About Our Abilities

Abilities are additional skills your child should be developing. These are important skills that look at your child’s overall behavior to gauge their progress.

Be sure to adjust for prematurity. Missing one or two abilities should not cause alarm, as every child develops differently. However, if they are missing multiple abilities, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.

0-3 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Enjoys playful face-to-face interaction with people
  • Coos in response to playful interaction
  • Notices and responds to sounds

Coordination

  • Moves legs and arms off of surface when excited
  • Uses vision to follow black and white or brightly colored objects
  • Is able to open and shut hands
  • Is able to bring hands to mouth
  • Is able to be on tummy for short bursts of time

Daily Activities

  • Is able to latch on while nursing or bottle feeding
  • Is able to calm during car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Enjoys bath time
  • Is usually able to tolerate diaper changing without crying

Self-Expression

  • Is able to be comforted by cuddling or a parent’s touch
  • Is not upset with everyday sounds
  • Is usually happy when not hungry or tired
  • Enjoys varied playful movement experiences, e.g. bouncing on knees
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touching, and calm sounds
  • Does not demonstrate frequent or long bouts of being upset

4-6 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Enjoys playful interactions with others, e.g. peek-a-boo
  • Is vocalizing in response to playful interaction
  • Turns head toward sounds
  • Maintains eye contact with familiar people during playful interaction
  • Enjoys playing with toys of varied textures
  • Enjoys musical toys
  • Raises hands to be picked up
  • Enjoys various types of movement, such as being gently swung

Coordination

  • Is beginning to put weight through feet when supported in standing
  • Is able to lift head forward when being pulled to sitting, from lying on back
  • Is able to play on tummy for short bursts of time
  • Is able to roll from tummy to back (5 months) and from back to tummy (6 months)
  • Is able to pick up head and prop on elbows during tummy time
  • Uses hands to play with and explore toys
  • Uses both hands equally to play with toys
  • Is able to turn head to visually follow moving toys and people

Daily Activities

  • Is able to latch on while nursing or bottle feeding
  • Is able to stay calm during car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Enjoys bath time
  • Is usually able to tolerate diaper changing without crying
  • Is not fearful when moving to lying on back for diaper changing

Self-Expression

  • Is able to be comforted by cuddling or a parent’s touch
  • Is not fearful of everyday sounds
  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Enjoys varied playful movement experiences, e.g. bouncing on knees
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touch, and soothing sounds

7-9 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is interested in interacting with others, e.g. peek-a-boo
  • Enjoys playing with toys of varied textures
  • Enjoys playing with musical toys
  • Is interested in playing with colorful objects
  • Raises hands towards adult to be picked up
  • Maintains eye contact with people during playful interaction
  • Enjoys moving to explore the environment when placed on floor
  • Enjoys various types of movement, such as being gently swung in the air by parents

Coordination

  • Is able to put weight through feet when supported in standing
  • Is able to pick up head and push through elbows during Tummy Time
  • Keeps head forward when being pulled to sitting from lying on back
  • Is able to play on tummy
  • Moves on floor to get desirable toy
  • Moves in and out of various positions, e.g. sitting, tummy, and hands and knees
  • Is able to turn head to visually follow moving toys and people
  • Maintains balance while sitting and using two hands together to explore toys
  • Uses both hands equally to play with toys

Daily Activities

  • Is able to latch on while nursing or bottle feeding
  • Enjoys bath time
  • Is able to self calm in car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Usually tolerates diaper changes without crying
  • Is not fearful of tipping head back when moving from sitting to lying down for activities, such as diaper changing
  • Is able to transition from milk or formula to infant cereal

Self-Expression

  • Is able to be comforted by cuddling or a parent’s touch
  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touch, and soothing sounds
  • Is not fearful of everyday sounds
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule

10-12 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is interested in interacting with others, e.g. peek-a-boo
  • Maintains eye contact with people during playful interactions
  • Raises hands to be picked up
  • Turns head in response to name being called
  • Points to objects of interest by 12 months
  • Enjoys playing with toys of varied textures
  • Enjoys playing and banging musical toys
  • Enjoys various types of movement, such as being gently swung in the air by parents
  • Frequently explores the environment when placed on floor
  • Enjoys moving to get a desirable toy

