Thursday, September 07, 2023

15-18 Month Educational Goals

Well, I've decided to keep up with the updates every 3 months, at least for now. She's still changing so drastically, it feels like way too long to wait for 6 months.

Life Skills


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the skills she was working on last update:

  • 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

  • Rinses fresh fruits or vegetables

She's drinking from cups pretty consistently. She's still spilling, of course, but that's a later goal. For a long while she was refusing to hold the cup herself - I think worried about spilling it all and not getting any - but just recently she's starting to drink more independently with only minor spilling, so she seems to be getting closer to mastery now.

I haven't really tried getting her to drink with a straw since her birthday. It's just too frustrating for both of us. I read a lot of stuff about how you're supposed to stop bottle-feeding at age 1, because after that age it's bad for their teeth or something like that. But there's no way that was going to happen for her, she's still nowhere near ready for it now. Anyway I ended up getting really down on myself about it and psyching myself out, and also getting triggered about not being able to breastfeed and all the feelings of failure and frustration that led to, so I've basically just given up on getting her ready to quit bottles. And with that, my motivation for working on her drinking from a straw kinda left, too, since she prefers open cup and the main reason I wanted to get her using straws was so I could give her milk without a bottle and not have it spilled all over her.

She's used a spoon and fork a few times independently. She's still nowhere near ready to use them consistently, but I feel like lately she's been more and more motivated to try. Probably because she sees us using utensils and wants to be like us.

I haven't gotten her trying to rinse fruit yet. I'm working on getting her a fully working toddler-height sink, and once I have that, we could try washing stuff with it. Right now she hasn't really had the opportunity.

She's still nowhere near able to open a lot of different kinds of everyday packaging, but she's got a lockbox and is able to open two of the three doors on it, and she recently came really close to undoing a bow I used to tie a bag containing a toy shut. So she's definitely making progress.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's two new goals for this period:

  • Cuts with knife

  • Gets drink from faucet

OK, so I originally planned to start the knife goal much later, because I was visualizing an actually sharp knife and the danger to her fingers. But I got a book about cooking with toddlers that mentioned that a good first introduction to cutting skills is cutting bananas with a butter knife, and I also happen to have a plastic toy knife for her that's about as sharp as a butter knife and more appropriately sized for her hands, so I decided to try it. She didn't have much success actually cutting the banana, but she was very enthusiastic about trying, so we've been working on it. She doesn't seem to fully understand the difference between a fork and a knife - she tends to stab food with both.

As for getting a drink from a faucet, just recently while playing in the tub she figured out how to fill her stacking cups with water from the running faucet. She wasn't thirsty, so she just played pour and refill, but she could have drunk from it if she wanted.


12-15 Month Goals

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

  • Allows nose to be wiped

  • Wipes own nose on own hands or random objects

  • Cooperates in washing and drying face

  • Cooperates in washing and drying hands

  • Cooperates with brushing teeth

Note that I forgot to list the toothbrushing goal last time, but that's been a goal for a long time.

So, she's back to adamantly resisting nose-wiping. She does occasionally wipe her own nose, but isn't doing it consistently. No further progress on either of those goals.

I completely forgot that washing her face and hands were goals. She's generally always been OK with me washing her hands. She used to hate face-washing, but that's getting better lately. I'm debating marking these as mastered, but I'll wait and see.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for this age:

  • Holds toothbrush to teeth

  • Washes and dries face 

  • Dries off with a towel when wet.

She's been very interested in trying to brush her own teeth lately. We've developed a routine where I brush her teeth with the finger brush and then she gets a turn with her little brush, and she'll very often chew on the brush end.

As for washing and drying her face, I planned that for a much older age, but looking through the goals, I figured we could try to introduce that skill now. Apart from a single time she tried to wipe drool off her face with her bib when she was very young, she hasn't made any attempts to do this yet.

She's taken her first swimming lessons, which I'll discuss in more detail later. But one thing she's starting to figure out is that when she's cold and wet as we're getting out of the pool, wrapping up in a towel will help. So I added that as a goal in response to her beginning to show this behaviour.


