14 Jul An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective on Typical Development in Infants 18-24 months Cont.
by Zahava Pollack
During the age of 18-24 months, while toddlers are still attached to their parents, begin to take more initiative in doing things on their own. Their play also becomes more complex as they can manipulate moving parts on a toy, complete simple puzzles and engage in imaginary play. The following are some milestones which your child should reach at this stage:
• Cognitive Development: Children start to recall recent events and actions, understand symbols, imitate, imagine, and are involved in pretend play.
• Emotional and Social Development: Toddlers form strong emotional attachments and often feel uneasy when separated from their loved ones. However this is also the time when they begin to express their desire for autonomy. Starting at 18 months a child should be able to pull off their hat, mittens, socks, shoes, and coat and pull their pants up and down by themselves. With a little assistance they can wash and dry their hands and attempt to brush their teeth. In terms of self-feeding, they should be able to eat finger foods, use a spoon to scoop up food and drink from a cup independently. It’s important to encourage your child to attempt new things by themselves. Try not to allow your fear of the child dirtying their face or cloths stop you from allowing him or her to eat by themselves. The more you let them explore, the more they will surprise you with how much they are capable of.
• Language Development: They understand 10 times more words than they can speak. By their second birthday, most children can say at least 50 words and string 2-3 words together as a sentence.
• Sensory Development: At this stage, children love to mold and squash play dough. While pushing and poking the material into shapes.
• Gross Motor Development: They gain control and coordination and become steady walkers. Climbing, running, and jumping soon follow.
• Fine Motor: They can build a tower of 3-6 cubes and imitate a vertical line and a circle.
Children who are resistant to touch play dough, putty, mud or even tomato sauce while preparing dinner, can benefit from occupational therapy to help them become less sensory avoiding. Occupational therapy can also help those who are falling behind in their self-feeding, dressing and coloring skills. While these things may seem like a chore, try and make these activities fun and exciting for your child so they will continue to practice these skills on their own.