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?

MoelFammau Fri 04-Jan-13 20:25:33

Just to update you on my DD. She's been diagnosed with severe glue ear in both ears so she's deaf to most frequencies except the lower ones. But interestingly she can lip read simple questions (ie 'where are your eyes?'), which is probably why people didn't take us seriously with the deafness.

Hoping she'll be fitted with grommets soon.

Thanking you all for your input!

MoelFammau Thu 08-Nov-12 15:08:44

Thank you so much!

willowthecat Thu 08-Nov-12 14:32:11

www.earlyinterventionscotland.org/

I really could not recommend this charity highly enough - as i say if your dd is just a late developer, the work they do will help her catch up

willowthecat Thu 08-Nov-12 14:28:46

Some of the things you say remind me of ds1 but you really need to get an assessment done by someone who sees dd in person rather than online. Yorkhill also runs an autism diagnosis service but getting referred there can be a problem as autism is usually diagnosed quite late in Scotland even where it is totally obvious that there are big problems ( I am talking about ds1 here ! ) It is more common to have a long drawn out affair which would aim to have children diagnosed just before school age - also in my personal experience, the assessments we had done did not in themselves lead to any direct help. This may be because there is not usually any early intervention available anyway. I can however think of a charity in Scotland that offers (imo excellent) early intervention therapy for children who may be autistic - this gets you round the problem of the difficulties in geting a diagnosis. I'll get the web site address for you. Sorry if some of what I say sounds negative but I think you are doing the right thing and help now is what is needed and you don't need a diagnosis to get help.

MoelFammau Thu 08-Nov-12 14:16:21

Well, I've got a referral for Yorkhill to test her hearing. As that's the easy fix.

She persistently ignores her name. As in, I can count on one hand the number of times she's ever responded. Walks in the park involve her wandering slowly away in the opposite direction and not reacting at all to her name being called. She doesn't do the cheeky running away-aren't I naughty thing, she just doesn't react at all. Just carries on wandering away slowly.

She spent last night either spinning in circles and laughing or rocking madly on her rocking ladybird and laughing, with the odd bit of chucking blocks around the room. We were just spectators. Earlier, we were cooking food in the kitchen for 30 mins or so and we went into the living room and she was sitting happily with my open wallet, picking up coins and throwing them repeatedly. I think she'd been doing this for the whole time - either way, she was happily alone for the 30 mins. Didn't feel the need for company.

She spins a LOT. Any opportunity, really. Especially in new places (last week we were in a spooky old castle and she just stood and spun in the Great Hall. Though also went plodding happily into very dark dungeons as well. She also sometimes holds her arm out behind her in a stiff, awkward position and tips her head to one side.

But she's so great in social situations, loves new people and new places, never really had separation anxiety (only at nursery - she's only been for 3 afternoons). Strangers always comment on how engaged she is with them.

What do I do though? I'm actually working with the Scottish Autism people at the moment, as well as having links with the autism unit at a local school (we'e having one of their pupils on work experience next month). Would it be bad form to ask advice? Seeing as I'm involved in a professional capacity.

I've been doing a lot of autism research recently to prepare for working with autistic kids on their body language skills and it was watching toddler behaviours on Youtube that suddenly made me think 'DD does that'...

Don't want to sound like a weird mother though. I love DD to bits and we do have several relatives and friends on the spectrum so it doesn't frighten me particularly. I just want to make sure she gets what she needs.

Have I hijacked this thread? So sorry :-(

Elizabeth22 Thu 08-Nov-12 13:36:21

moel do you know what you're going to do? It could be nothing or something - I don't think anyone on here could tell you one way or another. You sound quite concerned so maybe talking to your health visitor or GP might be reassuring. I'm not sure whether I'd pay that much attention to nursery workers - but that's just me. I think they are quite pleased to have kids that are easy to look after and occupy themselves. A hearing test at the very least might be helpful and is usually the first step and straightforward enough. Don't panic and hope you're ok.

willowthecat Thu 08-Nov-12 13:30:38

You are right - There is a big gap in the information given out about the developmental of communication in young children compared to all the stuff about how to mix up up baby rice or how/when you should start solids - it may be that it is still a taboo subject or it may be a fear of worrying too many people when it may not be necessary - though I think this is a weak excuse and it's more likely a fear of parents expecting help and therapy for the minority who need it !

willowthecat Thu 08-Nov-12 13:25:48

i would say it's fairly unusual for a child over 12 month to not turn to name but you need to look at the wider developmental picture - also as said above any child may ignore name from time to time, it's when it's pervasive meaning all the time, that it may indicate a problem. It's hardly scientific but ds1 did not turn to name until well over 2 ( he is autistic) whereas ds2 turned to name regularly after 6 months or so

MoelFammau Wed 07-Nov-12 21:17:17

I asked DD's keyworker at nursery today if they noticed anything odd and they said they found it hard getting her attention. That she was usually pottering around on her own doing things. But they said it was normal for an 18mo not to know her name...??? Everything I've read says it really isn't.

