Monday, May 15, 2023

12-18 Month Educational Goals

Happy birthday! It's been a whole year since my kid left my womb. So, what has she learned since the last update?

Also, the new batches of skills are grouped in 6 month groupings, not 3 months. I haven't decided if I'll start updating less often, or if I'll keep doing the updates every 3 months but just have new skills usually only get added every second update. You'll find out in August which I'm doing, when you see if I do a 15 month update.

Life Skills


9-12 Months

  • Drinks from cup held to lips

  • Reaches for and picks up cup

  • Returns cup to table

  • Drinks from a straw

  • Feeds self with spoon

  • Feeds self with fork

  • Opens packages, plastic wrappers and containers

  • Transfers materials with a spoon

  • Uses utensils to eat

I actually only offered the fork to her for the first time shortly before her birthday, after I started working on this review and realized I forgot about it. She's been doing alright eating stuff I preloaded on it, but it's still very new. We've also barely used any spoons for her, because she's doing great with finger feeding.

She's been drinking fairly well from an open cup held to her lips, and grandma recently fed her a cup of water without any spills! But since that's only happened once, I definitely wouldn't count this as mastered. She occasionally drinks from the cup independently, mainly on her insistence, but when she tries that more water ends up on her and her surroundings than in her mouth - and that's when she doesn't decide to deliberately pour it out for fun!

Straw cups are another matter. I gave in and bought the Honey Bear straw cup because it can be squeezed to help them drink, and the first time I tried it, it went well. But the next morning, I tried it early in the morning and she got frustrated and mad and I ended up crying. I think it triggered a bunch of feelings from my breastfeeding struggles. This led to a discussion with my mom which culminated in her agreeing to take the lead on cup drinking for a while so I can try to relax about it.

She's still learning how to open packages and containers. She has been semi-regularly unscrewing the tops of milk bottles, which is annoying, especially when she doesn't wait for the bottle to be empty first. She doesn't do this if she's actually hungry, fortunately.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's the only new goal I've decided to work on for the next six months in eating:

  • Rinses fresh fruits or vegetables

No progress yet on this. I haven't tried to teach her to wash fruit and vegetables yet.


9-12 Month Goals

Here's the goals we were working on in the past three months:

  • Allows nose to be wiped

  • Wipes own nose on own hands or random objects

She has been making progress on the nose-wiping skills again! I've been finding boogers on random things in her proximity more often lately, leading me to think she's getting better at removing her own boogers. And she's sometimes OK with my wiping her nose if I do it barehanded and it's not too difficult to get the booger out. Definitely not mastered, but it's progress.

12-18 Month Goals

And for the new goals:

  • Cooperates in washing and drying face

  • Cooperates in washing and drying hands

She objects more to face-washing than hand-washing, but currently she objects to both of these. We'll see if that improves.


9-12 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on in the area of toileting:

  • Urinates in toilet

  • Voids bowels in toilet

  • Only urinates in toilet

  • Only defecates in toilet

  • Shows awareness of toileting accidents.

  • Goes to toilet unprompted to urinate or defecate

So, I've decided to mark both peeing and pooping in the toilet as mastered, because she's been doing both fairly regularly. There's only been a few times lately that she's resisted pottying when I know she needs to go, and usually I can get her through the resistance with a bit of persuasion.

She definitely is still having wet and messy diapers regularly enough that I won't mark the exclusive toilet use items as mastered yet - when we're regularly having days where only her first morning diaper is wet, and daytime wet diapers only happen when she hasn't been offered the potty way too long, then I'll mark it as mastered. She's getting there, but not there yet. Meanwhile, her poops are about 50-50 in diaper or potty. So she's definitely not there for poop yet either.

She's only tried to go to the toilet unprompted a few times lately, so that's still a work in progress too. She also only seems to care about having an accident if she's in undies or it's really uncomfortable diarrhea.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's the only new toileting goal I'm adding:

  • Toilets on a scheduled time with prompt

OK, so toileting with a prompt technically isn't a 12-18 month goal. In fact, I previously described it as more of a goal for me than for her and marked it as mastered once I figured out a good schedule for pottying her. Well, I've changed my mind, because just recently, she started actually using the potty on command! She now understands "go pee" and "go potty" and often tries to bear down in response to those commands, which if she needs to pee or poop will result in her doing so.

