This is what you can expect at 12 months
This is the first in a series of articles that will present a comprehensive picture of children at different ages. In each article, I will also discuss clues that may indicate various difficulties that require your attention. Let's begin with 1-year-olds.
How do I move at 12 months?
At this age, I can sit independently. I can crawl around and soon, if I haven't already succeeded, I will take my first steps. I can stand and shuffle sideways when holding on to furniture. I can move forward on my own when pushing a toy with wheels. I can squat down to pick a toy up off the floor while keeping my other hand on furniture to stabilize myself.
In terms of fine motor skills, I am now able to grab hold of items that are handed to me. Once they are in my hand, I like to put objects in my mouth. I am beginning to adapt my grasp to the size and shape of objects. I can also point to an object I want and hold tiny items, such as small pieces of food, between my thumb and index. I can begin to hold a large crayon and use it to scribble on a very large piece of paper. I can clap and wave when a visual model is provided.
At 12 months, how do I communicate?
After my first birthday, you will hear my first words. I can now say "Mommy" and "Daddy" as well as a few other words that are part of my daily life. Babbling is common. I also like to play with my voice. Prepare to hear me scream and produce a variety of sounds with my mouth. I use gestures to help others understand me.
At 12 months, how do I play?
At this age, I mainly play alone. I like to explore and I am very curious. However, I establish very little contact with others. I am in exploratory mode. I am interested in discovering my environment. I have very little interest in other children...but that will soon change.
At 12 months, how do I understand my environment?
I am beginning to associate certain animal sounds to the correct animals (a dog barks, a cat meows, etc.). I understand the concept of "action-reaction". I will look for an object that has fallen on the floor. I can now understand a few simple instructions that are part of daily life. I can point to certain body parts on demand. My memory is limited; you will therefore have to repeat the same instructions many times.
At 12 months, what should you be worried about?
After my first birthday, you may begin early screening or, at the very least, keep an eye on certain red lights. Here is a list of things you can watch for:
- I do not move around at all.
- I cannot remain seated on my own for a few minutes.
- I cannot pull myself up to a standing position while leaning on furniture.
- I cannot hold an object in my hand.
- I am unable to use the pincher grasp to pick up small pieces of food.
- I cannot bang two objects together or drop them in a container.
- I do not search for an object that is hidden.
- I do not produce sounds with my mouth.
- I do not pronounce words.
- I remain passive and never make requests.
- I don't seem to understand simple verbal messages that are part of daily life.
And there's an overall picture of what you can expect at 12 months. Watch for upcoming articles for other age groups.