) such as the movement of fingers and toes.
New born babies will lie on their backs with their head held to one side yet turn their head looking for a teat or nipple. They will have primitive reflexes such as swallowing, rooting, grasping, stepping and sucking.
By 1 month old head control will be still be unsteady, and their hands will be in tight fists. Babies will grasp at objects that have touched the palm of their hands. they may turn their heads and eyes in unison and smile at familiar faces, smells or sounds, they also like to observe the face of adults at feeding time.
At 3 months old they can hold a small object such as a rattle for a few seconds if placed in their hand and enjoys observing movements of their own hands and play with them, kicking their legs and waving arms. They can lift their head and turn when placed on their front.
At 4 months they will use their arms to support themselves when laying on their stomachs and can turn from their back to their side. They will hold onto and shake small objects. They will, with support start sitting and will gradually sit unaided by 6 months. They will raise their hands in anticipation of being lifted.
At 6 months they will roll over and push their head and chest off the floor when placed on their front. Their hand grasp is more prevalent with whole hand use to pass an object from one hand to the next.
At 9 months they will start to move around either by crawling or shuffling and are able to sit alone without the need of support. They will reach out for toys when sitting and poke at small items with their index finger. They will use index and middle fingers along with their thumb in a pincer grip to hold onto small objects and will take and hold a small brick in each hand. They will lift a block but are only capable of releasing it by dropping. If a young baby is held upright they will try to make stepping movements on a firm surface. They will be startled by sudden sounds or bright lights. When hungry, in pain, need changing or comforting they will cry.
In their first year they will start to move around either by crawling or shuffling and eventually try to start walking with support. They will start to demonstrate hand inclination and pick up small objects using a tidy pincer grip. They enjoy have the ability to feed themselves and will enjoy doing so, holding cups with assistance. They can click 2 cubes together and put cubes into a box after first being shown had to do so. They can understand the world around them and know who their main carers are and may possibly cry when left with someone they are not familiar with. They will wave goodbye and point at things with their fingers.
At 18 months they will clumsily hold a pencil or crayon and try to write with it and use their hands skilfully to arrange and move small objects,dropping things onto the floor whilst looking to see where they are. They can walk downstairs with a held hand and push or pull toys when walking. They can now walk alone and will try to kick, throw and roll a ball. They can turn handles and pull off their shoes, they can use a spoon and hold objects with a delicate pincer grip. They can squat to pick up an object from the floor and will assist with dressing/undressing.
By 24 months children can walk up and down the stairs using both feet on each step and will climb onto furniture. They can put their own shoes on and start to use their favourite hand.
At 3 years old they can draw dots and circles and build a tower with 6 bricks. They can climb, run and pedal a tricycle, jump from small steps and walk upstairs on alternate feet whilst also being able to walk on tiptoe, they can also kick a ball confidently. They will be able to use the toilet alone, undo buttons and thread large beads. They will clumsily hold a pencil or crayon and try to write with it enjoying painting and drawing activities and are capable of drawing a face. They will also enjoy ‘reading’ books and having stories read to them, turning single pages in the book. They can build towers with up to 9 bricks and bridges with the bricks when shown.
At 4 years old they can walk backwards following a line, run, hop throw, aim and catch a large ball. They can using scissors cut around an object and is able to copy a picture of a square. They can construct a large tower, do a 12 piece jigsaw and button/unbutton their clothes. They are now capable of brushing their own teeth.
At the age of 5 years they can skip, run quickly, hit a ball with a bat. They can dress/undress themselves with ease, precisely use scissors and form letters whilst writing their own name. They will draw a person with a body, head and legs and a house. They can complete a 20 piece jigsaw.
Between the ages of 6 – 7 years children will enjoy are now capable of hopping, skating roller blading, skateboarding and bike riding. They can balance on a wall or beam, build complex models and have finer control of constructing bricks, jigsaws etc. The can tie/untie laces and sew simple stitches. They will be able to do detailed drawings and take control of their pencil in a small area.
Between 8 – 12 years they will greatly improve on their physical skills that are already acquired. Puberty will start at around 10 years old for girls with an increase in body strength and a sudden growth spurt.
Through the ages of 13 – 19 years a child/young adults brains development will increase in line with their co-ordination and reaction times. For girls by the age of 14 puberty will be complete and periods will be starting whereas with boys puberty will be between the ages of 13 – 16 years and they will become physically stronger than girls.
