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?

Elizabeth22 Thu 01-Nov-12 20:22:13

wingcommandermoi does your little boy has a language delay too?

amillionyears Thu 01-Nov-12 21:29:40

Apart from him having a hearing test, have you spoken to your GP about him?
We are not professionals on here,so I think that may be the best thing to do.

mrslaughan Thu 01-Nov-12 21:48:33

There is a thing called auditory processing disorder, essentially it is when there is a delay in the interpretation of what is heard in the ear, by the brain.... Or the ear and brain are not working together essentially .it can be tested but is not a straight hearing test.

Elizabeth22 Fri 02-Nov-12 19:53:35

mrslaughan that's very interesting. I guess he needs to be older to have the test?

Thanks for all the replies. They have given me things to think about. There isn't anything obvious that really sticks out so I'm in a way not sure about going to the GP - yet anyhow. Some days I think there's something wrong and other days I just think it could be normal toddler behaviour. I don't have anything to compare so it's useful talking to other mums on here. So thanks all.

StabbyMacStabby Sat 03-Nov-12 21:52:57

A lot of the points you have raised are a bit worrying tbh. It may be nothing, just his little ways, but so many of the traits you mention are associated with autism (and I note you mention Asperger syndrome yourself). The only difference between Asperger's and High Functioning Autism is the presence or not of speech delay.

Whether or not this turns out to be autism, I would still want to request an assessment to determine if he has issues that will require support to help him in his development. It's worrying that his social development seems to be affected. I would definitely be making an appointment with the GP to get a referral to developmental paediatrician.

Apologies for this OP, my DS has autism and I think I do tend to see it where it may not be. But so many of the points you raised...

more interested in things rather than people
His first words were to do with numbers and the alphabet - mummy came months and months later.
lost in his little world
doesn't tell us when he is hungry
he'd play with us and ignore the other children
never liked play group - tolerate being in same room with familiar child

... all add up to worth getting checked out imo.

MoelFammau Sat 03-Nov-12 22:12:40

My DD doesn't respond to her own name. She's 18mo. She also doesn't know the word Mama. She doesn't know it's me. Papa she recently clicked with. But the dog's name she's known absolutely from the age of 5-6 months.

I do worry about it. When she was 3-4 months we almost asked the doctor about her hearing because she wouldn't startle at unexpected loud noises. She still doesn't, actually. But she can follow instructions, ie 'put the ball in the box'. She just doesn't grasp the idea of names.

Is this normal?

Paribus Sat 03-Nov-12 23:59:48

OP, I totally agree with Stabby- get him seen by paed/ child development specialist. Some things you are mentioning do stand out as not quite typical, so better safe than sorry I guess.

Elizabeth22 Sun 04-Nov-12 12:31:07

paribus and stabby - thanks for posting. I can see where you are coming from with what little I know from reading up. However, what's throwing me is how much affection his brother gets and kisses we get. Are autistic children affectionate in this way?

Elizabeth22 Sun 04-Nov-12 12:34:03

moel from what people have told me - they should respond to their name by 18mos. We got referred for a hearing test for that reason. Hearing is not all or nothing - there may be levels/pitches that they can/cannot hear. They suggest ruling that out first as problem before looking at other issues.

StabbyMacStabby Mon 05-Nov-12 22:53:06

Yes, OP, autistic children can be affectionate. Some enjoy cuddles as the pressure is pleasant to them, others dislike the pressure as they are more sensitive to being touched. They are all different and can present in different ways.

One of the things that worried me about DS in his early months was that he didn't respond to his name. He also was greatly interested in numbers/letters and found things, especially vehicles, much more interesting than people (although his first word was Bus, second Car).

It may be nothing. Or it may be a social communication disorder. The sooner you find out the better, as the earlier the intervention the more likely better progress. You're doing the right thing by speaking simply to him btw. The usual advice of "talk to them as much as possible" doesn't always apply.

MoelFammau Mon 05-Nov-12 23:49:49

DD's first word was 'bus' too. She's obsessed with emergency vehicles, buses, cars and helicopters. She's 18mo and still has no clue what her name is, nor mine (Mama) or her father's (Papa). She doesn't attempt anyone's name, not even the dog's, though she's known the dog's name since 7mo (ie she pointed at the dog whenever we asked her where she was).

Her words are:

Bus, car, ice, eyes (obsessed with eyes), bubbles, bobble (on her hat), apple, birdy, heiss (she's bilingual German), hiya & bye (very recently), booboos (boobs; still BF), leaves, tea and man.

We always introduce her to people very repetitively, ie we say 'oh look, it's Mary! Hiya Mary!' then repeat her name a lot to DD. She responds with hiya and a wave but never even attempts the name.

She loves smiling at people but is pretty independent. She enjoys a cuddle if tired or upset but would much rather stomp around with a toy car in each hand. Her favourite toy is a rocking horse and the swings in the park. She points at lots of things. Eats well. Sleeps atrociously.

Should I be worried?

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 08:03:14

I know it's been said a few times on this thread to go the GP and that you're not professionals - find out that way. I know you are all right with this. It's not as simple as that. I saw in my DS that he wasn't babbling and my DH and Mum both thought I was mad. Then by 15 mos he wasn't saying anything and they both still thought I was just being an over ambitious/pushy mother. I rang up the health visitor at 18mos but there was still surprise from my mum that the speech therapist didn't say I was wasting their time! I've mentioned to my DH that I'm worried about DS extreme shyness and he can't see anything wrong. He feels that DS is very young and simply doesn't know what is expected of him in social situations - that we need to teach him. Part of me agrees with that. He's only 29 mos. i think going to the doctors is a big thing and I guess I want to be more sure than i am before I do because it affects the relationship between DH and DS.