Coordination

  • Moves in and out of various positions (e.g. crawling, climbing, cruising, and walking) to explore environment and get desired toys
  • Keeps head forward when being pulled to sitting from lying on back
  • Is able to pull self to stand
  • Is able to hold head upright while crawling by 11 months
  • Primarily crawls or walks to get desired objects
  • Puts weight through hands or feet when moving in and out of positions and while supported in standing
  • Is able to sit unsupported and turn head to look at objects without losing balance
  • Is able to throw balls and maintain balance
  • Uses both hands equally to play and explore toys
  • Is able to clap hands
  • Enjoys and seeks out various ways to move and play

Daily Activities

  • Usually enjoys bath time
  • Is able to self calm in car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Is usually able to tolerate diaper changing without crying
  • Is not fearful of tipping head back when moving from sitting to lying on back
  • Is able to use fingertips to pick up small objects, such as small pieces of food
  • Is eating an increasing variety of food
  • Can usually participate in dressing without becoming upset
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to calm self to fall asleep

Self-Expression

  • Is comforted by cuddling and a parent’s touch
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touch, and calm sounds
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noise, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to self soothe when upset

13-18 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is interested in interacting with people (plays patty cake)
  • Raises hands to be picked up
  • Maintains eye contact with people during playful interactions
  • Is interested in imitating others
  • Turns head in response to name being called
  • Points to objects of interest by 12 months
  • Is able to locate objects you are pointing to
  • Claps hand together in response to social play
  • Enjoys playing with variety of toys and textures
  • Enjoys banging and playing with musical toys
  • Enjoys playing with new toys
  • Eagerly explores the environment when placed on the floor
  • Enjoys being swung and gently thrown in air
  • Enjoys exploring and playing at the playground
  • Enjoys swinging on playground swings

Coordination

  • Is frequently moving in and out of various positions (e.g. crawling, climbing, cruising, and walking) to explore and get desirable objects
  • Maintains balance in sitting or standing while using two hands together to explore toys
  • Is able to turn head to look at objects without losing balance while standing
  • Is able to take steps toward motivating item
  • Crawls or walks to get desired item
  • Has adequate endurance and strength to play with peers
  • Uses hands to help move from one position to another
  • Is able to throw balls without losing balance
  • Uses both hands equally to play with and explore toys
  • Seeks out various new ways to move and play

Daily Activities

  • Usually enjoys bath time
  • Is able to self calm in car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Usually tolerates diaper changes without crying
  • Is able to tip head back when moving from sitting to back
  • Is able to use fingertips to pick up small objects, such as small pieces of food
  • Eats an increasing variety of food
  • Can usually participate in dressing without becoming upset
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to calm self to fall asleep
  • Is able to tolerate and wear new and varied textures of clothing

Self-Expression

  • Is comforted by cuddling and a parent’s touch
  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touch, and soothing sounds
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noise, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to self soothe when upset
  • Enjoys various textures, such as grass or sand, after multiple exposures
  • Is able to transition to new environment or activity

19-24 Month Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Turns head in response to name being called
  • Is able to participate in small groups with other children
  • Is interested, aware, and able to maintain eye contact with others
  • Is able to play in social situations after a transition time
  • Points to objects of interest
  • Is able to locate objects you are pointing to
  • Explores varied environments such as a new playground
  • Enjoys swinging on playground swings
  • Enjoys being swung and gently thrown in air
  • Enjoys playing with new toys in varied ways
  • Usually plays with toys without mouthing them
  • Enjoys playing with a variety of toys and textures
  • Enjoys playing with musical toys
  • Enjoys sitting to look at or listen to a book

Coordination

  • Is frequently moving in and out of various positions (e.g. crawling, climbing, cruising, and walking) to explore and get desirable objects
  • Coordinates movements needed to play and explore
  • Usually walks with heel toe pattern and not primarily on toes
  • Enjoys and seeks out various ways to move and play
  • Has adequate endurance and strength to play with peers
  • Can maintain balance to catch ball or when gently bumped by peers
  • Is able to throw and attempt to catch ball without losing balance
  • Uses hands to help move from one position to another
  • Uses both hands equally to play with and explore toys

Daily Activities

  • Enjoys bath time
  • Is able to self calm in car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Usually tolerates diaper changes without crying
  • Is not fearful of tipping head back when moving from sitting to back
  • Is able to use fingertips to pick up small objects, such as small pieces of food
  • Is able to eat an increasing variety of food
  • Can usually participate in dressing without becoming upset
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to self calm to fall asleep
  • Is able to tolerate and wear new and varied textures of clothing

