6–12 months old
During the second half of the first year, the infant's attachment to his main caregiver(s) becomes increasingly strong. The baby's understanding and use of speech sounds matures rapidly during the second 6 months of life. At around 12 months a baby starts to use new gestures to influence the behaviour of other people. Proto-declarative gestures involve touching or pointing to an object and then looking at the adult to make sure they are paying attention. The baby begins to realise that his parent exists even when not in the same room. The establishment of a mental image of familiar people is a necessary pre-requisite for eventual separation and independence from the parent. A physical examination including length, weight and head circumference is indicated if some problem has been raised by the parents or has been suggested by an appraisal of the child's health or developmental progress.