Questions about your child’s development? We offer FUN, FREE, and CONFIDENTIAL screenings!
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Early Childhood Screening

Development isn’t just physical. Your child’s brain develops A LOT in the early years. If you have any questions about how your baby or toddler is learning, acting or growing, there is no harm in getting a fun and free Early Childhood Screening. In fact, acting early can make a BIG difference for your child’s future.

To schedule a screening, simply make a referral.

What is an Early Childhood Screening?

An Early Childhood Screening will give you a snapshot of your child’s developmental health, and is appropriate for any child up to age three.

Screenings are usually fun for children, because they happen through play! As we play, our experts will observe how your child interacts with people, toys and the surroundings. We will also ask you about what your child can typically do in everyday life (washing, eating, dressing, sleeping etc.).

If the screening raises any questions or concerns about an area of your child’s development, we’ll talk with you about the results and your options. The good news is, the earlier a challenge is identified, the quicker we can help your child receive targeted support.

early childhood screening

Screening Clinics

The Child Development Center partners with your local school district to offer free screening clinics—sometimes called Child Finds—at least once a year. The clinics are usually advertised locally. Upon request, we can also schedule screening clinics at childcare and early learning centers. If you need details on when and where the next screening clinic will happen near you, contact our Early Intervention team.

In addition, the Child Development Center hosts NICU Follow-Up Clinics provided by Missoula’s Community Medical Center. When a baby enters the world prematurely or with neonatal complications, it’s important to keep a close eye on more than just physical progress after leaving the hospital. The purpose is to help make sure that your baby’s brain can develop as healthily as possible, and to connect your family with additional support if needed. Kalispell Regional Healthcare also works with the Child Development Center to host and administer monthly NICU Follow-Up Clinics at their facilities. When you act early, you give your child a boost!


For more information, send a message to our Early Intervention team, or call us at 1-800-914-4779.

Important Milestones by the CDC:

By 2 Months

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Calms down when spoken to or picked up
  • Looks at your face
  • Seems happy to see you when you walk up to them
  • Smiles when you talk to or smile at them

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes sounds other than crying
  • Reacts to loud sounds

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Watches you as you move
  • Looks at a toy for several seconds

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Holds head up when on tummy
  • Moves both arms and both legs
  • Opens hands briefly

4 months

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Smiles on his own to get your attention
  • Chuckles (not yet a full laugh) when you try to make them laugh
  • Looks at you, moves, or makes sounds to get or keep your attention

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes sounds like “oooo”, “aahh” (cooing)
  • Makes sounds back when you talk to them
  • Turns head towards the sound of your voice

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving

  • If hungry, opens mouth when they see bottle
  • Looks at their hands with interest

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Holds head steady without support when you are holding them
  • Holds a toy when you put it in their hand
  • Uses their arm to swing at toys
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Pushes up onto elbows/forearms when on tummy

6 months

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Knows familiar people
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror
  • Laughs

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Takes turns making sounds with you
  • Blows “raspberries” (sticks tongue out and blows)
  • Makes squealing noises

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Puts things in their mouth to explore
  • Reaches to grab a toy they want
  • Closes lips to show they don't want more food

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Rolls from tummy to back
  • Pushes up with straight arms when on tummy
  • Leans on hands to support when sitting

9 months

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Is shy, clingy, or fearful around strangers
  • Shows several facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised
  • Looks when you call their name
  • Reacts when you leave (looks, reaches for you, or cries)
  • Smiles or laughs when you play peek-a-boo

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Makes a lot of different sounds like “mamamama” and “bababababa”
  • Lifts arms up to be picked up

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Looks for objects when dropped out of sight (like spoon or toy)
  • Bangs two things together

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Gets into a sitting position on their own
  • Moves things from one hand to their other hand
  • Uses fingers to “rake” food
  • Sits without support

1 year

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Plays games with you, like pat-a-cake

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Waves “bye-bye”
  • Calls a parent “mama” or “dada” or another special name
  • Understands “no” (pauses briefly or stops when you say it)

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Puts something in a container, like a block in a cup
  • Looks for things they see you hide, like a toy under a blanket

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Pulls up to stand
  • Walks, holding on to furniture
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid, as you hold it
  • Picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small bits of food

18 months

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Moves away from you, but looks to make sure you are close by
  • Points to show you something interesting
  • Puts hands out for you to wash them
  • Looks at a few pages in a book with you
  • Helps you dress them by pushing arm through sleeve or lifting up foot

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Tries to say three or more words besides “mama” or “dada”
  • Follows one-step directions without any gestures, like giving you the toy when you say, “Give it to me.”

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Copies you doing chores, like sweeping with a broom
  • Plays with toys in a simple way, like pushing a toy car

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Walks without holding on to anyone or anything
  • Scribbles
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • Feed themselves with their fingers
  • Tries to use a spoon
  • Climbs on and off a couch or chair without help