Social and emotional development: this refers to the development of the child’s own identity and self image. Some may want to start doing things for themselves and become more independent. They will develop a sense of their own identity. Learning to live in a family unit and with others in society is a vital part of development in which will be contributed by friends and family. In the initial few months babies will recognise familiar voices and faces, they will try to ‘people please’ and bay for attention by performing for their audience through laughter and giggles. They will enjoy playing games with others such as peek a boo.
From birth to 4 weeks a baby will respond unequivocally to the main carer whilst imitating facial expressions. They will stare at shiny, bright objects
At 1 month old they will look intently at carers and social smile for them by 6 weeks old.
4 months old they will try and captivate their carers attention by smiling and vocally.
6 months old they become fascinated with other babies and smile at them. They will interact differently to a variety of family members and begin to seek attention. They become more enamoured in social interaction, dependent on his/her personality and time spent with other children. They may use a comfort object such as a blanket or teddy and display a fear of strangers and separation anxieties when without the main carer.
By 9 months old they recognise familiar and unfamiliar faces whilst showing stranger anxiety. They are now very curious in all around them.
At 1 year old they become more demanding, emotionally temperamental and assertive. Temper tantrums may begin and they may become despondent about changes to their normal schedule. They may express their anger at being told not to do something and start to develop object continuity. They will begin to play alone. They can now distinguish between themselves and others and is aware of the emotions of other individuals yet still self obsessed with regards to their own view of the world.
By 18 months they will show signs of stranger shyness and have tantrums when upset often know as the ‘terrible twos’ They have trouble understanding the concept of sharing and believe that everything is ‘mine’ They dislike changes to their routine and can be very selfish. They should now start toilet training.
At 2 years old they are still reluctant to share but enjoy the company of other children and may show concern if another child becomes upset. They remain self important are starting to become emotionally stable yet still inclined to sudden mood swings. They know their own identity and are learning to have short periods of time separated from their carers such as attending nursery.
At 3 years of age they become more confident and self motivated and have a greater social awareness. They may worry about not fitting in or being liked. They will play alongside others and in 2’s or 3’s, sharing ideas and being friendly to other children. They may also have ‘best friends’. They feel stable and emotionally secure and are less anxious with regards to separation. They are becoming more independent but still need the support and guidance of adults and may fear the loss of a carer. They begin to recognise themselves as an individual. They have a strong sense gender identity. Moral development does not normally occur until a child reaches the age of 3.
By 4 years old children enjoy role play and dressing up activities. They start to take turns and respond to reasoning whilst enjoying their independence still need reassurance and encouragement. They understand united and competitive events.
At 5 years of age they become absorbed in activities and have a positive sense of self awareness. They become concerned about ‘fitting in’ and being liked. They establish a fear of the unknown such as monsters under the bed or ghosts.
Between the ages of 6 – 7 years children to form stable friendships and are very sympathetic of the other persons needs. They tend to play in separate sex groups. They are fairly self-assured and independent with an increased sense of integrity.
Friendships become vital between the ages of 8 – 12 years and are mainly same sex friendships. They are anxious of how others view them and are often hesitant with regards to changes.
Between the ages of 13 – 19 years puberty and body changes along with a surge in hormones can disrupt self esteem, they may want to spend more time with friends rather than with their family. They may bow to peer pressure but may also become more self assured with regards to changes in surroundings. They need to determine transitions into adulthood.
Intellectual development: These are the learning skills of concentration, understanding and memory. This area of development is greatly influenced by the learning practices a child has. They may imitate others and try to find ways of behaving in play.
New born babies will stare intently at their carer and cry when a basic need requires consideration. Their head and eyes will turn towards soft light and blink in reaction to bright ones.
At 1 month old they will stare and follow the direction of a dangling ball whilst gazing intently at soft lights.
At 3 months they track movements of both small and large objects.
At 6 months old they can automatically fix their sight onto small objects nearby and reach out to hold them. They are inquisitive and become readily distracted by movements. They will watch objects fall when in range of their vision. They like to put everything into their mouth.
At 9 months they will look towards the direction of falling objects.
At 12 months of age they will drop objects purposely whilst watching them fall (casting) Should an object roll out of vision they will look correctly to the area it has gone to. They can distinguish familiar individuals up to 6 metres away.
They begin to point at objects of interest outside at the age of 18 months and build towers of 3 cubes when first demonstrated to. They will turn pages in books although may be several at a time rather than singular, relish picture books and point to named characters and objects. They will point to various basic parts of the body.
From 3 years of age they will match 2 or 3 primary colours and paint with large brushes and make basic cuts with scissors. They can copy crosses and circles and draw a person with a head.