12-15 Month Goals

Here are the toileting goals we've been working on:

  • Cooperates with being placed on toilet

  • Only urinates in toilet

  • Only defecates in toilet

  • Shows awareness of toileting accidents

  • Goes to toilet unprompted to urinate or defecate

  • Toilets on a scheduled time with prompt

She's still working on these. For a while she was barely going to the potty at all, and it occurred to me that I'd slipped into a habit of taking her too infrequently, so I set reminders on my phone again and she immediately showed improvement.

Currently, she has good days and bad days for using the potty. Sometimes she goes most of the day dry, with just the morning diaper and maybe a couple evening diapers wet. Other times she barely uses the potty at all. Sometimes when she's not doing well I can turn it around by putting undies on her instead of a diaper, but other times that just means wet clothes. I think the biggest problem holding her back is that she lacks any consistent way to initiate going to the potty, so she basically just waits for me to take her and if I don't do it in time she wets herself.

I have been trying social stories about toileting, which I've printed onto printer transfer sheets, ironed onto cloth, and sewn together. She seems interested, and has been flipping through the books sometimes. I've also been acting out pottying with her dolls, and working on self-dressing skills as well. My hope is that we can stop using diapers during the day as soon as she has the necessary skills to use the toilet independently.

She's also developed a habit of peeing standing up in the tub. I've been letting it slide so far because cleanup is easy and at least it's close to using the potty. But I think I'm going to have to try to get stricter with her, because she's also been trying to poop standing up (which does make cleanup harder), and just recently peed on the bathroom floor in the change room at the pool. So I think she's generalizing that behavior inappropriately.

There are no new goals in this area.


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the dressing goals for 12 months:

  • Pushes limb into clothes

  • Takes off/puts on hat

  • 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 been putting her limbs in and out of her clothes a lot lately. She still needs help sometimes, so those aren't mastered yet, but she's learning.

I haven't been using hats with her, because it's super hot outside. So no progress there yet. In addition, she's shown no real interest in trying to fasten or unfasten velcro lately, so no progress there either.

I've been trying to work on removing pants quite a bit because it's one of the roadblocks to potty independence for her. She's able to pull her feet out of pants around her ankles, but she hasn't been trying to push them down much yet.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for this age range:

  • Put a carry strap for a backpack or similar thing on.

  • Puts on pants/shorts with elastic waist

  • Puts on shoes

  • Puts on t-shirt, dress, or sweater with no fasteners

So, I've been working on putting pants on quite a bit, too. She's able to put her feet in her pant legs, but so far she hasn't been able to pull them up yet.

As I describe in more detail below, she's starting to try to put her backpack leash on because she knows it means she's going for a walk. She also experimented once with putting the carry strap for her busy board around her. These experiences prompted me to add this goal for her.

She's also been trying to put shoes on. She's more successful with oversized shoes, like the hand-me-downs a friend of our family gifted me that have become toys for her - shoes that actually fit are more tricky, but she tries. So this is definitely a goal we're working on right now. As with the backpack leash, she also associates her shoes with walks, so it's very motivating!

When she's getting a shirt on, in addition to getting her to help get her arms through, I've also been getting her to help get her head through. What I do is stop with the shirt covering her head, and she starts trying to pull it down in front so she can see. Then I tug on the back to get her head through.

Tool Use

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals we were working on for tool use.

  • Uses technology for entertainment

  • Understands that medicine helps them feel better

  • Turns on lights when in the dark

  • Practices caution around steps and stairs

  • Fit multiple objects efficiently into a single container

Note that I forgot to list the last two goals last time.

I'm going to mark using technology for entertainment as mastered. Of course she still has a lot to learn about the user interfaces of the electronic devices she's used, but she definitely knows how to enjoy them.

She hasn't needed any medication recently, so that goal hasn't been relevant. And apart from playing with a flashlight app, she hasn't had much interaction with light switches yet.

She's been pretty good about being cautious around stairs. She's been obsessed with climbing up and down stairs lately, but she really wants to be sure that I'm there to help if she runs into trouble.