So I've decided to redefine this skill to focus more on the prompt part of it than the schedule. In line with the new definition, I unmarked this skill as mastered. I consider it a work in progress because sometimes she doesn't want to use the potty and refuses to sit, even though I know she probably needs to go, and she ends up using her diaper shortly afterwards. I think it's because she's bored or excited to practice other skills like standing.

There were some other goals I'd originally planned to start working on at 12 months, but I decided they don't really make sense until she's regularly using the adult toilet, which is still pretty far off.


9-12 Month Goals

Here's the 9-12 month dressing goals:

  • Pushes limb into clothes.

  • Removes socks.

  • Takes off/puts on hat.

She's definitely mastered removing socks. That's easy for her now.

She's sometimes helping push her limbs into clothes, but more often she fights dressing. So, not much progress there.

As for hats, I don't think she's actually worn a hat in a while. It's getting too warm for hats lately, and I prefer hoods anyway. She can remove a hat with effort, but hasn't had much opportunity to practice. And she's never even attempted to put one on.

12-18 Month Goals

And here's the new goals for this period:

  • Removes shoes

  • Assists in the removal of clothes by pulling limbs out of garment

  • Removes pants/shorts without fasteners

  • Fastens stuff with velcro

  • Unfastens stuff with velcro

She's removed her arm from her sleeve a few times, and she has pulled her own pants down a couple times, but she's not doing either of those consistently, and two of those occasions involved oversized clothes. She is consistently removing her arms from the straps of her car seat if I don't push the middle attachment up high enough, which I suppose is a similar motor skill. She's never actually worn shoes yet. My plan is to get her a pair once she can walk independently, and then we'll see how she does at removing them. She has a couple busy books with velcro, but she doesn't really seem to be engaging with it yet. More just grabbing at sticking out bits of the busy book and fiddling with them.

Tool Use

9-12 Month Goals

So this is a new heading, but there is one goal that isn't new. Unfortunately, I think I failed to mention it in the previous update, but here's the one previous goal I'm putting in this section:

  • Uses technology for entertainment

She's been going back and forth on her interest in using smart devices and the computer, but she has been showing some interest lately. Her favorite apps so far are Khan Academy Kids, AIUE Onigiri, and the fireworks game in Baby Games.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's some new goals in this area:

  • Understands that medicine helps them feel better

  • Turns on lights when in the dark

I added the medicine one because she went through a bout of what might have been teething or a minor illness, during which we gave her infant Tylenol, and she seemed to be starting to figure out that it could help her. The symptoms faded and we'll have to wait for another painful condition in order to really know if she understands what Tylenol does.

Only time she's turned lights on was playing with a flashlight app on my phone.


12-18 Month Goals

This is a completely new subject area! Here's the goals we're starting out with:

  • Wipes tables

  • Sets table - brings utensils to table

  • Sets table - brings drinks

  • Puts dishes away

  • Keeps personal area organized

Well, that's an ambitious list (and there's more that I deferred to 18 months). But I think we can start working on her doing some of these with help.

She often holds things for me when I'm fetching things while carrying her, so we definitely could get her to hold dishes and such. I could also give her a wet cloth and try to prompt her to wipe the table with it.

She has been around me while I clean up her toys, but she's more of a hindrance than help currently. But we can work on that, too.

Motor Development


9-12 Month Goals

Here's the gross motor skills she was working on the past three months:

  • Attempts to kick a ball without standing.

  • Climbing on or off of things.

  • Stands upright without support.

  • Walks 2-3 steps without support furniture.

  • Rolls a ball to another.

She hasn't been trying to kick balls lately. Honestly wouldn't be surprised if she ends up skipping this item eventually. I only added this because she was kicking a ball from sitting position at a younger age, but that was when she was far less mobile. Now, she usually glomphs the ball instead.

She has taken one step, once, but none since then.

She is standing independently more and more often now. I'm not marking this as mastered because she's still unsteady and has a time limit on how long she can stand unaided. In contrast, the girl closest in age to her in mom & baby group, who seems to be forming a friendship with her, can stand basically as long as she wants, so that's what I'd count as mastering this skill.

