Hartland 810-991-1211
Ann Arbor 734-821-6915

0-1 Year

The Early Years

This is an amazing year of “firsts” in your child’s life! Your child is building his/her foundational skills to set the stage for continued learning. As new (or seasoned) parents of a newborn we are always looking for signs of the ‘next’ stage of development. It is important to know that all babies develop at different rates. Developmental charts and comparison to other children are not always an indication of whether your child is developing as they should — however there are signs in the early years that should not be ignored.

“Sensitive periods” during a child’s development occur throughout this first year that establishes the wiring of the brain for specific abilities (Couperus & Nelson, 2006).

Our team of developmental specialists are experienced in the assessment of early development and providing home programs and/or therapy if needed to set your child off on their best foot forward!

Language Development

Your child was learning language before they were even born - ongoing research is giving us more and more knowledge about a child’s readiness to learn language! An interesting video here on highlights recent research on a child’s readiness for language at the time of birth! Although we do not expect verbal expression within the first year this is the time that your child is learning language by listening, observing and imitating. A speech and language pathologist at this age is skilled in assisting parents of high risk children in providing a language rich environment for your child to develop receptive language or an understanding of language and its use.

By 3 months:

  • Look and gaze at a caregiver’s face
  • Smile in response to a caregiver
  • Turn head in the general direction of a sound
  • Begins to develop different cries (hungry, hurt, etc.)

By 6 months:

  • Recognize and prefer caregiver’s voice
  • Vocalize pleasure and displeasure
  • Babble using a variety of sounds
  • Smile and laugh in response to caregiver’s smile/laugh

By 9 months:

  • Babble a series of different sounds (bababa; dadada)
  • Make sounds and/or gestures to get attention of others
  • Begin to imitate speech sounds and movements
  • Respond to caregiver’s mood or change in behavior

Additional resources for speech and language development:

Play Skills

Although your baby is not necessarily ‘playing’ at this age, they are developing the social skills needed for play in a short time! Infants are innately interested in others and are learning how to interact as well as control their own bodies. During this first year they are learning turn taking, sustained attention and how to regulate their bodies to engage with you. All building blocks to play and interaction!

By 3 months:

  • Your child shows preference for a familiar adult for comfort
  • Responds positively to touch and embraces
  • Coos and babbles when comfortable

By 6 months:

  • Attends to their own name
  • Begins to play peek-a-boo
  • Smiles spontaneously

By 9 months:

  • Will show anxiety when being separated from primary caregivers
  • Reaches out for interaction or in response to routines (eg. dressing)
  • Mimics simple actions and facial expressions
  • Shows displeasure through gestures or sounds

Additional resources for play:

Gross Motor Development

Gross motor is defined as movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. Motor strength, endurance and planning are the underlying building blocks in developing gross motor skills supportive of everyday functions. Your infant is growing stronger and more adept at coordinating movements through daily interactions with you and their environment. The first year is a crucial developmental period that provides your child with the time needed to build underlying skills for later growth!

By 3 months:

  • Eyes focus on objects within 12 inches
  • Brings hands to the middle of the body while laying on their back when handed an object
  • Turns head to both sides when on their back

By 6 months:

  • Plays with hands and feet
  • Reaches for toys or objects with hand on both sides of body
  • Kicks feet and waves arms in response to something pleasurable or familiar

By 9 months:

  • Can roll onto stomach from back and vice versa
  • Pushes themselves against the floor with arms and hands; precursor to crawling
  • Sits without support

Additional resources for gross motor development:

Fine Motor Development

Fine motor skills are defined as smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. As with gross motor development, strength, endurance and planning are characteristics of daily growth supported by exploration and opportunities to practice! At this age vision, gross and fine motor skills are working together to refine movements and build strength as your child interacts with their environment.

By 3 months:

  • Visually tracks brightly colored or shiny objects
  • Exhibits a strong grasp reflex by tightly grasping objects in hand
  • Able to lift head and neck

By 6 months:

  • Holds objects with both hands in the middle of their body
  • Begins to transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • Reaches for toys using both arms

By 9 months:

  • Is able to rotate forearm to move objects back and forth
  • Moves object to their mouth, exploring sensory and textures with their mouth
  • Uses a raking grasp with hands to move objects with fingers

Additional Resources for Fine Motor development:

Feeding Skills

As a new parent, issues surrounding feeding infants and toddlers can prove to be an emotional experience. It is in the early years that a child’s relationship with food is developed which can have a big impact on later health and development. Aside from meeting nutritional needs for physical and cognitive growth, a child’s experience with textures and tastes as well as traumatic events (gastric reflux) can be contributing factors to later issues. Typical development of feeding skills are outlined here with exception to children who experience medical complications that impact feeding.

By 3 months:

  • Latches easily onto nipple or bottle
  • Sucks and swallows with coordination easily
  • Tongue moves back and forth to suck

By 6 months:

  • Begins to eat smooth textured, single ingredient purees and cereals
  • Moves pureed food from front to back of mouth
  • Opens mouth as spoon approaches

By 9 months:

  • Shows reaction to strong smells or tastes
  • Holds and drinks from a bottle
  • Starts to reach for objects and food that is nearby

Additional Resources for Feeding Skills:

How can we help?

CCGD is committed to providing families with the resources they need to improve the wellbeing of their child.

The first step is to determine your child’s current level of functioning with a comprehensive evaluation. Phone consultations to help you in making the decision to schedule an evaluation are always free of charge and can be done over the phone or in person. Call today and ask to speak to one of our specialists!