She's gotten very fascinated by containers lately. More often taking things out, but sometimes she puts them back in. She's gotten two different toys from different Kiwico crates that have slots for fitting toys in the top, and she's been steadily figuring out how to line up the toys to fit in the slots. I've also started playing a game I heard about as a Montessori activity, where you fit an egg-shaped toy (in her case a rattle) in a cup. She can reliably remove the egg, and occasionally tries to put it back in.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the one new goal:

  • Uses an object to affect other objects.

I've added this one because I noticed her using the cat wand to knock over stuff that was out of reach otherwise, and realized that I didn't have a goal set for this achievement already. She's done this a few times, but she's not systematic about it yet.


12-18 Month Goals

Here's the goals we were working on in the area of chores:

  • Wipes tables

  • Sets table - brings utensils to table

  • Sets table - brings drinks

  • Puts dishes away

  • Keeps personal area organized

I've recently modeling wiping up spills when I'm giving her a drink from a cup, and sometimes she'll imitate. She hasn't been making any progress on any of the other goals, though. She's much more inclined to bring chaos rather than order to her surroundings.

15-18 Month Goals

Here are the new chores goals:

  • Put clean laundry away

  • Puts letter in mailbox

I've mentioned above that she's fascinated with containers lately - that includes laundry baskets. She usually takes everything out of the basket instead of putting it in, but occasionally she is starting to put laundry back in the basket sometimes.

Her grandma gave me the idea to introduce mailing a letter, by handing us a couple letters and suggesting that I take her for a walk while mailing them. She needed a lot of support and redirection along the walk over, and when we got to the mailbox, she put the letters in but wouldn't let them go. So this is a skill in progress, but that was an excellent first try!

Motor Development


Here's the equilibrium goals she was working on:

  • 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.

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

  • Walks independently.

  • Attempts to kick a ball. [while standing]

First of all - she's walking! I guess I've spoiled that already with my mentions of her leash walks, but yeah. She's not just walking with support, or taking a few steps. She's full-on toddling down the hall giggling while I chase after her. She's still unsteady, but she's getting faster and steadier all the time. She is obsessed with her new motor skill, to the point where it's hard to get her to sit still. Suffice to say, the standing goal and both of the walking goals are mastered for sure. She's also easily able to grab something off the floor while standing, so that's mastered as well.

I'm also marking climbing as mastered. Of course, she's not climbing up play equipment at the park or climbing trees yet, but she is climbing up and down stairs, climbing on and off the couch, climbing into the laundry basket, and so forth.

I've decided to mark kicking a ball sitting down as surpassed, because she's standing and walking so well that she basically never tries to do that. As for kicking a ball standing up, recently her grandpa got one of her uncle's old soccer balls out from storage, and I've been trying to demonstrate how to kick it, but she'd rather pick it up and carry it around. So that's an ongoing goal.

I've also been doing a modified version of Talkbox's Ball Challenge to practice both Japanese and passing a ball. She's just starting to roll the ball back occasionally when I do this.

15-18 Month Goals

Here are the new equilibrium goals:

  • 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.

  • Goes from standing up to sitting on a chair accurately.

With basically all of these, she's done it once or twice but can't do it consistently yet. She can walk up stairs only if she's holding onto something (mommy's hand works best) otherwise she steps up and then puts her hands on the next step to pull herself up. She is able to climb stairs carrying objects most of the time, that item is pretty close to mastered.

Lately she's started sitting down onto my lap sometimes when I'm sitting on the floor, but she's not yet able to do the same with actual chairs or anything else.

She loves to pick up and carry things around while walking, and that sometimes includes large, heavy things. She visibly struggles to anticipate weight - for example, she'll come up to a rock about an adult's hand width and try to pick it up one-handed, and then realize it's too heavy and get her other hand involved. She usually does succeed after the initial failure.

Once, she pulled her little block wagon behind her by its string, but it was upside down. She's also pulled a shoelace behind her to lure cats a few times.

