I would like to know if there is any scientific literature on the detailed developmental milestones in different domains(cognitive, language etc.,) that a child of a given age is supposed to reach.

A couple of e.g.,

  1. The child does not feel the need to resist/communicate when a unknown person takes his belongings before him. I would like to understand the reason behind this, it could be that he does not have a sense of ownership over his belongings, or he is not paying enough attention to what is happening around him or it could be that he does not know how to react to that situation.

  2. The child does not give correct answers to questions on what happened in the past e.g., what did you eat for breakfast? The reason could be that he does not understand the question, or he is not able to recollect what he was eating may be because he was not paying enough attention or his abstract thinking ability is not mature enough.

The reasons that I discussed for the above observations are purely based on my understanding of his condition(and therefore could be wrong) and not based on any scientific evidence. I would like to know if there is literature which could throw light on each such small milestone(for lack of a better word) that a child of a given age is supposed to reach and the prerequisites understanding he should have for reaching there. These subtle behaviors are usually not mentioned in milestone charts available with a pediatrician.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you talked to your pediatrician? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 14, 2022 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Yes I did, we did get a milestone chart which broadly covers the major milestones(and the red flags) that a typically developing child is supposed to reach but what I am really interested in is these subtle behaviors like the ones that I mentioned which usually are not problems for a typically developing child but needs attention in case of a kid with developmental disorder. I am trying to find literature which tracks these subtle behaviors/milestones and the possible reason why the kid is struggling with them. $\endgroup$ Jul 15, 2022 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. You can find developmental stages on Wikipedia, but I'm skeptical that even the broad ones are all that useful, as all the proposed stages I've seen in psychology are under heavy debate, so detailed ones will be even worse off. There is just too much variation in human behaviour for a useful list. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jul 15, 2022 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


A good resource for psychological development is:

Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2017). Life-span human development 9th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing.

A sample can be viewed at https://read.amazon.co.uk/sample/B0B4HM74RH?f=1&l=en_GB&r=9c594c00&rid=BYKJA17MSRREJFXQKE88&sid=258-8304090-2678614&ref_=litb_m

A point of note

As mentioned in the comments, if you want to study the milestones in detail like that you will need to bear in mind the fact that every psychologically healthy child can develop at different rates, and so the milestones cannot be followed rigidly. They serve as a guideline only.

The whole literature needs to be borne in mind, as the developmental theories behind the milestones do have their critics, and the development of these developmental theories will need to be fully understood.

My answer to a question on development at https://psychology.stackexchange.com/a/17211/7604 will give you a small glimpse into what I am talking about here.


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