Self-Expression

  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Is able to calm with experiences, such as rocking, touch, and soothing sounds
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule
  • Does not require an excessive routine to calm
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noise, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to self soothe when upset
  • Enjoys various textures, such as grass or sand after multiple exposures
  • Is able to transition to new environment or activity
  • Is able to be away from parents when with supportive and familiar people

2-3 Year Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is able to participate in small groups with other children
  • Is interested, aware, and able to maintain eye contact with others
  • Turns head in response to name being called
  • Explores varied environments, such as a new playground
  • Enjoys swinging on playground swings
  • Is able to play in social situations after a transition time
  • Enjoys swinging, being thrown in air, and roughhousing
  • Enjoys playing with a variety of toys and textures
  • Is able to locate objects of interest
  • Is able to locate objects you are pointing to
  • Enjoys playing with musical toys
  • Enjoys playing with new toys in varied ways
  • Usually plays with toys without mouthing them
  • Enjoys sitting to listen or look at book
  • Is able to participate in messy activities that result in dirty hands

Coordination

  • Enjoys and seeks out various ways to move and play
  • Has adequate endurance and strength to play with peers
  • Uses hands to help move from one position to another
  • Coordinates movements needed to play and explore
  • Usually walks with heel toe pattern and not primarily on toes
  • Can maintain balance to catch ball or when gently bumped by peers
  • Is able to walk and maintain balance over uneven surfaces
  • Walks through a new room without bumping into objects and people
  • Only leans on furniture, walls, or people and sits slumped over when tired
  • Is able to throw and attempt to catch ball without losing balance
  • Coordinates both hands to play, such as swinging a bat or opening a container
  • Uses both hands equally to play and explore toys
  • Coordinates hand and fingers

Daily Activities

  • Enjoys bath time
  • Is able to self calm in car rides when not tired or hungry
  • Tolerates diaper changes without crying
  • Is not fearful of tipping head back
  • Is able to use fingertips to pick up small objects, such as small pieces of food
  • Eats an increasing variety of food
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to self calm to fall asleep
  • Is able to tolerate and wear new and varied textures of clothes
  • Is able to take appropriate bites of food, does not always stuff mouth
  • Is aware of sensations such as a wet diaper or underpants
  • Is able to tolerate and stay calm during haircuts
  • Is able to adapt to changes in routine

Self-Expression

  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Is able to calm with experiences such as rocking, touch, and calm sounds
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule
  • Does not require an excessive routine to calm
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noise, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to self-soothe when upset
  • Enjoys various textures, such as grass or sand, after multiple exposures
  • Is able to transition to new environment or activity
  • Is able to be away from parents when with supportive and familiar people
  • Enjoys playing near peers

4-6 Year Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is interested in, aware of, and able to maintain eye contact with others
  • Enjoys playing in small groups with children of the same age
  • Is able to initiate and play with another child of the same age
  • Turns head in response to name being called
  • Interested in exploring varied environments, such as new playground or friend’s house
  • Is able to play in new social situations
  • Enjoys playing with variety of toys intended for children of the same age
  • Is aware of risky and unsafe environments and behavior
  • Participates in crafts/activities that involve wet textures, such as glue
  • Enjoys rough but safe play with peers, siblings, or parents
  • Enjoys swinging on playground swings
  • Enjoys playing with new toys
  • Is able to locate objects you are pointing to
  • Enjoys sitting to look at or listen to a book
  • Usually does not bring non-food objects to mouth
  • Is able to play with one toy or theme for 15 minute periods of time

Coordination

  • Enjoys and seeks out various ways to move and play
  • Has adequate endurance and strength to play with peers
  • Coordinates movements needed to play and explore
  • Usually walks with heel toe pattern and not primarily on toes
  • Can maintain balance to catch ball or when gently bumped by peers
  • Is able to walk and maintain balance over uneven surfaces
  • Walks through new room without bumping into objects or people
  • Only leans on furniture, walls or people and sits slumped over when tired
  • Is able to throw and attempt to catch ball without losing balance
  • Coordinates both hands to play, such as swinging a bat or opening a container
  • Coordinates hand and finger movement needed to participate in table top games and activities
  • Is able to color and begin to imitate shapes
  • Uses appropriate force when playing with peers or pets or when holding objects
  • Is able to maintain good sitting posture needed to sit in chair