She's toddling faster and faster, but I'd still call it more of a "fast walk" because her gait doesn't change, she just does the same motions more quickly to go faster.

Hand Control

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on for hand control:

  • Controls fingers.

  • Pokes with index finger.

  • Holds large objects with arms.

  • Increasingly precise work with hands.

  • Uses hands for purposeful work.

  • Tries to imitate scribbling.

I've decided to mark controlling fingers as mastered. Of course, there's room for improvement still, but I feel like that falls under more advanced goals like the "precise work with hands" one.

As mentioned above, she likes to pick up things, both big and small, to carry around. This means she's been getting lots of practice lifting things that are bulky or heavy.

She's still working on accurately poking things, but that one's pretty close to mastered, too.

There are no new goals in this area.


15-18 Month Goals

This is a new subject area I decided to track because my baby recently took two weeks of swimming lessons, and I figured I'd like to track how well she's doing in swimming. So, here's the goals in this area, taken from the YMCA Swim Lesson Goals.

  • Water adjustment for child to feel comfortable in and out of the water.

  • Blowing bubbles and getting face wet.

  • Learning front and back float with or without support.

  • Developing arm and leg actions in the water.

  • Introduction to appropriate water safety skills such as entry/exit.

So, adjustment to water is the goal I've seen the biggest change in. I'd previously only taken her in very shallow water a couple of times, so the first day of swim class, as soon as we were deeper than her chest height, she was a terrified little Velcro baby clinging to mom. The second day wasn't much better - partly because it was a cold day and she was shivering - but the third day, she started having fun. And from then on, she was playing with other babies and trying to squirm out of my grasp and try to swim. She is so much more comfortable in water, it's amazing. This one is probably close to mastered already.

As for the rest, so far she's only accidentally put her face in the water, and hasn't enjoyed the experience, but she finds it hilarious when I blow bubbles. She is happy to have me help her do front and back floats, and is just starting to kick occasionally in those positions. She is also starting to figure out the entry routine of counting "1, 2, 3, go!" before jumping into mom's arms in the pool, but she sometimes doesn't want to wait.


Firstly, several of these categories have been getting way too big, so I'm splitting them up more.

Receptive Verbal

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals we were working on:

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

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

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

  • 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)

She's starting to respond to "no" in pretty much the exact opposite way I'd want - either giggling and doing the thing even more, or throwing a tantrum. I think she's starting to understand what it means, though, she's just not inclined to obey it. I also suspect she might understand the ASL sign for no, because I use it for emphasis sometimes, but it's harder to tell.

I'm pretty sure she understands "good morning" and "good night", in terms of how those phrases signal aspects of her daily routine. When she's standing in her crib, she tends to lie back down if I say "good night", and smile and reach for me if I say "good morning". It's harder to tell if she understands introductions yet, but grandpa named a crocheted snake toy I made for her "sneaky snake" after a song he was playing for her, and when I hold up that toy and say "hi, I'm sneaky snake" she finds it hilarious. She also seems to like when I get Sarah Bear (an amputee teddy bear) to introduce herself, which I've done in various languages.

She's starting to come when called (if she feels like it, of course!), and she's continuing to lie back down when I say "it's sleepytime" or "go back to sleep" in the middle of the night, as well as sometimes peeing on command when she's on the potty. As for commands involving objects, she's sometimes bringing objects that we ask for by name, in English ("bring me the ball") or Japanese ("boru kudasai"), but it's not clear whether she knows the names of those objects or just knows we want her to bring something and figures out what from context clues. She's only following one-step commands so far.

As I discuss further below, she's not pointing yet at anything consistently, so she's definitely not pointing to body parts yet.

She's been showing interest in pictures, but doesn't seem to understand that they can correspond to real things as far as I can tell. In fact, she often tries to grab things out of pictures.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals in this area:
  • Answers yes/no questions.

  • Answers questions (ex: where, what)

She's said "yeah" or nodded a few times, and shaken her head no a couple times too, but more often, she answers yes/no questions nonverbally - for example, I hold out a toy and say "do you want this?" and she either takes it or just stares at me with mild disapproval.

