Development Charts for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

A visually impaired baby boy in PT reaches for a toy.

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Watching your child grow and fall behind traditional development charts can be difficult. You understand that it’s normal for blind babies to develop at a slower pace, but how slow is normal… and how slow is too slow?

We used three sources (Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairment: A Manual for Early Intervention, Helping Children Who are Blind, and Children with Visual Impairments) to compile development charts in five different areas that tell you what skills your blind or visually impaired child should have at certain age groups:

These are, of course, just guidelines. Use these charts as a checklist so you can identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The goal here is that your child always moves forward. All children, especially those with special needs, develop at their own rate, but we always want to see them progressing. Talk to your doctor immediately if you notice your child regressing or moving backward.


Social and Emotional Development Chart for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

Age GroupMilestones
Birth to 3 monthsRecognizes caregiver’s voice
Can be soothed by voice or touch
Smiles when played with
4 to 6 monthsInitiates request for attention
7 to 9 monthsDifferentiates between familiar & unfamiliar people
Shows stranger anxiety
Shows fear of separation
10 to 12 monthsUses gestures
Cries when caregiver leaves
Begins to enjoy social games like peek-a-boo
22 to 24 monthsImitates caregiver
Plays alongside other children
Asks others when needs help
3 yearsEnjoys helping around the house
Likes to be praised after doing simple tasks
Is aware of people’s feelings
5 yearsPlays with other children
Understands rules
Expresses many feelings

Click here to download a printable version of the Social & Emotional Development Chart.


Communication Development Chart for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

Age GroupMilestones
Birth to 3 monthsDifferentiated cries (has different cries for different wants)
Responds to familiar voices
Reacts to sudden sounds
Ignores certain sounds & attends to others
4 to 6 monthsTurns toward sound
Makes 3 different vowel sounds
Imitates vocalization
7 to 9 monthsProduces vowel-consonant combinations (ex. ga-ga or ba-ba)
Recognizes familiar sounds or phrases
10 to 12 monthsUses gestures
Responds appropriately to familiar requests
Jabbers expressively
Begins to name things
13 to 15 monthsAnticipates routines in response to a familiar request
Uses 2 words appropriately
16 to 18 monthsUses words to make wants known
19 to 21 monthsUses 8 words appropriately
Strings 2 words together (ex. “ma-ma bye-bye”)
22 to 24 monthsUses 2 & 3-word sentences
3 yearsUnderstands most simple language
Communicates clearly
5 yearsTalks about what he or she has done
Asks many questions

Click here to download a printable version of the Communication Development Chart.


Cognitive Development Chart for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

Age GroupMilestones
Birth to 3 monthsRecognizes primary caregiver
Plays with rattle
Cries when hungry or uncomfortable
4 to 6 monthsTurns toward sound
Places objects in mouth
Shows preference in play materials
Reaches for object in contact with body
7 to 9 monthsExplores different textures
Uncovers toy
Pulls string to activate toy
Searches briefly for object lost from grasp but not in contact with body
Reaches for object based only on sound cue
Places object in container upon request
10 to 12 monthsMoves or gestures toward you when called
Locates fixed (constant) object (ex. Highchair, table, etc.)
Puts many objects in container
Learns that an object exists even if out of sight
Works to solve simple problems
Begins to understand cause & effect
13 to 15 monthsUses 2 related objects (ex. strikes drum with stick)
Uses object to perform social action (ex. brushes hair, puts on necklace, etc.)
22 to 24 monthsMatches objects
Pays attention to activities longer
3 yearsFits shapes into matching holes
Sorts objects
Takes things apart & puts them together
5 yearsFollows simple directions & does simple puzzles
Understands counting

Click here to download a printable version of the Cognitive Development Chart.


Fine Motor Development Chart for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

Age GroupMilestones
Birth to 3 monthsPlays with hands
Uses hands for purposeful action
Retains object placed in hand
Plays with toys that produce sound
4 to 6 monthsReaches for object in contact with body with 1 hand (rather than 2)
Places objects in mouth
Uses pads of fingertips to grasp small objects
Transfers object from hand to hand
Brings object to midline
Pulls objects out of container
7 to 9 monthsExplores different textures
Places object in container
Pulls string to activate toy
Plays pat-a-cake
10 to 12 monthsPlaces one peg repeatedly into hole
22 to 24 monthsStacks large objects
3 yearsUses hands for complex tasks
Throws a ball
5 yearsCopies simple shapes

Click here to download a printable version of the Fine Motor Development Chart.


Gross Motor Development Chart for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

Age GroupMilestones
Birth to 3 monthsHolds head steady while being moved
Lifts head up when on belly
Elevates self by arms when on belly (totally blind or light perception only babies may not do this until after they roll from back to belly)
4 to 6 monthsSits with some support
Rolls from belly to back, from back to belly
Sits alone steadily
Pulls to standing (while holding your hands)
Moves forward through crawling, creeping, or any other method
7 to 9 monthsPulls self to sitting position
Pulls to standing position (using furniture)
Sits down
Attempts to walk (while holding your hand)
Creeps forward on hands and knees 3 feet or more
Takes coordinated steps (while holding your hand)
10 to 12 monthsStands alone
Bends down to pick up object
Walks sideways holding on to furniture
Walks alone (3 steps)
Walks alone with good coordination (5 steps)
Pushes small obstacles out of the way
Walks about house or yard independently
13 to 15 monthsMoves around large obstacle
Walks up stairs with help, down stairs with help
22 to 24 monthsSquats
3 yearsRuns, jumps, climbs
5 yearsEasily walks backward
Hops on 1 foot

Click here to download a printable version of the Gross Motor Development Chart.

Read this article in Arabic: حيوا-السيدة-العمياء

Development Charts for Blind and Visually Impaired Babies and Children

The information WonderBaby provides is not intended to be, and does not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. Always consult with a qualified medical professional about your specific circumstances.


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