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Early Identification - Motor Skills Milestones

By: Learning Disabilities Association of America (1999)

Developmental Milestones

The course of children's development is mapped using a chart of developmental milestones.

These milestones are behaviors that emerge over time, forming the building blocks for growth and continued learning. Some of the categories within which these behaviors are seen include:

Motor Skills Milestones

There are two categories within the area of motor skills: gross motor and fine motor. Gross motor skills deals with large muscle groups such as walking. Fine motor incorporate the small muscles such as writing.

By age one

  • Gross Motor
    • sits without support
    • crawls
    • pulls self to standing position and stands unaided
    • walks with aid
    • rolls a ball in imitation of adult
  • Fine Motor
    • reaches, grasps, puts object in mouth
    • picks things up with pincer grasp (thumb and one finger)
    • transfers object from one hand to the other
    • drops and picks up toy

Between ages one and two

  • Gross Motor
    • walks alone
    • walks backwards
    • picks up toys from floor without falling
    • pulls toys, pushes toys
    • seats self in child size chair
    • walks up and down stairs with hand held
    • moves to music
  • Fine Motor
    • builds tower of three small blocks
    • puts four rings on stick
    • places five pegs in pegboard
    • turns pages two or three at a time
    • scribbles
    • turns knobs
    • throws small ball
    • paints with whole arm movement, shifts hands, makes strokes

Between ages two and three

  • Gross Motor
    • runs forward well
    • jumps in place with two feet together
    • stands on one foot (with aid)
    • walks on tiptoe
    • kicks a ball forward
  • Fine Motor
    • strings four large beads
    • turns single pages
    • snips with scissors
    • holds crayon with thumb and fingers (not fist)
    • uses one hand consistently in most activities
    • imitates circular, vertical, horizontal strokes
    • paints with some wrist action; makes dots, lines, circular strokes
    • rolls, pounds, squeezes, and pulls clay

Between ages three and four

  • Gross Motor
    • runs around obstacles
    • walks on a line
    • balances on one foot for five to ten seconds
    • hops on one foot
    • pushes, pulls, steers wheeled toys
    • rides tricycle
    • uses slide independently
    • jumps over six inch high object and lands on both feet together
    • throws ball overhead
    • catches a bounce ball
  • Fine Motor
    • builds tower of nine small blocks
    • drives nails and pegs
    • copies circle
    • imitates cross
    • manipulates clay material (rolls balls, snakes, cookies)

Between ages four and five

  • Gross Motor
    • walks backward toe-heel
    • jumps forward 10 times without falling
    • walks up and down stair independently, alternating feet
    • turns somersault
  • Fine Motor
    • cuts on line continuously
    • copies cross
    • copies square
    • prints some capital letters

Between ages five and six

  • Gross Motor
    • runs lightly on toes
    • walks on balance beam
    • can cover 2 meters hopping
    • skips on alternate feet
    • jumps rope
    • skates
  • Fine Motor
    • cuts out simple shapes
    • copies triangle
    • traces diamond
    • copies first name
    • prints numerals 1 to 5
    • colors within lines
    • has adult grasp of pencil
    • had handedness well established
    • pastes and glues appropriately