She'll sometimes come out of hiding when I say "where's (her name)?", but other than that she hasn't been answering where or what questions yet.

Expressive Language

12-15 Month Goals

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

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

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

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

  • Says "no" with meaning. (L.S.20)

  • 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)

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

  • Waves bye-bye [spontaneously] (VCSL 3)

The last two I forgot to mention last time.

She's been imitating sounds a lot, and even has a game with grandma where grandma makes a sound and she imitates it. So that's mastered.

She hasn't said "uh-oh" or "no" yet, so we're still working on those two goals. She's also been using a lot of nouns, but she's just barely started using verbs, so that goal is ongoing as well.

She's been using a lot of 2-3 word phrases lately, stuff like "I like dog", "hi kitty", "here you go" and, sadly, "mean mommy". (I know, how cruel of me to force her to have a bath when she'd rather stay covered in slimy food! Well, actually, since our water heater wasn't working, I can understand her being upset about it.) She's still mostly saying single words, so I'm not marking this as mastered, but there's definitely progress.

There are also still a lot of things in her environment that she has no words to describe yet, but she's getting there!

She's not really pointing yet. Occasionally she'll touch things with one finger, like pictures in a book, but I don't think it's intended as communication. She also hasn't been waving goodbye.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's one new goal in this area:

  • learning to use subject pronouns verbally

I realized that I didn't set a goal for this, but as you can tell from the above examples of phrases she's used, she has been using "I" and "you" correctly in a few sentences. So she's starting to figure it out.


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals in this new category:

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

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

  • Holds books and turns pages. [cloth or board books]

In addition to moving it from hand control to literacy, I'm editing the book pages goal to not specify holding the book upright. This is a younger version of a Pre-K/Kindergarten level goal, and I think it makes more sense to only start caring about orientation of the book at that age. Anyway, with that modification, this skill is close to mastered. She still sometimes skips pages, though, so I'm not marking it fully mastered yet.

She's becoming very interested in pictures in books, examining the pages very closely and often touching or trying to grab the pictures. However, along with this development, she's gotten less interested in letting me read to her - very often I'll start reading a book and she'll snatch it away from me and start turning the pages and looking at the pictures herself.


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals I'm putting in this category:

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

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

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

  • 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.

I was having trouble figuring out how well she's been doing at joint reference, so I found this questionnaire. And, well, she didn't score well. I turned it into a three point scale with question three split into two and with 4, 6 and 7 reverse scored, and she scored 58%, when it sounds like you're basically looking for 100%. I couldn't find any information about what age group that questionnaire was meant for besides "toddler", but assuming it's relevant, apparently her score indicates concern for autism. (Oh, the tragedy!)

Items 2 and 3b in that scale are actually counted as different goals for my records. Item two is about following a point from an adult - and this is something that my kid is also not doing well at, though admittedly I don't model it much. Item 3b is pointing out things she's interested in, which she has not done.

I've decided that there's not enough difference between the two "making choices" goals I had, so I've consolidated them into one. I'm continuing to offer her choices in clothing when I can, but lately when I try to give her a choice between two articles of clothing, she often tries to grab both, or push past me to start pulling everything out of her laundry basket or baby bag. So we're still working on that. I think I've gotten into a bit of a rut, and I don't think she cares much about what clothes she wears, so I'm going to work on building in opportunities to make choices in other areas, like what she eats or drinks. Recently I offered her a choice between milk and water to drink, and she put much thought to it and eventually picked milk.

As I mentioned above, she's starting to shake her head no, but it's not consistent yet.

Offering an object I'm going to mark as mastered. One of her favorite games is to hand over an object and then ask for it back, and repeatedly pass it back and forth. She's done this with me, grandma, uncle and a classmate in her swimming class so far, so she's definitely generalized it.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the one new goal in this area:
  • Actively engage in activities and interactions with teachers and peers.

