Developmental Progression of Mastering Functional Skills - Pass The OT
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Developmental Progression of

Mastering Functional Skills

Although being familiar with the average age that a child can be expected to perform a specific skill, it is just as important to know the developmental sequence that a child has to progress through, in order to reach a specific milestone.

The charts below are examples of a different way to approach learning developmental milestones by focusing on skill progression rather than focusing on age.


   Gross Motor Skill    GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

 0-6 months • Rolling
• Sitting (initially with support)
6-12 months • Creeping and Crawling
• Sitting independently
• Transitioning into different positions
• Pulling up into standing
• Standing momentarily without support
• Cruising
12-18 months • Starts walking independently
• Attempts to run, or runs with stiff posture
• Squats down to pick something up
• Crawls up stairs and creeps back down
• Pulls a toy behind themselves while walking
• Throws underhand when sitting
• Climbs up onto big chair and turns to sit
• Starts to jump with both feet
• Throws ball while standing
18 months – 24 months • Walks up and down the stairs while holding your hand
• Runs reasonably well
• Jumps with feet together, clearing the floor
• Squats to play
• Kick a ball forwards
2-3 years • Picking up toys from the floor without falling over
• Throws ball overhand
• Walking while holding a toy
• Walks up the stairs alone with alternating feet
• Walks downstairs with 2 feet on same step
• Jumps from bottom step
• Stands on 1 foot momentarily
• Begins to ride a tricycle, initially moving forward with feet on the floor
3-4 years • Climbing on jungle gym
• Pedaling a tricycle
• Walking up and down stairs with alternating feet
• Jumping with two feet together 5 times in a row
• Walking on tip toes
• Catching a ball (using the whole body, not just arms)
• Participates in gross motor games. 
4-5 years • Performs jumping jacks and toe touches
• Walks up and down the stairs while carrying objects
• Catches a ball with two hands
5-6 years • Begins to skip on alternating feet and gallop
• Throws and catches a small ball
• Stands on 1 foot for 10 seconds
6-7 years • Kicking a soccer ball with reasonable accuracy.
• Walking backwards heel-toe
• Walking on a balance beam
• Using a skipping rope
• Hopping on 1 foot
• Catching a small ball using hands only
• Riding a bike without training wheels

FINE MOTOR- Hand Function     Hand Function Picture of Kid

4 months Voluntary grasp begins

• Bilateral approach
Bilateral approach develops before unilateral approach. Able to reach and grasp a small toy using both hands before starts using either hand

5 months Palmar grasp, no thumb used

• Uses both hands to explore toys

6 months Can only hold one object at a time
7 months Radial palmar grasp

• Transfers object from hand to hand
• Can hold 2 objects at a time

8 months • Index poking
• Radial raking
9 months Inferior pincer grasp

Isolates index finger

10 months Thumb and finger opposition begins
11 months Pincer grasp maturing
12 months Mature pincer grip – thumb opposition and tip of index finger
12 – 18 months Precise pincer grasp – can pick up crumbs

• Holds object with one hand and manipulates it with the other
• Places small objects into a small container
• Places large pegs in a pegboard

18 – 24 months Fisted grip or Palmar Supinate Grip

• Strings two to three beads
• Snips paper with scissors

2-3  years Radial/digital pronate pencil grasp

• Strings four large beads
• Rolls, pounds, squeezes, and pulls playdough
• Unscrews screw-top lid
• Begins manipulating small items within hand
• Snips paper using scissors

3-4 years Static tripod pencil grasp

• Manipulates clay and dough (pinches, rolls balls, snakes)
• Can snip forward along a line (not continuous motions forward)
• Uses non-dominant hand to assist and stabilize the use of objects

4-5 years • Start to use one hand consistently for fine motor tasks
• Cuts along a straight line with scissors
• 4 – 4.5 years of age: Can cut along a straight line, curved line and cut out a circle
• 4.5 – 5 years of age: Can cut out a square
5-6 years  Dynamic tripod pencil grasp

•Cuts out more complex shapes

6 -7 years  Demonstrates controlled pencil movement
7 – 8 years Proficient with most fine motor skills.


