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Common Developmental Delays

Some social-emotional benchmarks are listed below.

By about twelve months:

  • enjoys exploring the environment, but makes sure parent is looking

  • shows preferences for certain people, places, and things

  • tests parents' reactions (such as throwing food or refusing to go to sleep)
By about eighteen months:

  • has frequent temper tantrums, typically no more than six a day, for fewer than ten minutes per episode, with reasonably short recovery time

  • may develop fears and show new insecurities that do not significantly interfere with function (for example, she may become afraid of animals or the dishwasher, but not to the point of "freaking out")
By about twenty-four months:

  • shows a variety of emotions – affection, happiness, jealousy, fear, anger

  • recognizes self in photographs and refers to self by name

  • defends possessions
By about third year:

  • separates easily from parent in familiar surroundings

  • insists on doing things independently, and takes pride in achievements

  • parallel plays (alongside, but not interactively) with other children
By about fourth year:

  • follows directions and obeys authority figures, such as teachers

  • plays cooperatively with other children, needing occasional adult help

  • asks lots of questions, frequently starting with why
By about fifth year:

  • plays games with rules

  • accepts disappointment and failure without excessive behavioral outbursts
By about sixth year:

  • has a best friend

  • likes to finish what he has started

  • works in a small group of children for twenty minutes or more


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From Raising a Sensory Smart Child by Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover.


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