Line ’em up

With my recent concerns about Philip’s delayed speech, I was worried about a behavior I had noticed. The pediatrician asked if Philip ever lined up toys. I warily answered yes, but was quick to add that he does not get upset if the objects are later moved. “In fact,” I told Dr. Ram, “he often spends time rearranging them.” This was all to reassure myself and her that there is nothing wrong with Philip. Of course, as I explained in a previous post (, this visit brought up a lot of worries. Is Philip’s speech delay a sign of autism? Is his desire to arrange objects in a row another?
Feeling overwhelmed, I called my sister-in-law. During our conversation she happened to mention that lining up objects is a developmental milestone. This was a relief to hear. I Googled the topic and found a variety of parenting sites that address the issue. Parents like me asking in forums, “It is normal for my child to line up her toys?” I clicked through on several of the links and found conflicting answers and answers about the conflicting answers. In general, the “experts” say that this behavior demonstrates a toddler’s ability to recognize differences in objects and categorize them. They are sorting by size, shape, texture and probably many other categories apparent only to them.

Tonight, I took four pictures as examples of this lining-up play. He organized toys and placed his pieces of cereal in a row. After I took the picture of him lining up his foam letters on the floor, he shoved his cloth blocks off the coffee table and moved the letters there, lining them up sideways. He has been doing the sideways pattern in the tub during the past week’s bath times, too.

2 thoughts on “Line ’em up

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