in Infants and Toddlers

Detecting developmental delays early in infants and toddlers can help professionals provide necessary intervention to help prevent a learning disability or a learning difficulty. 

This page list some "red flags" or signs of developmental delays. You can also find developmental milestones from 3 months old to 5 years old at Center for Disease Control.

As you read through this list, remember that every child is different and no two children reach the same milestone at the exact same time. You may see a couple of these delays in your own child. DON'T BE ALARMED unless your child has lagged behind his peers consistently.

If you find that your child has many of these developmental delays, then contact your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your doctor isn't knowledgeable about early childhood learning disabilities, then ask them to refer you to a child psychologist or another pediatrician that specializes in learning disabilities.


1 to 3 Months

  • Doesn't respond to loud noises

  • Doesn't follow moving objects by 3 months

  • Doesn't smile at people by 2 to 3 months

  • Doesn't grasp objects by 3 months

  • Can't support head well at 3 months

  • Crosses eyes most of the time at 3 months

4 to 7 Months

  • Seems very stiff OR floppy

  • Head still flops back when body is pulled to sitting position

  • shows no affection for caregiver

  • One or both eyes consistently turn in not out

  • Doesn't seem to enjoy being around people

  • Doesn't respond to sounds around them

  • Has difficulty getting objects to mouth

  • Doesn't turn head to locate sounds

  • Doesn't roll over by 6 months

  • Can't sit without help by 6 months

  • Doesn't laugh or make squealing sounds by 5 months

  • Doesn't reach for objects by 6 months

  • Doesn't follow objects with both eyes

  • Doesn't bear some weight on legs by 5 months

8 to 12 Months

  • Doesn't crawl

  • Can't stand when supported

  • Doesn't search for objects that are hidden (10-12 months)

  • Doesn't learn to use gestures such as waving or shaking head

  • Doesn't sit steadily by 10 months

  • Doesn't show interest in "peek-a-boo" or "patty cake" by 8 months

  • Doesn't babble by 8 months ("dada", "baba", "mama")

18 to 24 Months

  • Can't walk by 18 months

  • Walks exclusively on toes

  • Doesn't speak at least 15 words by 18 months

  • Doesn't make 2-word sentences by age 2

  • Doesn't know function of common household objects by 15 months (brush, phone, fork, spoon, etc.)

  • Doesn't imitate actions or words by 24 months

  • Doesn't follow simple one-step instructions by 24 months

  • Infrequent communication with others (words, gestures)

    The above list was reprinted from Perspectives, Summer, 2011; 37(3), 25. That was a reprint from Tervo, R. (2009). Red flags and rules of thumb: Sorting out developmental delays. A Pediatric Perspective, 18(2), 1-5


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