Early Help Makes a Difference!

Young children learn and develop differently. One baby might walk earlier than another, while another baby might talk first. Often these differences will even out.

Look at the checklist below inside for signs that your infant or toddler may need extra help. If you have concerns about your baby's development, the earlier you get help the better. Early help does make a difference!

Where Can Parents Get Help?

Call the Early Intervention Program in your county. You will be put in touch with someone to evaluate your child's development. Then, if your child is eligible, together with the Early Intervention Program, you'll make a family-centered plan.

What Help is Available?

Early intervention services are provided to help your child grow and develop, and to help you support and promote your child's development. These services include evaluation services (such as hearing and vision screening); home visits; speech, physical and other therapies; child development groups; family counseling; and, sometimes, even help with transportation. These services are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to you.

What Children Need Early Help?

Any child from birth to age three with a developmental delay, disability or condition that affects development may need help.

Who Do I Call?

  • For the phone number of your county's program, call the New York State "Growing Up Healthy" 24-hour Hotline at 1-800-522-5006
  • In New York City, call 311
  • If you are calling the New York City Early Intervention Program from outside New York City, call 212-639-9675
  • Or visit the New York State Department of Health Web page at www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/

Checklist for Growing Children

Here's what you can expect your child to be doing from birth to age three. If you have concerns about your baby's development, call your local Early Intervention Program.

At three months of age, most babies:

  • turn their head toward bright colors and lights
  • no longer "cross their eyes" while trying to focus. They move both their eyes in the same direction at one time.
  • recognize bottle or breast
  • respond to their mother's voice
  • make cooing sounds
  • bring their hands together
  • wiggle and kick with arms and legs
  • lift their head while lying on their stomach
  • become quiet in response to sound, especially to speech
  • smile

At six months of age, most babies:

  • follow moving objects with their eyes
  • turn toward the source of normal sound
  • reach for objects and pick them up
  • switch toys from one hand to the other
  • play with their toes
  • help hold the bottle during feeding
  • recognize familiar faces
  • imitate speech sounds
  • respond to soft sounds, especially talking
  • roll over

At 12 months of age, most babies:

  • get to a sitting position
  • pull to a standing position
  • stand briefly without support
  • crawl
  • imitate adults using a cup or telephone
  • play peek-a-boo and patty cake
  • wave bye-bye
  • put objects in a container
  • say at least one word
  • make "ma-ma" or "da-da" sounds

At 18 months of age, most children:

  • like to push and pull objects
  • say at least six words
  • follow simple directions ("Bring the ball")
  • pull off their shoes, socks and mittens
  • can point to a picture that you name in a book
  • feed themselves
  • make marks on paper with crayons
  • walk without help
  • walk backwards
  • point, make sounds, or try to use words to ask for things
  • say "no," shake their head or push away things they don't want

At two years of age, most children:

  • use two- tothree-word sentences
  • say about 50 words
  • recognize familiar pictures
  • kick a ball forward
  • feed themselves with a spoon
  • demand a lot of your attention
  • turn two or three pages together
  • like to imitate their parent
  • identify hair, eyes, ears, and nose by pointing
  • build a tower of four blocks
  • show affection

At three years of age, most children:

  • throw a ball overhand
  • ride a tricycle
  • put on their shoes
  • open the door
  • turn one page at a time
  • play with other children for a few minutes
  • repeat common rhymes
  • use three- to five-word sentences
  • name at least one color correctly

If your child is having trouble doing some of these things, it may put your mind at ease to talk to someone. Early help makes a difference!

Talk with your doctor or call your local Early Intervention Program.