Developmental Stages & Early Intervention


This section gives parents of children with disabilities a chart of the milestones for normal childhood development. Population: Infants and children with disabilities, birth to 5 years.


Do you know all the ways you should measure your child?s growth? We naturally think of height and weight, but from birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks and acts. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a developmental problem. The good news is, the earlier it?s recognized the more you can do to help your child reach his/her full potential.

Children develop at their own pace, so it?s impossible to tell exactly when a specific child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones below will give a general idea of the changes that can be expected as a normal child gets older.

Three Months:

Begins to develop a social smile
Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
Watches faces intently
Smiles at the sound of your voice

Seven Months:

Enjoys social play
Turns book pages one at a time
Sorts objects by shape and color

One Year:

Enjoys imitating people in play
Reaches sitting position without assistance
Bangs two objects together
Responds to simple verbal questions

Two Years:

Walks alone
Points to object or picture when it is named
Begins make-believe play
Demonstrates increasing independence

Three Years:

Climbs well
Turns book pages one at a time
Uses 4-5 word sentences
Sorts objects by shape and color

Four Years:

Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
Draws circles and squares
Tells stories
Cooperates with other children

Five Years:

Swings, climbs, hops, somersaults
Says name and address
Can count 10 or more objects
Likes to sing, dance and act

Early Intervention:

Broadly speaking, early intervention services are special services for eligible infants and toddlers and their families. These services are designed to identify and meet children?s needs in five developmental areas, which are:

  • physical development;
  • cognitive development;
  • communication;
  • social or emotional development; and
  • adaptive development.

Early intervention services are an effective way to address the needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays or disabilities. The services are made available through a federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA provides states with specific requirements for providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with special needs. In turn, each state develops its own policies for carrying out IDEA and its requirements. Under IDEA, a complete evaluation of the child is necessary to decide whether he or she is eligible for early intervention services.

If your child has special needs

  • If you think your infant or toddler may have special needs, contact:
  • Baby Watch Early Intervention Program at (800) 961-4226 or go to their website at:
  • Utah Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN is a bureau within the Utah Department of Health, Division of Community and Family Health Services that provides services for children who "have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.
  • Maternal Child Health (MCH is a Federal program that helps to fund the CSHCN in each State. There is a Maternal Child Health (MCH) and CSHCN in every state. CSHCN provides direct care (clinics throughout Utah), population based newborn screening (newborn and hearing screening), and case management. CSHCN also helps develop systems of care through special grants and projects.
  • Eligibility for CHSCN services varies depending upon the child's condition and the families financial situation. For details on eligibility for the CHSCN program go to:
  • The Child Health Evaluation and Care (CHEC) program is the Utah State Medicaid version of the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, Treatment (EPSDT) program. Federal guidelines require that every state have an EPSDT program. CHEC provides health care services to children receiving Medicaid. For details on this program, go to:


  • Children with Special Health Care Needs: provides health care services for children with special needs
  • Child Health Evaluation and Care (CHEC):Medicaid services for children in Utah
  • Family Voices: speaking on behalf of children with special health care needs
  • Center for Disease Control ? Learn the Signs, Act Early (development chart)
  • Utah Registry of Autism(development chart)
  • Baby Watch: Utah?s network of services for children from birth to age 3 with developmental delays or disabilities.
  • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHY
  • Utah Registry of Autism
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