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An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective on Typical Development in Infants Cont.: 5 years

At five years old, children become more self-sufficient with their daily needs. They should be able to use the bathroom and eat independently. While they may not fully understand dollars and cents, they have a concept that money is valuable and is used to buy things in varying amounts. This can be a good time to start explaining to your child what each coin and bill is worth while giving simple examples of what items can be bought with each amount. The following are some guidelines for the milestones your child will be reaching at this time:

Social and Emotional Development:

Wants to please friends and be like them

More likely to agree with rules

Likes to sing, dance, and act

Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe

Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed])

Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative

Communication Development:

Speaks very clearly

Tells a simple story using full sentences

Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.”

Says name and address

Cognitive Development:

Counts 10 or more things

Knows about things that are used every day, like money and food

Gross Motor Development:

Hops; may be able to skip

Can do a somersault

Swings and climbs

Fine Motor Development:

Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife

Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts

Can print some letter and numbers

Copies a square and triangle


While every child develops at their own rate, there are basic milestones that a child this age should reach. If your child does not show a wide range of emotions, does not respond to other people’s initiation of a conversation or gesture, and rarely makes eye contact, these can be early signs of autism. If your child has extreme difficulty focusing on a task for more than a minute or two, acts out or gets angry often and is easily distractible, these signs may be indicative of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Occupational therapy can benefit children with behavioral and focusing difficulties and help them develop the skills they need to perform successfully in their daily activities.




Robin (Rivky) Akselrud, MS, OTR/L is a licensed occupational therapist. David (Yakov) Ettinger, PT, DPT, GCS is a Doctor of Physical Theray and is a Board Certified Geriatric Specialist. Their state-of-the-art outpatient treatment facilty for adult and pediatric rehabilitation, Forward Physical and Occupational Therapy is located at 3815 13th avenue. Please contact us at (718) 677-6777 to schedule an appointment so we can help YOU move FORWARD!

Most major insurances accepted.


Occupational Therapy is NOW available in Flatbush! Come and see our new clinic at 2918 Avenue M(between east 29th street and Nostrand Avenue)