She's been getting more social with other kids now. Previously, she would do parallel play, and sometimes watch and follow around other children and steal toys from them. Now, in swimming class, she's been playing the "give and take" game with other kids, and once she got involved in a splashing game as well.

Pragmatics - Shares Knowledge/Imaginings

I'm splitting these goals up into the subcategories that The Pragmatics Checklist comes with, because this is getting unmanageably long.

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on in this area:
  • Nonverbally compares and contrasts qualities of two objects, actions or situations

  • Nonverbally role play as/with different characters

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

She's not playing pretend at all yet that I've seen. Her grandma says they've played pretend together, though.

She is definitely comparing objects, though. Lately she's been really interested in her stacking cups, and has been making the discovery that if cup A fits inside cup B, cup B won't fit inside cup A. However, if cup B fits inside cup C, cup A can also fit in cup C.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals in this area:

  • Provides a nonverbal description of a situation which describes the main events

  • Provides a description using 1-3 words of a situation which describes the main events

Recently she's started using one of her favorite words, "tickle tickle tickle", to comment on ticklish sensations when no one is actually deliberately tickling her, such as when the dog was hitting her bare chest with a wagging tail. So I'd consider that a very simple verbal description of a situation, and therefore a sign that this skill is emerging.

Pragmatics - Personal

12-15 Month Goals

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

  • Blames others nonverbally

  • Identifies feelings nonverbally (I’m happy.)

  • Offers an opinion nonverbally with support

She hasn't blamed anyone yet, as far as I can tell.

Regarding identifying feelings, sometimes she'll respond to someone asking if she likes a family member by showing affection to them - e.g. grandma will say "do you love your mommy?" and she hugs me in response. That's the only example I've seen so far.

I also haven't seen her offering an opinion nonverbally.

There are no new goals in this area.

Pragmatics - Interactional

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals in this area:

  • Interact nonverbally with others in a polite manner

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

  • Nonverbally uses appropriate social rules such as greetings, farewells, thank you, getting attention

  • Criticizes others nonverbally

  • 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

  • Revises/repairs an incomplete message nonverbally

  • Nonverbally interjects appropriately into an already established conversation with others

  • Requests clarification nonverbally

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

She's said thank you a few times, but doesn't know how to say please yet.

She often greets people nonverbally, and often seeks attention, but she rarely does anything to say goodbye.

She's definitely been giving us reproachful looks, pushing our hands away, or crying when we're doing something she doesn't want. I'm not entirely sure how to distinguish between nonverbally criticizing and nonverbally complaining, though. This may be a moot point, though, for reasons I'll get into below.

Once, she shook her head when grandpa tried to get her to play with him. Otherwise, she usually just walks away when she's done with an interaction.

Occasionally she looks at me unhappily or tries to hug me when she's done something to upset me.

I haven't seen any sign of her explaining problems nonverbally.

She sometimes shakes her head no when she's on the potty and I talk about her potentially needing to pee, which I'm counting as disagreement.

The hugs and other affectionate gestures she gives me and grandma and grandpa could be seen as nonverbal compliments, but I'm hoping to see more clear-cut examples.

Currently, when she's misunderstood, she usually just gives up or tries the same thing again, or else just starts crying. She's not really able to figure out how to get her message across better if her initial idea doesn't work.

She rarely tries to enter into conversations happening around her, and the one clear example I've seen was verbal, so I've described it below.

I haven't noticed her requesting clarification yet.

She's been able to carry on a nonverbal conversation with turn-taking for awhile, now, but usually when she speaks, it's for only one conversational turn and no more. The one exception was a time when she signed milk, I gave her milk, and she said thanks ("ak-oo").

15-18 Month Goals

Here's two new goals for this area:

  • Criticizes others using 1-3 words

  • Interjects appropriately into an already established conversation with others using 1-3 words

As mentioned above, she's started calling me mean when I upset her. In addition to the "mean mommy" incident I mentioned above, she also said "meanie" when I grabbed her while she was running down the hallway and interrupted her play. So she's definitely starting to offer verbal criticism.