She has the motor skills to be able to roll a ball, and frequently does so, but not at people. Instead, she rolls it off into the open and chases it. So I'm not counting this one as mastered, either, but not from a lack of motor skill - rather, what she's falling short on is the social skill of understanding the ball-passing game.

She has recently developed a love of climbing. She has several toys that have been used as tools to aid her in getting on the couch, and a recent church visit featured her figuring out how to climb the single step up to the pulpit and deciding to do that repeatedly until I forcibly stopped her. She still can't climb regular stairs, though, and is very unsafe trying to climb down, so I'm counting this skill as in progress.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for gross motor skills:

  • Can stoop and grab something off the floor from a standing position without falling.

  • Walks independently.

  • Attempts to kick a ball. [while standing]

She's starting to get pretty good at picking up things from the ground with one hand while still holding onto a piece of furniture with the other hand. I'll probably mark this as basic mastery when she can do that consistently, and full mastery once she's standing independently and stooping to grab things with nothing to hold onto.

The other two goals she hasn't made any progress on yet. She'd have to master the above goal of taking a few steps before I'll start looking at the goal of walking independently, and as I've mentioned she hasn't really been kicking balls at all lately - sitting or standing. But I might be able to stimulate attempts at that by demonstrating ball-kicking, which could be fun.

And in addition, there's a bunch of goals in this age band that she can only start working on once she's walking well:

  • Pulls toy behind them while walking.

  • Walks carrying large and/or heavy objects, climbs stairs carrying objects.

  • Begins to run stiffly.

  • Walking up stairs instead of crawling.

So we'll get back to those once she's walking.

Hand Control

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the hand control goals we were working on:

  • Reaching a hand across the center of their torso during intentional manual activities.

  • Purposefully grasps and releases objects.

  • Controls fingers.

  • Intentionally works with hands to manipulate objects.

  • Holds books the correct way up and turns pages. [cloth or board books]

  • Prehension with pincer grip - small objects.

  • Pokes with index finger.

  • Holds large objects with arms.

  • Turns over container to pour out contents.

So, I'm starting to think that controlling fingers and intentionally working with objects have only stayed on the list this long because they're too vague and I can't tell what mastering them would look like. I've decided to mark intentionally working with objects as mastered because she's doing a variety of different things deliberately to manipulate objects, and has been for awhile. As for controlling fingers, I'm going to keep recording that one for awhile, because a bunch of the examples I recorded are things she still can't do consistently, like trailing wet fingers on the color-changing bath books to change their color.

She's getting pretty good at crossing the midline, so I'm marking that one as mastered. She's also throwing things and  getting really good at petting cats, so she's good at choosing not to grasp something when she doesn't want to.

Regarding books, two months ago she suddenly started really getting interested in books as objects with pages that show interesting pictures. As a result, she's been actively trying to learn how to turn pages, and making progress on this, but it's still a struggle for her.

She's also mastered the pincer grasp, and is using this consistently when she's eating small food items. She also uses it to grab things she's not supposed to eat off the floor, and regularly tries to grab pictures, moles, spilled milk, and other things that aren't actually grabable.

Poking is still in progress. As I mentioned above, she's been getting interested in electronics again lately and that's been fuelling progress on poking since it's a necessary skill to use a touch screen effectively. With her newfound interest in looking at pictures, she's been paying more attention to targets on the screen and trying to interact with them.

She's mastered turning over containers. I found a good deal on cheap Easter baskets and bought a bunch of them for storing her toys under the couch, and she's very good at pulling them out and either dumping them or pulling toys out one by one. If, like me, you have a lot of toys/toy sets for your older baby that have a bunch of miscellaneous pieces, I strongly recommend getting baskets to store them in.

She's been sometimes picking up big things in both hands, but this is still difficult for her.

12-18 Month Goals

  • Throws objects.

  • Increasingly precise work with hands.

  • Uses hands for purposeful work.

  • Tries to imitate scribbling.

She's definitely been throwing things. In fact, I'm going to mark that one as mastered already. She's developed the annoying habit of flinging her milk bottle when she's full or it's empty, sometimes making it hard to find her bottle.