By 5 years they are capable of copying squares and a range of letters, often done with a degree of spontaneity. They can now draw a person with a body, head, arms, legs and certain aspects. They can also draw a house. Pictures will be coloured methodically. They can now name primary colours and match 10 or more of them. They can duplicate symbols, numbers and letters and can decipher between lighter and heavier objects. They understand positioning of behind, next to and in front of. They can rote count up to 20 and know the time of day for basic activities such as school time, bedtime etc.
By 6 years of age they are attaining the ability to write some words freely and copy others. They can read basic books sight reading 10 or more words. They can count up to 100 and understand the concept of half and whole. They know when it is their birthday and can predict events that are happening next. Paintings and drawings are now more intricate and sophisticated.
Between the ages of 6 – 8 years they develop the capability of thinking about several things at once and comprehend the use of symbols in writing and maths etc. They are more inquisitive to the workings of his/her surroundings. They enjoy participating in games and understand rules.
Between 8 – 12 years they are increasingly favouring certain subjects and apply reasoning and logic to certain issues. They can read and write with confidence and are becoming more creative in their play. They learn to transfer the knowledge gained from one situation and use it productively in the next task.
Ages 13 – 19 years they develop the ability to think more complexly and will query sources of information. They are becoming more aware of global activities and occurrences. They will have a clear inclination for arts and sciences. Options with regards to their future employment and further education are being explored.
Communication and speech development
Non verbal communication is as vital to children as it is to adults. In fact children are more likely to use it than adults. Speech is a characteristic of development that can alter greatly without any association to other developmental bearing or to the child’s intellectual being.
Pre-linguistic is the term given to the stage up to approximately 12 months when a child is beginning to say its first words.
Linguistic is the descriptive term given to words with meaning.
Birth to 4 weeks a baby will cry when it’s basic needs are not being met i.e. hungry, needs changing, emotionally distressed.
At 1 month old a baby may stop crying at the sound of a human voice (unless distraught) ‘freeze’ when a sound is played near to their ear, moving their head towards the sound. Coos in reaction to their carer’s voice.
At 3 months old a baby becomes silent and will turn its head towards the noise of a rattle nearby and make vocal sounds when being spoken to or are alone.
When 6 months old they will giggle and shriek loudly during play. They respond variably to different tones of voices. They make baby vowel sounds such as ‘goo’ ‘ga ga’ and ‘aah-aah’ They begin to react to sounds that are out of vision with the appropriate visual response.
Babies will shout for attention from 9 months and vocalises for a connection. They will begin to use dual syllable words such as ‘baba’ ‘mam-mam’ and ‘dad-dad’ They duplicate adult vocal sounds like lip smacking or coughing. They can comprehend the meaning of no and bye-bye. They will have an instantaneous reaction to to a hearing test performed out of vision and behind the baby.
At 1 years of age a baby will know its own name and can perceive roughly 20 words in context. They can comprehend simple messages for example close your eyes, clap hands. They will use gibberish in conversation form with majority vowel sounds.
12 – 18 months, babies will use between 6 – 20 recognisable words as their first words and can understand much more of what is spoken to them. They will reverberate leading or last words in sentences. They will try to affiliate themselves in nursery rhymes and respond appropriately to simple instructions such as ‘pick up your toy’ or ‘pass me your cup’
At 18 – 24 months they begin to make basic 2 word sentences and can use more than 200 words by the age of 2 years old. Their speech will be telegraphic in that they will use key vital words but may miss out connective ones. They will refer to their own name and talk to themselves during play themed activities.
Between the ages of 2 – 3 years they have a increasing expanse of dialect including plurals. They can participate in simple conversations and enjoy the repetitiveness of the their favourite stories being re told. They can now rote count to 10.
Between 3 – 4 years their speech will understood by strangers and can form short, grammatically accurate sentences. Although they may still make errors of tenses they now begin to ask many questions such as why? who? and how? They can name parts of their body and also name animals.
Between the years of 4 – 8 speech is more fluent and precise, they will use a more expressive language. They can inform you of their full name, address and birthday and will enjoy jokes, songs and rhymes etc. They have a increasing expanse of vocabulary – 5,000 words by the age of 5. They will recognise when an unfamiliar word is used and will question the meaning of it and can imitate correctly accents that they have heard. They can form most sounds with some residual trouble at some letter groups.
From 8 years onwards the majority of children are fluent speakers, writers and readers off their own language with the enhanced use of peer influenced, de coded speech.
With the autistic child I work along side I follow the guidelines of ‘P’ Levels which is a programme that gives me information on the varying categories of the developmental process’s. I then can record each and every stage my autistic pupil is at and refer to what his expectations are and also via his Individual Educational Learning Plan (IEP)