Toddler acts as if deaf

(65 Posts)
Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:35:24

My DS (aged 2.5) acts as if he's deaf a lot when I know he can hear me. I can understand if he is absorbed in an activity or if there's a lot of background noise or if I'm asking something too complicated to understand but this usually isn't the case. He just doesn't react or answer. Eventually if I ask the same thing over and over, he will respond. It is quite infuriating sometimes. Does anyone have any experience of this in their toddler?

DD is 21 months and I know she can hear ok and I know she knows her own name, but she never responds when I speak/call her name. She doesn't look up or anything. It's like my voice just disappears between my mouth and her ears.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:42:53

totallyeggflipped that's exactly it. I even had his hearing tested and it was fine. Are you worried about it or just frustrated?

Well, she can hear the word chocolate whispered half a mile away, so I know there's nothing wrong with her hearing. I think maybe she's so used to having me there (SAHM) that she doesn't listen out for my voice at all. She responds very quickly to DH calling her.

SamSmalaidh Thu 01-Nov-12 14:47:34

Yes, selective hearing! I don't ask the same question over and over, just touch them/get in their line of sight so they can't ignore you.

Remember that at 2 they don't yet understand that ignoring someone is rude - if they aren't interested in what you are saying they might not see the point in responding.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Thu 01-Nov-12 14:54:55

My DS (2.8) does this. He's got a cold at the minute so actually is slightly deaf, which makes it even worse!

I agree about getting right down in front of them to speak, or getting their attention some other way first. It is frustrating, as I end up speaking to him in a loud voice and he then asks why I am cross...sigh...

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:01:05

totally ah the chocolate hearing test. Yes DS magically passes that too.

I guess I was getting anxious about something being actually wrong, such as aspergers. DS was never one for eye contact either when he was younger and didnt babble so I've had that in the back of my mind. But you are convincing me its normal toddler behaviour - which I'm glad about. What you say sam is reassuring as I can understand that they don't know it's rude at that age. That makes sense to me.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:04:57

iwillonlyeatbeans DS has a cold at the mo. Maybe that's a contributing factor. Whatever it is - it drives me nuts sometimes!

gourd Thu 01-Nov-12 15:11:52

Heh heh! Ours can always hear the words "Cake" or "Ice cream" even when whispered in another room, but not "Don't do that please", "Be gentle", "On the plate, not on the floor, please" "No!" etc...

kissyfur Thu 01-Nov-12 15:13:57

My DD does this too, she 2.10 - it's infuriating! I feel like a broken record

gourd Thu 01-Nov-12 15:14:56

According to EYFS framework it's normal up to about 22 MO for kids to become so engrrossed in something that they dont seem to hear you (not sure ours ever showed this, but it can be normal). If you don't already try always using the child's name when talking to them, and see if that grabs their attention.

amillionyears Thu 01-Nov-12 15:20:39

What is he like with other people and other children?

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:28:19

amillionyears he's scared of new people. If anyone (eg a neighbour) speaks/looks to him, he will hide his face. When we have friends over, he will hide. If they try to give him a present or play with a toy he will throw it on the floor!

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:31:59

gourd he is 29 mos now. I don't know what the expected behaviour is for this age group. The blank look can be when he is not doing anything so he's not absorbed in activity. He can even be facing my way and I'll be saying his name but doesn't look at me.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:33:48

kissyfur oh it is frustrating, isn't it? I don't know why it drives me nuts so much. I feel like a broken record too

amillionyears Thu 01-Nov-12 15:39:28

Is he happy when he is doing his own thing?

One of my DDs is very sociable, but she also likes to retreat to her own room for an hour plus, at least a couple of times a day.
She has always been like this.

amillionyears Thu 01-Nov-12 15:42:36

Does he have siblings
Does he play with other children
Does he go to nursery/playgroup

DoubleYew Thu 01-Nov-12 15:50:07

How is his speech? Paed told me that sometimes children with delayed speech blank you because its just too overwhleming not being able to communicate back.

If you are worried about his development, make a list of everything that is concerning you and take it to gp. Could be just "him" or could be a sign of something.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:52:13

amillionyears he is a 4mos old brother. So not old enough to play with. We used to go to groups before his brother was born but we don't any more as its quite difficult to get out the house. He has gone to nursery one day a week for about a year - never liked it. So we are in the process of changing it. So I think in the answer to your question - I've never really seen how he plays with other children. We have regular friend over with her little girl. He's fine with her. They don't play together as such but tolerate being in the same room :-)

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:54:03

At the groups he'd play with us and ignore the other children. This has never worried me because we are obviously familiar to him.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 15:59:25

doubleyew he did have a speech delay but is now talking in two word sentences happily with a good vocab (with longer sentences too). I think aspergers children are said not to have speech delays or so I read. I'm quite conscious of how I speak to him and try really hard to speak simply. It's very difficult to grasp how much is going in and whether he's actually listening. Sometimes he surprises me because he clearly has heard me and I hadn't realised.

amillionyears Thu 01-Nov-12 16:17:08

Does he have and like storytime with you?

Is he talkative at home?
Is he happy doing his own thing.
Does he interact much with his brother
What is he like when he is hungry, is communication between you and him fine in those circumstances?

Does he act as if he is engrossed in whatever he does

Sorry for all the questions,I am not a professional btw, just trying to see the big picture.

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 16:30:32

Need to go offline but will pop back to answer later...

wingcommandermoi Thu 01-Nov-12 16:43:14

I get the same from my 4 year old and have just got a referral for a hearing test.
He has had a few ear infections and mostly has colds constantly. I'm concerned there might be a link. Maybe he needs gromets. Same for yours perhaps?

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 20:20:00

I've been reflecting on what doubleyew said and wonder if it's partly to do with not understanding everything. I don't know if we assume that he understands much more than he does because he's so advanced on picking up some things. Maybe his understanding is fine but expressing himself is difficult?

amillionyears he is very talkative at home and tries to play with his brother. In fact, I'd say he says hello to his brother first before anyone else most of the time. There seems to be genuine affection there.

He doesn't tell us he is hungry.

He likes us (me and his dad) to play with his - he bosses us around no end to push trains. But he's always been happy to play for literally an hour at a time with a piece of string or stick as a pretend train by himself. He can be very repetitive!

People have described him as being lost in his little world. This was the original reason why we discovered his language delay and had his hearing checked as nursery staff pointed out that he didn't seem to respond at all to his name when he was fifteen months.

But he has always been more interested in things rather than people. His first words were to do with numbers and the alphabet - mummy came months and months later.

I'm not sure how much is relevant but thought I'd answer your questions as fully as poss.

I'm sure a lot is normal toddler behaviour. But every now and then, I question some things - particularly when I've had a tough day!. He is a bit different from other kids in his interests but all kids are different I guess.

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