Getting Started: 0-3

An introduction to Colorado’s Early Intervention system

Since 1964, Colorado has been helping families and their children with developmental delays and disabilities. Through the years, Colorado’s early intervention system has guided families along the way, in order to support infants and toddlers, who need extra help developing and learning to reach their fullest potential.

In Colorado, the overall system of early intervention is known as Early Intervention Colorado. Early Intervention Colorado includes the federal Part C program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. This federal law is often referred to by its nickname “IDEA”. The purpose of IDEA, Part C is to support early intervention for children with developmental delays or disabilities. Part C is all about helping parents and families meet the developmental needs of their infants and toddlers. The words “parents” and “families” are used to mean anyone who is in charge of the care and wellbeing of a child. These can be legal guardians, single parents, grandparents, surrogate parents, foster parents, or other family members.

The Early Intervention Colorado website is at:

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Division for Developmental Disabilities administers the early intervention system in Colorado. The state contracts with twenty local agencies statewide who are designated as Community Centered Boards to provide early intervention service coordination to infants, toddlers, and their families.

Imagine! is the organization responsible for coordinating the local early intervention system in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Child Development Milestones

  • How do I screen my child's development?

    The following examples provide parents and caregivers with information about young children’s learning and development from birth through 4 years old. Of course, each child develops at his or her own pace, and there is a broad range of what is considered typical development among young children. However, development generally occurs in a predictable sequence and children about the same age will acquire the same skills.

    You know your child best, so you’re likely to make the most accurate observations about your child’s development. Follow your instincts. If you are worried about how your child is developing, talk with a professional. You can request a free evaluation at any time to answer questions about your infant or toddler’s development, and determine whether your child may benefit from early intervention supports and services. To begin that process call Early Intervention Colorado (toll-free) 1-888-777-4041. If your child is a 3 or 4 year old, contact your local school district.

  • Most Babies from Birth to 3 months old ...
    • cry to show discomfort or fatigue and quiet when comforted
    • use eyes to follow people and objects and gaze at caregiver
    • react to sudden movements or noises
    • move arms and legs easily
    • smile and make gurgling and cooing sounds
    • hit or kick an object to make a pleasing sight or sound continue
    • lift head up while lying on their tummy
  • Most Babies 3–6 months old ...
    • reach for and grasp toys
    • look toward an interesting toy or sound
    • explore by banging, rattling and dropping objects
    • hold head up without support
    • laugh aloud in response to touches or sounds
    • roll over
    • make babbling sounds
    • smile at familiar faces
  • Most Babies 6–9 months old ...
    • imitate the sounds made by parents
    • sit up without support
    • use sounds to get your attention
    • know strangers from family
    • respond to their own name
    • pass objects from hand to hand
  • Most Babies 9-12 months old ...
    • follow simple requests (“Give it to me.”)
    • pick up items using their thumb and index finger.
    • jabber word-like sounds
    • begin to use gestures to let you know what she wants and needs (wave bye-bye, shake head no, etc.)
    • creep or crawl
    • pull self to a standing position and may walk holding onto furniture or hands
    • hug, pat, kiss familiar people
  • Most Toddlers 12–15 months old ...
    • begin walking with help
    • say “dada” and “mama” and a few other words
    • like social games like pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
    • go to a familiar adult for affection, help, or comfort
    • feed self cracker or other finger foods
    • look when you call them by name
    • repeat actions that produce laughter and attention
  • Most Toddlers 15–18 months old ...
    • take off their own shoes, socks and easy-to-remove clothing
    • walk alone or with very little help
    • point to things when named
    • ask for simple things like “cookie” and “milk”
    • want individual attention and say “mine” often
    • listen to simple short stories, songs and rhymes
    • pull at another person to show them some action or object
    • greet peers and familiar adults when reminded
  • Most 2 year olds ...
    • combine two words together: “more milk” “daddy home”
    • use their own names to talk about themselves
    • turn the pages of a book
    • walk, run, jump, and throw a ball
    • like doing things their own way and say “no” often
    • pretend (feeding dolls or animals, talking on a play telephone)
    • know the function of common household objects (toothbrush, fork, telephone)
    • enjoy playing alongside other children but may not share their toys
    • show their feelings through actions and vocalizations (love, mad, sad, joy)
  • Most 3 year olds ...
    • follow two simple requests (get the book and put it on the table)
    • can be understood by family members and caregivers
    • use objects symbolically (using a banana for a phone, or a block for a car)
    • climb stairs, but may hold onto the railing
    • talk about feelings and tell pretend stories
    • use the bathroom during the day
    • know the difference between ‘boy’ and ‘girl’
    • begin to share toys and play with other children
    • greet familiar adults without reminders
    • want to please others
    • show affection for younger children
  • Most 4 year olds ...
    • can hop on one foot, can catch a ball
    • enjoy singing simple songs and saying nursery rhymes
    • use crayons to draw on paper
    • are understood by most people they talk with
    • like pretend play but may not always know the difference between ‘real’ and ‘pretend’
    • show concern and sympathy
    • begin to express own feelings (mad, happy, etc.) in words