She's starting to get more precision with her hands, but she's still not great at that.

The purposeful work item confused me, so I looked up what "purposeful work" means in a Montessori context. It seems like it's talking about doing a specific task to accomplish a clear goal, especially practical chores and educational activities. She's not really doing that yet. She just kinda wanders around causing chaos and trying things at random. So we'll see if that changes in the future.

She has scribbled a few times, but she's far more likely to try to eat writing utensils than draw with them.


Hearing & Understanding

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the receptive language goals from the past few months:

  • Responds to changes in tone of voice. (L.H&U.5)

  • Recognizes common household words. (L.H&U.12)

  • Recognize that signs produce meaning. (C.FS.K.1c)

  • Responds to "no" by briefly stopping activity and looking at adult. (L.H&U.14)

  • Distinguishes facial expressions (VCSL 8)

  • Joint reference (ex: parent and child look at same object) (VCSL 9)

  • Responds to an adult "pointing" at something. (L.H&U.15)

  • recognise and respond to greetings, farewells, and introductions (CF-J 1-2)

  • Complies with simple requests such as "Give me". (L.H&U.13)

  • Listens with interest to stories and rhymes. (L.H&U.19)

  • Shows interest in illustrations in books. (MBS 2S3-1)

So I think she's going through a receptive language explosion lately. I mentioned above, under toileting, that she's starting to understand when I'm talking about the potty and pee. That's not the only example of how much she's understanding lately.

One time, grandpa asked her "Whose breakfast is this?" while holding dog food, and she looked at the dog. Another time, I was going to go do something while she was playing, so I said I'd be right back, then hesitated and asked "or do you want to come along?" and she crawled towards me. There's other examples - more and more, she's acting like she actually understands what people are saying. So I've marked recognizing household words as mastered in English. (Still working on other languages, but I think she knows some animal names in Japanese.) She also definitely knows that signs have meaning, and I'm pretty sure she understands some signs.

She also is starting to understand no, or at least gets that if she's eating something off the floor and I say "no", she should hurry up and finish before I take it away! She's not particularly obedient, but she does seem to know when I don't want her doing something.

She's sometimes following commands, but not consistently. Her most consistent is peeing on command, and besides that, she also sometimes comes when I call her. She still doesn't show much sign of understanding greetings and farewells, and has shown no sign of understanding introductions.

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure she understands facial expressions and tone of voice. To be honest she has probably been understanding them since before 9 months, but I was just being cautious. Well, I've decided to officially count those two items as mastered.

She's still inconsistent on joint reference and following pointing, but I do think she's making good progress on those. For example, she was very interested in whatever her little friend was focusing on last time we went to mom & baby group, and basically spent a chunk of time following her around and playing with everything she did. (And vice versa, when my baby found something interesting first.) And she seems interested when I point things out, though it's still about 50-50 whether she actually follows the point.

She's also starting to show a lot more interest in books, especially the pictures in the books. I think she's starting to understand what the pictures represent. For example, when grandma was reading One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, she noticed the bad fish immediately and seemed to be trying to point out that fish to grandma.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals in this area:

  • Can identify (by pointing) various body parts. (L.H&U.17)

  • Can comply with simple requests containing action and object (Fetch the toy, hold my hand). (L.H&U.18)

  • Identifies pictures of objects/animals/people in child’s environment (VCSL 35)

  • Follows two part requests e.g. go to the door and open it. (L.H&U.21)

  • Recognizes own name. (VCSL 22)

She has occasionally shown signs of being able to select the correct image in AIUE Onigiri and once in Khan Academy Kids, but isn't consistent about it.

She hasn't been pointing out body parts or following  the more complex kinds of commands at all yet, but we'll see how it goes in the future!

She definitely knows her spoken name. In ASL I've been fingerspelling her first initial for her name, and I'm not sure if she understands that yet. But she definitely knows her name when I speak it.

