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Early Identification - Social Skills Milestones

By: Learning Disabilities Association of America

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:

Social Skills Milestones

By one:

  • smiles spontaneously
  • responds differently to strangers than to familiar people
  • pays attention to own name
  • responds to no
  • copies simple actions of others

Between ages one and two:

  • recognizes self in mirror or picture
  • refers to self by name
  • plays by self; initiates own play
  • imitates adult behaviors in play
  • helps put things away

Between ages two and three:

  • plays near other children
  • watches other children; joins briefly in their play
  • defends own possessions
  • begins to play house
  • symbolically uses objects, self in play
  • participates in simple group activity
  • knows gender identity

Between ages three and four:

  • joins in play with other children; begins to interact
  • shares toys; takes turns with assistance
  • begins dramatic play, acting out whole scenes

Between ages four and five:

  • plays and interacts with other children
  • dramatic play is closer to reality, with attention paid to detail, time, and space
  • plays dress-up
  • shows interest in exploring sex differences

Between ages five and six:

  • chooses own friends
  • plays simple table games
  • plays competitive games
  • engages in cooperative play with other children involving group decisions, role assignments, fair play

Learning Disabilities Association of America (1999)