Chopstheduck Tue 06-Nov-12 08:20:29

I'm really not sure tbh.

Two words at 2.5 months, isn't that delayed, and all the behaviour you have described could be pretty normal really, he just sounds a little shy to me. And selective hearing is pretty normal for toddlers too.

ds1 did exhibit some of the behaviours you have described, but he could blank people for HOURS, either getting on with his own thing, or simply staring into space. He was blanking people to the extent that he had to be checked for by an EEG for epilepsy. He was also tested for hearing impairment, and also blanked that because he didn't like the flashing clown one bit. I knew he could hear though.

With other children, they simply didn't exist for him, at 2.5 I had to watch him like a hawk because he would attempt to simply walk straight through them. He wouldn't register them aurally or visually. He couldn't tell us he was hungry verbally, but would take us to the fridge, or simply take food. I caught him eating frozen fishfingers once! He also didn't understand anger, or jealousy at that age. The eye contact thing, he avoided it when younger but around that age would try to stare intensely into my eyes and hold it inappropriately.

He wasn't affectionate, but he is now. Affection is pretty irrelevant with asd. my ds1 doesn't like to be held or touched, but there are plenty of children wiht asd who do like to be.

Having said that, although I don't think you should be too worried yet, if you do have concerns, you should go and get them checked out, to be on the safe side, and put your husband's feelings to one side. It takes such a long time on waiting lists to get any support, it is best to get in there as early as possible, for your son's sake.

Chopstheduck Tue 06-Nov-12 08:23:51

oh and ds's first word was tram, at around 18 months! grin

He didn't first sing until he was 4. Suddenly sang twinkle twinkle out of nowhere at a checkout in sains and made me cry!

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 10:45:19

chops I'm not concerned at all about his speech anymore - it suddenly came in leaps and bounds. At 18 mos things were quite different but he has caught up completely.

I'm aware that I'm probably quicker to spot things (too quick?) whereas my DH is more cautious. I guess I'm trying not to jump in with this as well before things are clearer one way or another.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 10:51:28

chops I'll read your message properly when I have a moment! Thanks for your posts.

post Tue 06-Nov-12 11:35:34

Hi, op. I think youre asking all the right questions, and you sound like youre actually pretty on the case re things that are possibly 'not quite right'. I say possibly, they are all different, most children will just catch up.

But... I had almost identical concerns about ds2, to the extent of asking for areferral for a hearing test, and was fobbed off, and felt very guilty about being judgy and pushy about my perfect little boy... And he does have hfa, and the early intervention that we were abl eto access for him was really useful.
What do you mean when you say that it affects the relationship between dh and ds if you go to your doctor?

StabbyMacStabby Tue 06-Nov-12 14:02:47

...simply doesn't know what is expected of him in social situations - that we need to teach him

Neuro-typical children learn social skills and appropriate language from the people around them, by watching and listening.

Imo if you have to teach them, there's something not right. Sorry. These skills are part of normal development. Sure, some children are slower. But taken with the other concerns you have mentioned, it isn't reassuring.

Don't feel shy about seeking referrals to specialists. If there is nothing to worry about, they will let you know and no harm will be done. But if there is something there, you need to be proactive to get the best support and help for your DS.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 14:08:12

post they have a very strong relationship and DH is very proud of him. When I suggest something is wrong you can see him look at him in a different way - not on purpose - but in a way that breaks his heart I guess. Difficult to explain. DS accepts though that DS has extreme shyness that he needs help from us to overcome and also gets frustrates when he blanks us when we are clearly talking to him.

Janoschi Tue 06-Nov-12 14:17:19

Thanking everyone very much for the advice so far on this thread. Very useful.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 14:20:11

stabby I think you are right. This is the point I disagree with my DH.

Both DH and myself, whilst being social and having friends are both useless at social things in some way in that it causes us both stress. I'm terrible at talking to strangers (ie people I haven't known for years lol) and doing small talk - I clam up/panic completely but then I have lots of friends who I love talking with. My DH misreads people completely and is also famous for saying the complete wrong thing when meeting people for the first time. But he is very good at talking with people and finding things to say (his mind doesn't go blank like mine). So I guess the unsaid bit is that we've coped in life and done ok, our DS will do the same. Also, I guess maybe its scarey if there is anything wrong with DS then there's the possibility theres something wrong with us too!

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 14:24:14

chops the blanking thing is not for hours as it was for you. It is more that we will be taking to him, saying his name and he just looks at the floor rather than us. From what other posters say, this sounds like typical toddler behaviour. It's perhaps the other things that I should be more concerned about maybe.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 06-Nov-12 14:26:50

My DD has quite severe autism and is the most affectionate child you could ever meet, she often squashes me by climbing on me to kiss and cuddle me.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 14:29:39

moel I don't know if the fact she wants cuddles and is affectionate seems at odds with the rest of her behaviour and stopping you going to your GP? It is interesting that you mention she is still bf. My son is also BF too. One article I read in favour of extended BF was about a mother of an autistic child who claimed it was BF that helped her son show affection when the mother hadnt witnessed it in other autistic children. I don't know if there's any truth in this though.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 14:35:26

Ok there seems to be consensus that displays of affection to parents is not a factor. This is something new I've learnt. Thank you.

Im not sure how much importance is given to eye contact either. My DS didn't give me much eye contact in the first year. Those parent books that said that babies lovingly gaze in your eyes whilst feeding used to wind me up. My second boy looks at me, laughs and smiles - interacts with me in a way that DS1 didn't sad.

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