Expressive Language

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the expressive language goals she was working on:

  • Imitates a large variety of speech sounds. (L.S.14)

  • Choose from an array of preferred and non-preferred items? (CM4)

  • Have an effective way to communicate choices? (CM2)

  • Uses exclamations such as "uh-oh”. (L.S.19)

  • Uses gestures to communicate (ex: come here) (VCSL 28)

  • Begins to point at things with index finger. (L.S.16)

  • Uses negative headshake alone (VCSL 26b)

  • Offering an object to another person to take.

She's imitating a lot of things we say, but I'm not going to mark this as mastered yet because she's not trying to do it consistently.

She's been making choices between articles of clothing to wear fairly regularly, and sometimes choices in other contexts (like the "do you want to come along?" example above) but she still sometimes gives unclear responses, so this is also not yet mastered.

She hasn't said uh-oh or any other exclamations yet.

She's been using gestures a lot and I've decided to mark that one as mastered.

She's starting to point at things, like pictures in books, but this skill is still emerging. She's also just starting to figure out how to shake her head to answer no.

I added the item about offering objects because she started doing this, and she's continuing to do it occasionally. Most of the time it seems like she's trying to taunt people by offering something and then snatching it back, and she's not able to consistently do give and take games with me yet. Sometimes I'll take the thing she's offering out of her hand, and then give it back, and she seems to enjoy this.

12-18 Month Goals

Here are the new goals for this area.

  • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs. (C.L.K.1.1b-1)

  • Says "no" with meaning. (L.S.20)

  • Constantly increases vocabulary using new words every month. (L.S.21)

  • Strings words together to communicate more complex ideas. e.g. "more juice", "Mommy go". (L.S.22)

  • Has words for most objects in environment even if they are not all recognizable or correctly pronounced. (L.S.24)

  • Finger babbles back to conversations or to self (VCSL 24)

  • Points to self and objects in his/her environment (VCSL 25)

  • First ASL signs using simple handshapes (ex: c, a, s, 1, 5) (VCSL 30)

So, since I marked "has some recognizable words" as mastered (for English) when she was 9 months old, "use frequently occurring nouns and verbs" has become the new item for me to excitedly record her new words in - at least when they're nouns or verbs. She's continuing to add more words to her vocabulary. Currently, she's said or signed 32 words at least once, including 17 nouns and 3 verbs. In fact, she has said at least some new words each month since November, so I'd say that she's mastered L.S.21. "No" isn't one of her words so far.

She has said three phrases so far - "good dog", "down dog dog", and "I get up". She certainly doesn't have names for the majority of objects in her environment yet.

She has yet to point at a person yet, only to things.

Lastly, I'm not actually sure if she's finger babbling or not. She's been doing hand motions lately that might be finger babbling, might be stimming, or might be an imitation of her grandma's favorite stim (typing in the air or on a person)*. In any case, she's not doing this conversationally yet. I suspect she's going to start lagging behind the VCSL items more and more as they get more ASL specific, since that scale is intended for infants in a fluent signing environment and I'm definitely not a fluent signer. I have been trying to sign to her more often, though, both key word/SimCom and voice-off signing. It helps my motivation to sign to her that she's signing more to me lately. Her vocabulary includes 8 signs so far 


So, the pragmatics checklist items are getting to be so much I'm putting them in their own category this time.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the pragmatics checklist goals she was working on:

  • Nonverbally compares and contrasts qualities of two objects, actions or situations

  • Blames others nonverbally

  • Interact nonverbally with others in a polite manner

  • Initiates a topic of conversation nonverbally

  • Ends a conversation nonverbally

  • Nonverbally makes apologies or gives explanations of behavior

  • States a problem nonverbally

  • Disagrees with others nonverbally

  • Compliments others nonverbally

  • Asks questions nonverbally to get more information or out of curiosity

  • Identifies feelings nonverbally (I’m happy.)

She is starting to show signs of comparing things. I'll describe these in more detail in the sensory development section, because most of them I've decided are examples of both this item and an item in that section.

She's also been holding up toys to show people, thereby initiating a topic of conversation.

Last time I shared an anecdote about her shaking her head to end a conversation with grandpa. I haven't noticed any further development on the ability to nonverbally end conversations.

A few times she's shown affection to me when I'm upset about her behavior, such as right after she hurt me and I yelped. So I think she's starting to learn how to make apologies.