I've also seen her interject in a conversation verbally on one occasion. I was bragging to my brother about how she'd said "hi dog" and as I was talking about it, with the dog nowhere in sight, she said "I like dog".

Pragmatics - Other

12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals I've put in this area:

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

  • Nonverbally gives description of an object wanted

  • Requests help using 1-3 words

  • Makes requests using 1-3 words

She's been giving me questioning looks sometimes when something is happening, so I think she's starting to ask questions nonverbally.

I haven't noticed her making any attempts to describe objects when requesting them.

She's occasionally attempted to sign help, which is a difficult sign for a small child. She generally taps her hands together to sign it. She's also said that she's "done" or signed out to get out of her high chair, and once she said "up" to get out of her crib. She also often attempts to name objects or sign more to request food and drink.

Language Specific Goals

I'm going to start tracking some language specific goals now. Up until now, I've been counting language goals as complete if she does them in any language, since the ultimate goal is communication. However, since I would like her to be multilingual, in this section I'm going to focus on items that are either specific to only one language, or that she's already mastered in English but is still working on in other languages.


12-15 Month Goals

Here's two ASL-specific goals she was working on last update:

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

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

She's still not really finger babbling. The VCSL scale is meant for children acquiring ASL as a first language, though, whereas her exposure to ASL has been more focused on key word signing as an adjunct to speech, as in baby signing. I haven't heard mention of sign babbling from baby signing resources, so I wonder if it's something that only kids who are regularly exposed to adult-level ASL conversations are likely to do. Anyway, given that she's been using meaningful signs, I figure she's surpassed this stage.

I have been increasing her exposure to ASL, though. I started doing a project where I made a list of kids' books with ASL video translations available online and each week I watch one of the books with her and then try to, over the course of that week, write up a transcript of that book in Stokoe notation. If I'm finished quickly (like with Goodnight Moon) I will then try to learn how to sign that book to her myself in the same week, otherwise I put it to the end of the list to revisit in about a year or so. I've also found that getting her to watch random ASL interpretations of kids' books solo can sometimes be a good way to keep her occupied when we have to stay quiet (for example, when I'm at my mom's office during a meeting with one of her clients), so we've been doing that as well.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the goals I'm going to start tracking now:

  • Recognizes names signs of family members (VCSL 23)

  • Recognizes own name sign (VCSL 22)

  • Recognize common high-frequency signs (C.FS.K.3a)

  • Has some recognizable words. (L.S.18)

OK, technically none of us have name signs, because we're not part of the Deaf community. But I've been referring to my baby by her first initial a lot while signing to her. And as for the rest of us, well, we're mom, uncle, grandma and grandpa. That's what I'm counting for this goal. Unfortunately, she hasn't shown much recognition of any of those signs, but I have been modeling them.

She has used a total of 11 signs so far. I assume she understands the signs she's used meaningfully, but she hasn't shown much understanding of signing otherwise.


15-18 Month Goals

Here's the goals I'll be focusing on in French:

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

  • Has some recognizable words. (L.S.18)

  • Says "mama" for specific person. (L.S.15)

None of the examples of her obviously understanding speech that I've recorded have involved French. She has said maybe 3 French words so far, and only one of them seemed meaningful.

So, she sometimes says "mama" in a way that makes it hard to tell if she's trying to say "mama" or "maman", but my intuition is that she doesn't see those as different words yet. She hasn't attempted to say grandmère, grandpère or oncle yet.


15-18 Month Goals

The goals in Dutch are the same as the ones in French:

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

  • Has some recognizable words. (L.S.18)

  • Says "mama" for specific person. (L.S.15)

The Dutch word for "mama" is "mama", so that's kind of a freebie - I'll be scoring that item on "oma"/"grootmoder", "opa"/"grootvader" and "oom". Otherwise, she hasn't used any Dutch words or shown clear signs of understanding Dutch words yet.


