Development is a continuous process that begins at conception and proceeds stage by stage in an orderly sequence. There are specific milestones in each of the six areas of development (cognitive skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language skills, social development and self-help skills) that serve as prerequisites for the stages that follow. Most children are expected to achieve each milestone at a designated time, also referred to as a "key age," which can be calculated in terms of weeks, months or years. Because of specific challenges associated with Down syndrome, babies will likely experience delays in certain areas of development. However, they will achieve all of the same milestones as other children, just on their own timetable. In monitoring the development of a child with Down syndrome, it is more useful to look at the sequence of milestones achieved, rather than the age at which the milestone is reached.

 

Milestone Range for Children with Down Syndrome Typical Range
Gross Motor
Sits Alone 6 - 30 Months 5 - 9 Months
Crawls 8 - 22 Months 6 - 12 Months
Stands 1 - 3.25 Years 8 - 17 Months
Walks Alone 1 - 4 Years 9 - 18 Months
Language
First Word 1 - 4 Years 1 - 3 Years
Two-Word Phrases 2 - 7.5 Years 15 - 32 Months
Social/Self-Help
Responsive Smile 1.5 - 5 Months 1 - 3 Months
Finger Feeds 10 - 24 Months 7 - 14 Months
Drinks from Cup Unassisted 12 - 32 Months 9 - 17 Months
Uses Spoon 13 - 39 Months 12 - 20 Months
Bowel Control 2 - 7 Years 16 - 42 Months
Dresses Self Unassisted 3.5 - 8.5 Years 3.25 - 5 Years

Reference

The information featured in this section is reproduced via an exclusive arrangement with National Down Syndrome Society [ONLINE] Available at http://www.ndss.org