8-12 months

Children continue to develop an understanding of the world through coordinating sensory experiences with motor actions. They use the established behaviors that they previously did by accident and apply them to solve new problems. They are planning and coordinating actions in response to thoughts; hence they are intentional.

Cognitive and Communication Milestones

  • Applying established behaviors to solve new problems
    • Put object into container
    • Release one object to reach for another
    • Pull string to obtain object
  • Establish joint attention by reaching, showing, pointing with gaze shift (gaze following and communicative pointing)
  • Immediate imitation of unfamiliar actions, simple play with object, verbalizations of sounds and syllables
  • Awareness of object permanence
    • Find object hidden under a single cloth or retrieve object hidden under cup
    • Look for contents of a box
  • Accommodate to a request (e.g., get [item name], although the item they get might be incorrect)
  • Respond to cues (bye-bye, peek-a-boo) and to "no" or a finger shake
  • Recognize words for common items
  • Communicate with intent using pre-symbolic forms (e.g., facial expression, eye gaze, reaching, pointing, etc.)
  • Babble varied syllable strings and uses those vocalizations to gain attention and/or express demands


Back to Pre-Symbolic