Developmental Screenings

Developmental screening is the process in which parents and care providers identify concerns about a child’s development.  Developmental screenings are routinely conducted by your child’s pediatrician when you take them for a well-visit. The doctor or nurse might ask you questions to see if your child is achieving regular milestones.

Here are a few of the developmental milestones recommended by the CDC by age (go to for a complete listing of milestones at other ages):

2 Months

Social and Emotional

  • Begins to smile at people
  • Can briefly calm self-down
  • Bring hands to mouth and suck on hands
  • Tries to look at parent
  • Language/Communication
  • Coos, makes gurgling sounds
  • Turns head toward sounds

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Pays attention to faces
  • Begins to follow things with eyes and recognize people at a distance
  • Begins to act bored (cries & fusses) if activity doesn’t change

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy
  • Makes smoother movements with legs and arms

9 Months

Social and Emotional

  • May be afraid of strangers
  • May be clingy with unfamiliar adults
  • Has favorite toys


  • Understands “no”
  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamma and babbaba”
  • Copies sounds and gestures of others
  • Uses fingers to point at things

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Watches the path of something as it falls
  • Looks for things they see you hide
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Puts things in mouth
  • Moves things smoothly form one hand to the other
  • Picks up things like cereal O’s between thumb and index finger

Movement/physical Development

18 Months

Social and Emotional

  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by


  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what they want

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem solving)

  • Knows what ordinary things are for, for example telephone, brush spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed them
  • Points to one body part
  • May draw scribbles
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without gestures; for example, will sit when you say, “sit down.”
  • Movement/Physical Development
  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress self
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon
  • If you believe that your child is not meeting their developmental milestones, talk to your child’s pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child be screened for general development using standardized tools at the ages of 9 months, 18 or 30 months or whenever you as the parent have a concern.
  • Ask your pediatrician for a referral if you and your doctor think there might be a delay.
  • Typically, the doctors that can perform more in-depth evaluation of your child are:
    • Child psychologists
    • Child neurologists
    • Developmental pediatricians
  • At Psychological Assessment and Treatment Services we are trained and can perform more in-depth screening to determine if your child has any delays. We use a variety of standardized parenting and observational screeners to obtain information on your child.  If you would like to learn more or have any concerns about the development of your child call us today at 888-666-3089.