What is Typical Development? This is a common question asked, searched, and wondered by many parents since the pandemic. The internet has a variety of mixed developmental milestones that can make this google search very confusing. Our speech therapists and occupational therapists have done intensive research on this subject as well as seen many children with a variety of diagnoses throughout their years of experience. Here is what a typical developing child should be doing at 12-18 months of age!

Speech and Language: 

Receptive Language (what you understand):

  • understands many words and simple commands
  • understands the word “no”
  • begins to understand simple yes/no questions
  • words are understood outside of routine games. routine games include “ready, set, go” and “one, two, three”

Expressive Language (verbal language):

  • uses one-word utterances
  • says up to 50+ different words and uses gestures to help convey message
  • uses over extensions (e.g., calls all animals “dogs”)
  • first words are mostly for commenting (actions, objects, people, existence)

Play/Social Development:

  • communicates with others about 5 times per minute
  • reacts strongly to separation from parent
  • brings toys to share with parent (15-18 months)
  • laughs in response to silly events
  • begins to prefer interaction with peers

Occupational Therapy:

Fine/Visual Motor:

  • points using index finger
  • scribbles on paper
  • uses fine pincer grasp
  • plays with toys at midline
  • attempts simple puzzles
  • holds object in both hands
  • stacks blocks

Gross Motor Skills:

  • maintains kneeling balance while rotating head
  • walks independently
  • climbs up stairs (hands and knees)
  • climbs down backwards
  • squats to pick up toys
  • beginning to run
  • throws a ball

Self-help Skills:

  • uses spoon (can be messy)
  • holds and drinks from a cup
  • takes off shoes and socks
  • shows discomfort when wet

Sensory Processing (regulation):

  • enjoys messy play
  • reacts to sensations (sound, sight, touch, taste)


  • understands how objects work
  • identifies body parts
  • uses trial and error and problem solving in pretend play

Contact Express Yourself Therapy to receive more information!