MoelFammau Wed 07-Nov-12 00:25:26

If a toddler gradually starts to acknowledge their name AFTER 18mo, does that mean it's all okay, or is that initial delay significant? Do autistic kids get their name eventually? Assuming they must do...

Just been asking folk about when their babies recognised their names and the average seems to be 6 months... some said 4 months :-(

Making me feel a bit silly for not having realised babies were supposed to do this so early. It's not on any of the child development stuff I got sent - it's all about walking and weaning. I guess the name thing is regarded as so obvious that it's not worth mentioning?

StabbyMacStabby Tue 06-Nov-12 21:22:14

It is very hard to take the first step of admitting to yourself that there might be a problem. I don't blame your DH for being wobbly about it. He is your BABY. It is very difficult.

The thing is, your child is just your child, the way he is - particularly when you don't have a lot of peers available to compare your child with. I was fooled into thinking that my DS couldn't be autistic, because he did make eye contact, he wasn't aloof, he was affectionate, he didn't line things up, he didn't insist on routine and positively enjoyed change.

What I didn't realise then was that his affection was mainly centred around his immediate family, his eye contact was limited to family, he was actually fairly aloof (or shy) with people he didn't know. The other things: they don't occur in all autistic people either. Some of them, yes, but it's not actually diagnostic criteria. A lot of the other traits I just missed, because they were just the way DS was. It's easy to miss things through being too close, which is when other people's pointing things out to you are helpful.

The blanking is often due to information overload. Children with speech delay often have problems processing auditory information and generally need extra time to do this before they can respond. It helps to wait for their response and not to repeat the question phrased differently - it's hard not to do this as it's tempting to simplify the question, but it just means the process has to start afresh which takes even longer. It is infuriating if you think you're being ignored though, oh yes...

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 18:36:20

amillionyears good point.

Elizabeth22 Tue 06-Nov-12 18:33:43

Hi moel i understand completely how it is difficult knowing what's normal and what's not - if you've got nothing to compare to. This thread has been very useful in that regard. I think it can take an outsider to point things out to get them investigated. In our case, a helper at a play group we attended every week in my DS first year and half was the one who pointed out that he should know his name/look up when he heard it. I then spoke to my health visitor who got me a hearing test and speech therapy appointments sorted.

amillionyears Tue 06-Nov-12 18:28:09

Elizabeth22, I am sensing that you have a huge reluctance to see a GP about this.
What I am thinking, now that there are budget cuts all over the place, that with medical things, it can be better to access medical care sooner rather than later.
Even if your GP decided to refer you, it may take several months before your child is seen by a specialist.
By which time, you child is that much older again.
And if he does need specialist help, it is best to get it sooner rather than later, as education starts to become a factor.

MoelFammau Tue 06-Nov-12 15:16:42

I'm just not sure what to think, really. We don't know anyone with kids nearby so she's an isolated case for us. We just assumed she was normal. It's only because a relative flagged up her behaviour as being a tad weird this week that I'm thinking about things more.

The relative took DD out for day and said it was odd that she couldn't attract her attention. DD just wandered around very happily looking at things (and pointing at them, I should add). But the relative couldn't show her anything and couldn't get her to turn around or change direction. She had to run after her and pick her up to move her. This is the same with us but I just thought it was standard... Is it? The relative has a large number of small children in her circle (inc one of her own) and said she didn't know any like DD.

She likes cuddles but is more into 'booboos'. She climbs all over me in the morning wanting BF and will suck for an hour if allowed (she isn't!). She never did the staring lovingly into my eyes while being fed thing either. She actually scratches and pinches me. She likes to squeeze the skin on my tummy and boobs very very hard when feeding - she's always done this. Sometimes I look like I've gone 5 rounds with an annoyed cat.

But she laughs, waves, points...

Just no idea really. I really don't mind what she is or isn't - she's our DD and is wonderful. But if she has hearing issues or sensory / social issues, I think it's important to find help for her so she can get the most out of life.

I guess I'm using this thread to find out what is regarded as 'normal' and what isn't. For the record, I tried the M-CHAT thing last night and she scored 11 which apparently means she has some red flags for autism.

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.

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.

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 14:24:14

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.

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!

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 14:08:12

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.

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.

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?

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

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

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