 Self Dressing Picture of a Kid    DRESSING 

12 months-18 months • Co-operates/assists with dressing by holding arm/leg out and pushing arm through sleeve and leg through pants opening
• Puts on/removes loose-fitting hat
• Removes socks and pulls off shoes
18 months – 2 years Clothing
• Removes unfastened coat
• Assists with pulling down pants
• Finds armholes in pull over shirt
• Removes shoes if laces untied
2-3 years


• Removes unfastened jacket/coat
• Removes pants with elastic waist
• Puts on front opening clothing such as jackets or open‐front shirts without zipping or buttoning them
• Finds armholes in pullover shirt
• Removes shoes when laces/fasteners are undone
• Puts shoes on with assistance- needs help with correct feet, fasteners
• Attempts to put on socks.
• Unbuttons large buttons
• Pulls zipper up and down- zip with set-up
3-4 years Clothing
• Dresses with supervision
• Identifies front of clothing
• Puts on/takes off front-opening clothing
• Puts on pullover shirts (t-shirt) with some help
• Removes pullover clothing from both arms and attempts to pull over head.
• Assists pulling up socks, needs help for the correct orientation of the heel
• Puts on shoes (right and left orientation may be incorrect)
• Takes shoes off- undoes laces, Velcro
• Buttons 3-4 large buttons at a time
• Unzips front zippers- jacket zipper
• Snaps and hooks
• Unbuckles belt/shoes
4-5 years Clothing
• Removes pullover garment independently
• Consistently identifies front/back of garment
• Puts on socks correctly
• Puts on shoes, needs assistance with tying shoelaces
• Lace shoes
• Fastens smaller buttons
• Buckles shoes/belt
• Zips up jacket
5-6 years 5 years
• Dresses self without supervision
• Ties/unties knots
6 years
• Ties bows and shoelace
• All fasteners- back and front



 Picture of Self Feeding     SELF-FEEDING

4-6 months May begin holding own bottle with both hands
7-9 months • Can hold own bottle when drinking
• Can begin to drink/suckle from an open cup when given jaw support (adult holds cup)
• Begins to hold own food and starts to finger feed solids
• Uses “raking” or “scooping” motion with fingers to secure pieces of food, usually successful
• Begins to use thumb and side of index finger (“inferior pincer” grasp) to pick up small food items and self-feed
10-12 months • Demonstrates a true “suck” & can drink from straw
• Begins to drink from open cup with more jaw control (adult holds cup)
• Begins to use neat pincer grasp to pick up small food items and finger-feed at least half of a meal
• Holds spoon to play, bang, mouth, drop
12-14 months Dips spoon in food, brings spoonful of food to mouth, but spills food by inverting spoon
15-18 months • Scoops food with spoon and brings it to mouth
• Holds cup and drinks from cup independently
18-24 months Uses spoon independently to self-feed
2 – 3 years • By 30 months, can drink from small open cup using one hand
• By 36 months, can use a fork to pierce soft foods and bring to mouth
3 – 4 years Holds cup with one hand while holding straw with other hand to drink
4 – 5 years Can spread soft substances with a plastic/child-safe knife
5 – 6 years Can cut foods with a knife under supervision
5½ – 6½ years Independent- from holding and controlling utensils, cutting food, and bringing fork to mouth



TOILETING   Potty Training: Toddler

12 – 18 months


12 months: Indicates discomfort when wet/soiled

18 months: Sits on toilet when placed (with supervision)

2  – 3 years • Interest in potty training
• Verbalizes when need to go to bathroom
• Washes hand independently
• Achieves regular toileting with occasional accidents
3 – 4 years


• Goes to bathroom independently
• May need help with wiping/fasteners/difficult clothing
4  -5 years


Independent in toileting (tearing toilet paper flushing, washing hands, managing clothing)