Daily Activities

  • Is able to use utensils to pick up pieces of food
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to self calm to fall asleep
  • Is able to tolerate and wear textures of new and varied articles of clothes
  • Is able to take appropriate bites of food, does not always stuff mouth
  • Is able to tolerate haircuts and nail cutting without crying
  • Is able to adapt to changes in routine
  • Can take bath or shower, although preference may be present
  • Eats a diet rich in various foods, temperatures, and textures
  • Can drink from a cup and straw without dribbling
  • Need for crashing, bumping and moving fast does not interfere with participation in activities and family life
  • Is able to complete everyday tasks that have multiple steps, such as dressing
  • Frequently wakes up rested and ready for a new day

Self-Expression

  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noises, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to calm self down after upsetting event
  • Is able to transition to new environment or activity
  • Is able to pay attention and is not distracted by sounds not noticed by others
  • Is able to cope with an unexpected change

6+ Year Abilities

Play and Social Skills

  • Is interested in, aware of, and able to maintain eye contact with others
  • Is able to initiate play with another child of the same age
  • Would rather play with a friend or children rather than adults
  • Has several friends and enjoys playing with them
  • Enjoys participating in family outings
  • Enjoys playing in a new setting
  • Is able to resolve conflict with friends or other children without teacher or parent intervention
  • Participates in crafts/activities that involve wet textures, such as glue
  • Is interested in exploring varied environments, such as new playground or friend’s house
  • Is able to play in and accommodate to new social situations
  • Enjoys rough but safe play with peers, siblings, or parents
  • Enjoys playing with new toys
  • Enjoys swinging on playground swings
  • Is able to locate objects you are pointing to
  • Enjoys playing with a variety of toys intended for children of the same age
  • Is aware of risky and unsafe environments and behavior
  • Usually does not bring non-food objects to mouth
  • Is able to think of various ways to play with one toy
  • Is not overly controlling of play with other children
  • Pretend play is rich and varied and does not require adult direction
  • Can start and finish age appropriate activities within a reasonable amount of time

Coordination

  • Enjoys and seeks out various ways to move and play
  • Has adequate endurance and strength to play with peers
  • Coordinates movements needed to play and explore
  • Usually walks with heel toe pattern and not primarily on toes
  • Can maintain balance to catch ball or when gently bumped by peers
  • Is able to walk and maintain balance over uneven surfaces
  • Walks through a new room without bumping into objects or people
  • Only leans on furniture, walls or people and sits slumped over when tired
  • Coordinates movement needed for quicker sport-like activities (e.g. soccer, kickball, hopscotch, and gross motor video games)
  • Coordinates hand and finger movements needed to participate in table top games and activities
  • Uses appropriate force when playing with peers or pets or when holding objects
  • Is able to maintain good sitting posture needed for school tasks
  • Is able to quickly maneuver around peers moving on the playground
  • Participates in challenging tasks that require balance, such as riding a bike
  • Is able to use fingertips to pick up small objects, such as coins from a table or small game pieces (e.g. Lite Brite)
  • Is able to copy simple designs
  • Participates in fine motor activities such as coloring, writing, and cutting
  • Has an established hand preference

Daily Activities

  • Is able to use utensils to pick up pieces of food
  • Has an established sleep schedule
  • Is usually able to self calm to fall asleep
  • Is able to tolerate and wear textures of new and varied articles of clothes
  • Is able to take appropriate bites of food, does not always stuff mouth
  • Is able to tolerate haircuts and nail cutting
  • Is able to adapt to changes in routine
  • Can take bath or shower, although preference may be present
  • Eats a diet rich in various foods, temperatures, and textures
  • Need for crashing, bumping and moving fast does not interfere with participation in activities and family life
  • Is able to independently complete everyday tasks that have multiple steps, such as dressing
  • Frequently wakes up rested and ready for a new day
  • Is able to eat without making a mess
  • Is aware when food is on mouth or face
  • Is able to follow multiple step directions when motivated
  • Can organize self and day to accomplish age appropriate tasks independently
  • Can pay attention in a busy environment such as a classroom
  • Enjoys participating in loud fun settings, such as birthday parties
  • Is not overly controlling of daily tasks such as dressing or mealtimes

Self-Expression

  • Is generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • Has grown accustomed to everyday sounds and is usually not startled by them
  • Has an established and reliable sleeping schedule
  • Is able to enjoy a wide variety of touch, noise, and smells
  • Cries and notices when hurt
  • Is able to self calm down after upsetting event
  • Is able to transition to new a environment or activity
  • Is able to pay attention and is not distracted by sounds not noticed by others
  • Is able to cope with unexpected change
  • Is able to accommodate unexpected touch by others
  • Uses simple strategies to remain calm when experiencing stress
  • Does not require excessive consoling when upset