Sometimes she shakes her head when she's on the potty and I suggest that she might need to pee. That could be an example of communicating disagreement. She's also taken to patting us to show affection, which could be taken as a compliment, and also responding to questions like "do you like (name)?" by showing that person or animal affection.

And when something interesting or confusing is happening, she'll sometimes look at me like she's asking me what's going on.

The rest of these items have shown no progress so far.

12-18 Month Goals

Here's the new pragmatics checklist goals:

  • Makes requests using 1-3 words

  • Nonverbally gives description of an object wanted

  • Requests help using 1-3 words

  • Nonverbally changes the style of commands or requests depending on who the child is speaking to and what the child wants

  • Offers an opinion nonverbally with support

  • Interact nonverbally with others in a polite manner

  • Interact with others in a polite manner using 1-3 words

  • Revises/repairs an incomplete message nonverbally

  • Maintains a conversation (able to keep it going) using 1-3 words

  • Nonverbally interjects appropriately into an already established conversation with others

  • Nonverbally role play as/with different characters

  • Nonverbally role plays with props (i.e., banana as phone)

  • Requests clarification nonverbally

She has been making requests frequently using single words (generally naming the thing she wants). She thanked me once (for giving her a bottle of milk when she asked) and she's signed help a couple times. (The first time I was very confused, because her approximation of help looks more like sit.) Apart from that, she hasn't really done any of these yet.

Sensory and Science

Sensory Development

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the sensory processing goals she was working on:

  • Gain impressions of colour, shape/form, weight, length, dimension, texture, taste, sound (0.SS.012)

  • Discriminate objects by sight (0.SS.021)

  • Discriminate objects by the sense of touch (0.SS.032)

  • Experience timbre, rhythm and beat (0.SS.041)

  • Identify objects by sound (0.SS.043)

  • Experience and identify different foods by smell, taste and sight (0.SS.051)

I've decided to remove the one about gaining impressions because it seems overly vague and redundant to me.

She's been showing a lot of interest in food and seems to distinguish a bunch of foods visually. When I'm preparing food for myself that she likes, she gets excited and tries to convince me to share.

Her most recent Kiwico box came with a set of four discs, two white ones and two black ones. On a couple occasions she's been matching them by color. Once, I was practicing Japanese by saying that some of them were black/white and others weren't, and she really seemed to be deep in thought examining them and trying to figure out what I was saying about them. And on another occasion, I showed her a black one and a white one, and then handed her a second white one and asked "which one is this more like?" and she grabbed the other white one.

I've seen her repeatedly tap different objects to compare the result. When she uses her hand to do this, she might be getting tactile feedback from it, but she's just as inclined to use various implements (such as a xylophone stick) to tap things as well, so I think it's more about auditory feedback for her.

In general, she seems to be a very auditory and musical kid. Grandpa keeps pointing out times that she's noticing and responding to rhythm and beat in music, and recently she was plucking strings on grandpa's electric guitar with an expression of wonder and awe.

There are no new goals in this area, and she continues to work on all of the above.


9-12 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on in this area:

  • Reacts to anticipated future events.

  • Begins to associate names of objects with images.

  • Begins to use objects for their intended purpose.

  • Hides an object inside or underneath something, or puts it in a container.

  • Finds hidden objects.

She's got object permanence mastered pretty well. She's also been putting things in other things sometimes, but I'm not ready to call that mastered yet.

She might have tried to feed a snack to her stuffed giraffe, but I'm not sure exactly what she intended there. She hasn't done anything else like that yet.

She has answered correctly a few times on AIUE Onigiri and the Katakana version of that app, but otherwise she hasn't been doing this yet.

12-18 Month Goals

Here are the new goals for this area:

  • Matches objects to pictures.

  • Pairs identical pictures.

  • Pairs related pictures.

  • Sorts objects by shape.

  • Sorts objects by color.

She's starting to sort the black and white discs I mentioned above by color, but hasn't really shown much sign of sorting anything else by color yet. She's also occasionally matched the same hiragana to itself in the first level of AIUE Onigiri. Other than that, she's not doing any of these yet.

* My mom isn't autistic, but she is on the broader autistic phenotype, and she definitely stims.

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