15-18 Month Goals

Here's what she's working on in Japanese:

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

  • Has some recognizable words. (L.S.18)

  • Says "mama" for specific person. (L.S.15)

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

  • Can comply with simple requests containing action and object. (L.H&U.18)

  • Can identify (by pointing) objects in pictures and books. (L.H&U.20)

  • Names at least 3 colors (VCSL 44)

She's shown some signs of understanding Japanese. I can't remember if I've mentioned this already, but I've been using an app called AIUE Onigiri, which is intended for Japanese-speaking kids to practice Hiragana. A lot of the time it asks you to match words written in Hiragana with pictures, and I read the Hiragana aloud to her and ask her "nandesuka" or "dochira desuka" or something like that to ask her which one it is. She's been showing signs of understanding the word for horse (uma) and zebra (shimauma) in this app.

In addition, just recently she's started bringing objects to me when I ask "(object) kudasai", although I'm not sure how much of that is understanding the words vs guessing from gestures and context. I also strongly suspect she understands "arigatou" because she grins whenever I thank her for bringing me stuff. And once, she tapped her knees during a Japanese version of "head, shoulders, knees and toes".

The colors goal is advanced, but once, she pointed at a picture in a book and said "aka" which means red.

Sensory and Science


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on:

  • 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)

It's hard to tell how well she can identify foods since she's not at all picky and will happily eat almost anything. (Even things that aren't food.) However, as mentioned above, I recently offered her a choice between a cup of water and a bottle of milk and she clearly seemed to distinguish between the two.

Lately she's developed a fascination with her stacking cups, as I mentioned above. She's starting to get to the point where sometimes she can grab the next cup without any guesswork or searching, she just knows that this cup is the one that fits best in this other cup. So I think she's making progress at discriminating different sizes by sight.

I haven't noticed any new developments in her discrimination of objects by touch.

She's starting to try to sing words that she's hearing in music. Recently grandma sang the phrase "what a pretty baby" and she sang "baby". The next day, while watching Zaboomafoo sing about feeling "jaguarish", she tried to say "jaguar" in time with the song.


12-15 Month Goals

Here's the science goals we were working on:

  • Reacts to anticipated future events.

  • Begins to associate names of objects with images.

  • Matches objects to pictures.

  • Pairs identical pictures.

  • Pairs related pictures.

  • Sorts objects by shape.

  • Sorts objects by color.

  • Begins to use objects for their intended purpose.

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

She's mastered reacting to anticipated future events. She readily seems to recognize familiar routines and anticipate what's about to happen in a variety of circumstances. The next step would be to start doing the next thing in the routine, which she occasionally does, but I'm counting that as part of a more advanced goal, which I discuss further below.

She hasn't really been showing any progress on the picture goals yet. She's interested in pictures in books and sometimes in her toddler-friendly flashcards, but she hasn't really shown any ability to name or match them yet.

I took her to an activity at the library recently, and while she was there, she started trying to do a shape-matching puzzle for the first time. Because of this, I pulled out her single shape puzzles that I'd previously put away because she seemed too young for them, and since then she's been playing with them. Mostly she likes to grab the pieces and run around holding them, but sometimes she'll actually put them back in. (And sometimes put them in the wrong spots, but I think it's deliberate experimentation rather than a mistake.)

Last time she was sometimes sorting the black and white Kiwico discs by color. She hasn't really done anything new regarding sorting by color since then, and she's kinda lost interest in the discs too.

The "using objects for intended purpose" goal seems to be about pretend play involving objects designed to look like something usable for a task. She hasn't done anything like that yet.

As I said before, she's fascinated by containers right now. She's been hiding things in containers a lot, to the point where I would definitely count this skill as mastered.

15-18 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for this period:

  • Can remember and follow simple one- to two-step routines (such as brushing teeth and combing hair after breakfast).

  • Sorts objects by category (e.g. buttons, animals, beads etc.).

The one about routines was supposed to be for ages 3-9, but then she tried to put on her shoes, and after I helped her get them on, she found my shoes and showed them to me. I realized that she might want a walk and showed her her backpack leash and she tried to put her arms through the straps. So she clearly has learned that a leash walk requires those three things.

She hasn't started sorting objects by categories yet.


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